At Bloom we encounter many different views on exactly what an Architect does and the services provided. Historically, the title Architect is derived from the Latin ‘architectus’, which derives from the Greek ‘arkitekton‘ meaning ‘chief builder‘. This might come as a surprise to many, even professionals in the Construction industry who may hold a belief that an Architect’s role is to design rather than oversee construction. However, a robust understanding of the process of construction is key to delivering a consistent project from concept to completion. Sound technical knowledge is the only way ambitious conceptual designs can be constructed accurately, safely and beautifully.
In Great Britain, construction procurement has evolved rapidly and extensively throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. For example, some Contractors will not only construct the building but also take on responsibility for ‘completing’ or ‘finishing off’ the preliminary design prepared by an Architect (this method of procurement is commonly referred to as ‘Design and Build’). Traditionally however, an Architect would take full design responsibility and provide a complete package of information to a Contractor to construct (commonly referred to as ‘Traditional’ procurement). In this arrangement the Architect’s role on site is primarily concerned with Contract Administration, inspection and certification. In essence it is the Architect’s job to administer the building contract impartially and check the project is being delivered/ constructed in accordance with the Contract Documentation, to the agreed timescale, within the agreed budget and crucially, that both parties are carrying out their duties.
Our advice is straight forward and simple, if you are undertaking construction works do so under a building contract. This is a contract that exists between the customer (you) and the Contractor and establishes duties and responsibilities for each party. There are many forms of Building Contract which are designed for a multitude of project types from small minor projects to large commercial projects. It can be confusing and very complicated but we can help you establish the most appropriate form for your project. If you have been asked to provide capital funds up front by a Contractor and without a Building Contract in place, our advice is not to do so (and we really can’t stress this enough). You should only pay for works that have been completed, valued and certified on site. This process occurs at regular intervals, for example on a monthly basis. We can prepare a schedule of work for your project, which acts as a checklist for works completed.
Construction projects are one of the biggest investments individuals and developers are likely to make throughout the course of owning property. This is where an Architect can add real value, reduce risk and ensure the project is delivered to the client’s brief and within budget. Architect’s are regulated by the Architects Registration Board and are bound by a code of conduct which regulates the standard of behaviour and professional conduct to which an Architect must adhere. The ARB maintain a register of qualified Architects and it is always good practice for customers to use this as a reference for either finding an Architect or checking their current status. As an additional quality benchmark Bloom is an RIBA chartered practice, to learn more about what this means please visit the RIBA’s website.
If you are thinking about a construction project for your home or business property and are seeking some preliminary advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We are a friendly organisation and take every opportunity to provide assistance where we can!