Some thoughts on finding an
architect -firstly not just anyone can call themslelves an architect
-under UK law to use the title you must be registered by ARB (Architects Registration
Board) -all registered UK architects can be found by searching
on the ARB database on their website. The second important point
is that registered architects are required to carry Professional
Indemnity Insurance (PII). You should insist on seeing details
of your architects registration, and his or her Professional
Indemnity insurance Certificate. Don't be afraid to ask.
However, firstly you need
to find your architect. You could use yellow pages, but we wouldn't
recommend it. By far the best method is personal recommendation.
This way you get to hear a client opinion as well as see the
sort of work the architect does. If you do not know anyone who
can recommend an architect, then your next point of contact should
be the ROyal Institute of British Architects Client advisory
service. They also publish a useful guide on appointing an architect.
If you are engaging a practice, you can find RIBA registered
practices at RIBAfind.
Compatibility is very important
-ask to see other examples of recent work, and for client references.
If necessary interview more than one architect, and definitely
agree fees before work commences. If you have an historic building,
you may wish to look at the database of Architects
Accredited in Building Conservation.
Contracts and Builders
undertaking a building project, you would be wise to protect
yourself by entering a proper contract with your builder. This
will set out the parameters, such as description of the work,
standards of workmanship, how long it will take, when payment
is released and other key terms of engagement.
One such contract is the JCT
(Joint Contracts Tribnal) Homeowners Contract. This is produced
by the same people responsible for standard contracts on major
building projects, only this one is produced with the homeowner
in mind, and written in fairly plain English. It also includes
an agreement with your architect, so you can use one agreement
for both Architect and Builder. The contract is available to
purchase online at www.homeownercontracts.com. It comes in PDF
format and once the form is completed, you can print two final
copies for the contract.
Associated Self Build Architects -News, views and ideas from Britain's
largest network of practising architects who specialise in the
design of individual homes, refurbishments and extensions.
Barbour Compendium -the online version of the famous architects
directory of construction materials and components suppliers.
for Homes -a resource
for everyone with an interest in the design of homes and housing,
including news, events, project focus, forum, jobs and CPD.
Find an Engineer
-site operated by the Institution of Structural Engineers allows
you to search for an engineer by specialism, and has a useful
guide to appointing a Structural Engineer.
-the independent regulator and standards setter for the new homes
industry. Register of builders and useful advice on buying or
building a new home.
ProHelp -national network of over one thousand
professional firms who give time and expertise for free to local
community groups and voluntary organisations.
Sponge -an independant network for property
and construction professionals interested in sustainable development
of the built environment.
specialising in sustainability
Archipeleco -the Practice of ecological architect,
Architype -practice led by Bob Hayes and Jonathon
Hines working mainly in the social sector with 20+ years of producing
sustainable buildings. Offices in London and Hereford.
-Bristol based architects carrying out environmental and urban
renewal projects from studio offices in Stokes Crodt, Bristol.
and energy consultants specialising in sustainable design, based
in Lewes and London.
Constructive Individuals -founded in 1985 by Phil Bixby to offer design
and training services to self-builders. Phil continues to offer
these services from a practice based in York, while the London
office is run by directors, Peter Smithdale and John Rees.
Arc -award winning
architects and environmental design consultants based in North
-run by Rob Hillier, Forever Green is dedicated to designing
buildings that use natural materials and processes to work with
and Snowden -ecological
and energy efficient architects based in Bideford, North Devon.
-architect for the Crossway Passivhaus near Staplehurst in Kent,
featured on Grand Designs