Lister Haigh is one of the very few estate agency firms to employ an in-house architect. Marie Harris has over 20 years’ experience and has worked on a diverse range of projects from private and social housing to listed buildings and barn conversions, amongst many others. We asked Marie to answer some important questions about what it’s like to work with an architect…
1 If you are planning a project, why should you involve an architect? When you are considering a building project, new, extension or refurbishment, it is good to talk through your initial ideas with an architect to give a fresh view, expand the discussion to consider options of how an end goal can be achieved and advice on all current statutory obligations along the way.
2 At what stage should you approach an architect? ‘The earlier the better’ An Architects range of knowledge spans many areas including interior design, planning, building regulations, contractor appointments, budget costing, project management, energy conservation and renewable energies. We do not charge for a 1 hour initial meeting to discuss a project and give an idea where and when my skills could be of value. With the Lister Haigh surveying team at my side, professional property value and forward planning advice is always at hand.
3 Once the project is underway, how much involvement will the architect have? As little or a much as the client requires! Once I have talked through a project with a client and determined what assistance I can offer I provide a bespoke detailed fee quotation for consideration with phased appointments where appropriate.
4 How often does the architect speak to the clients once work has begun? It depends on the job. I like my clients to feel they are in control of their design and expenditure. Some questions may be out of a client’s comfort zone but a major part of an architect’s role is to ensure any decisions are informed and to provide decision options that the client understands and relates to their end goal.
5 Budgeting and timing – is this part of the architect’s remit? Yes, again communication is key. All time and expenditure events of a project are reported in good time to a client. As a chartered architect I am qualified to administer a building contract, to manage the quality and expenditure of a building contract between the client and builder to ensure that a fixed contract sum and time scale is met and there are as few surprises as possible and to oil the cogs along the way.
6 Can using an architect ultimately save you money? Certainly, our skill set is to think laterally about projects; to explore the alternatives to an end goal, anticipate possible issues that can affect cost and timescale (that affects costs when building) and provide guidance and solutions along the way.