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It is very important to understand the difference between an architect and other building designers. Anyone can design a building, there are no restrictions in the UK (unlike most other parts of the developed World) no qualifications are required. BUT the long training that an architect undertakes for a minimum of seven years resulting in qualifications to above masters degree level means we offer a high value professional service backed by all sorts of measures to protect you, our client. We are also trained to meet your needs over and above your stated 'wants'.

It is therefore very important for us to be on the 'same wavelength' as you in order to get 'behind' what you say, and share your vision, to access the requirements that you need though our wide knowledge of building design.

There are therefore a number of things that you need to consider before appointing an architect, other than the obvious one which is are they an architect or an un(der)qualified person acting illegally?

The reasons NOT to use an architect are:

One - If you want the cheapest possible solution such that it is poor design and bad solution to your requirements

Working through the options with you can take 2 or 3 options and variations over a couple of Months before a satisfactory solution to take forward is reached - RIBA Stages 0 - 2.

Two - If you do not care about saving money through having lower running costs

All KR.eativ: Architects designs are both aesthetically stunning (as far as is permitted under planning legislation) and technically designed to minimise energy demand / use. We also design for long term use and try to include the ability to adapt the building throughout that, money saving, longer life.

Three - If you want an 'off the shelf' short term building not tailored to your requirements

Despite that most existing buildings can be re-purposed to meet your requirements more exactly and increase a building's longer life in a way that has lower energy demands.

Four - If you want a low quality building without the 10% - 12% added value that an architect can give to any building project.

It has been shown that the extra value added by an architect, such as KR.eativ: Architects Ltd, is often more than the cost of commissioning us. A poor quality cheap building will also have higher running costs and a shorter lifespan.

Five - If you want to use a 'design and build' contract that meets the needs of the developer rather than the end-user

We can design those, and quite willing to do so, but they are usually buildings that the end-users need to adapt to better suit their needs after they have moved in. However 'design and build' can work for buildings that are not required to be bespoke and the end-users tend to be short term occupants.

Work, rest or play spaces, redundant building or boat. Existing, adaptation or new, we specialise in designing sustainable places and spaces to meet your needs, whatever they are.

Anyone who really is an architect will have to be registered with the above,

Most of us are chartered members of the RIBA, the only professional chartered body of the profession.

We are, 'on top of that' an RIBA Chartered Practice which means even more independent protection for you commissioning a building design and 'on top of that' we are the only building design profession that requires us all to have University backed qualifications, training, skills, knowledge and experience over a minimum of seven years to above Masters Degree level.

'On top of all that' KR.eativ: Architects is also:

Therefore anyone else offering 'architectural services' will not be an architect and have very little knowledge of architecture, or could even be an architect who has been 'struck off' the register for negligence, unprofessional behaviour or a crime (which does happen). The reason for that is the fact that to use the the term 'architectural' in your job title/description or the word 'architecture in your business name does not require any qualifications or ability whatsoever.

Some such service providers may be OK for you but ask yourself why they are not architects. It may be that they are just too lazy to bother, as they can make money without having to independently prove their ability. Sad, but that is the law.

There are 'related' building design professionals such as Chartered Engineers, Chartered Surveyors and Chartered Technologists but they are not architects and do not have the same skillsets, knowledge, education, qualifications and training etc.

So when someone introduces you to an architect please ensure that the person/business they are promoting is actually an architect as it could be a very expensive mistake. Just think of all the recent press about bad housing, very little of it has been designed by an architect but by 'designers', town planners, Council officers and Councillors etc. A well designed building (as stated in a report prepared for The Modern House agency) can add 10% to 12% more to the value of a completed building than a badly designed one designed by a non-architect. A fact that has the effect that commissioning an architect can save you money by costing less than the value we add to the build environment.

To be honest, the above is a bit of a rant as I am fed up with conservations and phone calls that begin "my architect has given us a bad service". When I ask "who was that" they reply with a name of a person or business that is most definitely not an architect. The media is blame too as all sorts of crimes are reported as being by 'an architect' when in actual fact they rarely are not and never were architects (yet more 'fake news').

The positive thing to take away from the above is that real architects, when allowed to be their professional selves, are the only people fully architecturally qualified to provide you, the client, with a building that suits your needs and requirements. We do this, for larger buildings, by leading a design team of fellow chartered professionals to design and convey the relevant construction information to the contractor.

The following is a video from the USA that sets out the benefits of an architect:

Video from the USA

However, please note the following in translation from the foreign language:

  • For 'licenced' architect read 'registered architect'
  • A 'square foot' is about a tenth of a square metre.
  • A 'dollar' is about 81 pence, at the moment.

In the UK we have the Association of Self Build Architects, all of whom are RIBA Chartered Practices. We have our own YouTube channel too.

I was reading through one of the many books in my library and came across this gem which is even more relevant now than then.

Although the architect's authority must be supreme in matters of design and taste, we may expect him to satisfy our family's requirements and our ideals of home life. It is essential there should be no mis-understanding with the architect: to give him carte blanche does not solve the difficulty; he must understand our point of view.

THE SMALL HOUSE, Arthur Martin 1909

He goes on to say

An architect is not only a person who is employed to make dull working drawings, and keep a sharp eye on the builder; he is much more than that, especially in building a homestead. He has to produce the ideal house, an important part of our whole conception of the home which we wish to possess. His duty is first to guide our ideas, then to give us ideas, and finally to produce a concrete realisation of them. Unless we are prepared to discuss the home freely with him, and unless we tell him every whim and fancy we may possess on the subject, he starts on his work most seriously handicapped.

Those words are true for homes and any other building an architect designs, whether factory or hospital etc.

All architects must be registered with the Architects Registration Board. If not registered, not an architect, or even close. There is no 'equivalent' profession.

The Government has prepared a report to promote and support Garden Villages


The Government has prepared a report to promote and support Garden Villages (Locally-Led Garden Villages, Towns and Cities, March 2016). In it there is the following statement:

We are supporting a new wave of garden cities, towns, villages and communities in Bicester, Basingstoke, Didcot, Ebbsfleet, North Essex and North Northamptonshire. Together, these have the potential to deliver over 100,000 homes with strong communities at their heart.

The interesting bit for me is the one proposed, and apparently already supported, for North Northamptonshire. It is to be located on Deenethorpe airfield and it would be good to be involved as there are very few architects in the area.

Having designed a number of housing estates and resort villages over the years, I want to know how to get involved. The many 'country estates' in the North of the County are in a prime position to benefit from new 'estate villages' that could meet the criteria for government assistance and funding.

Based on the following quote from the report:

Good design is essential if we are to create sustainable places where people want to live and be part of the local community. It will be important for expressions of interest to demonstrate how the garden village, will be well-designed, built to a high quality, and attractive. Use of qualitative and quantitative research on local public opinion will be welcomed on issues around design and community.

and speaking as the president of the Northamptonshire Society of Architects, the local branch of the RIBA, the profession can have a pivotal role in ensuring the best architectural designs are proposed, promoted, procured and built. The area also has acres of brownfield land that could be utilised.

If anyone out there knows more and is interested in preparing an 'expression of interest' for other sites in the County let me know. Using BIM Level 2 as prescribed by the Government is going to be a vital part of any bid.

I've been reading my extensive library again.

I've been reading my extensive library again and found some gems (and my comment) from between the wars that are still relevant today but completely ignored by most non-architects and builders:

  • Bathrooms should be conveniently placed near the bedrooms they serve, but WCs screened as far as possible - The 'family bathroom' as sold by estate agents does not always meet the needs of home-owners. Separate toilets can reduce queues! The usual requirement for privacy makes the modern 'fashion' for placing the required downstairs toilet next to the front door an insane decision in most cases.
  • Oblong rooms are often more convenient that square ones - The greater wall area for the floor area can make for easier placement of furniture.
  • Where privacy is required, doors into the room should be hung as to screen the room from the person entering - This provides a small amount of time for the occupants to 'prepare'. Many houses in the UK at present are far too small to accommodate this politeness as around 300mm or more is required between door and the adjacent wall!
  • Light fittings should never be placed in the centre of the ceiling - This is a good one because if they are the light is wrong for reading, dressing, cooking and most other room activities. Ceiling lights mounted near windows in bedrooms prevent people dressing and undressing creating shadows on curtains.
  • The orientation of rooms is also important and the recommendation for most people would be for breakfast areas to face East and studies North for example - My own home, dating from the Thirties, has all main rooms facing roughly Southwards. 'Servant' spaces, kitchen and the smallest bedroom face North, there is also a Southwards facing balcony outside the second bedroom allowing it to be used for sunbathing in complete privacy. All very simple things that need considering when you are designing or looking for your new home.
  • Another obvious one to think about is that many new homes have the bottom or the stairs facing the front door. Why? The stairs are most often used whilst in the house and you end up having to walk the length of the stairs to walk back up them. When considering a new home it is worthwhile thinking about such things so that current inconveniences are not simply repeated needlessly.
  • Another somewhat obvious one is to ask yourselves whether you need a 'cellular' or 'open plan' solution. Families can 'want' cellular because that is what they are used to, or may want 'open plan' because they've been seduced by magazine pictures or TV programmes: cooking is smelly, washing machines and dishwashers noisy, separate rooms is quieter, open plan is useful for families and entertaining. There are solutions to conflicts, and that is what architects are trained to do. Solve design solutions.


If you are in need of an architect, why not employ one? There are only three RIBA Chartered Practices in the whole of the Kettering Borough!