I was recently asked by a client to have a look at a flat in London for a friend. I took the train up and made my way to South Bank to the top of a fairly modern apartment block. Thinking that the task would involve a complete remodel, after all why else would someone ask me to travel all the way to city, I was somewhat surprised, and to be honest a little annoyed, to find it was simply some new tiles in the en-suite, remodelling a cupboard and taking down a stud wall! No Architect required here, just a decent builder and a cabinet maker.
In these scenarios I think it’s my duty to advise potential client’s in the right direction, after all I’m not just a business but I signed up to be a pillar of society. So when am I not needed? These four scenarios come up time and time again and trust me when I say you don’t need me for this one :
1. Knocking between two rooms. You may need Building Regulation consent if the wall is a structural wall. So how can you find that out? Firstly are there any structures sitting on the wall above? Secondly which way are your floor joists going? If they go along side the wall in question then you won’t need to support them, if they go into or onto the wall then you will. If your wall is structural or you are just not confident enough to make that decision on your own ( and do not guess it please) then contact a Structural Engineer. He will provide
you with the necessary beam sizes and calculations to ensure that the removal of the wall is safe and the beam is suitable for the span. Their calculations will enable you to achieve consent from Building Control. No Architect needed.
2. A box extension. As much I love helping people out with their properties, unless the extension you want is complex in nature, of a unique style or a heritage property then what you really need is a Technician and possibly a structural engineer. If you are building a simple, flat roofed, single storey extension on the rear of your detached house, then again, honestly, no Architect needed.
3.Garage or garden building. Firstly check the permitted development rights, as the chances are these could fall under PD. Secondly, contact a good local garage or garden building supplier and go nuts. The reason I suggest this is it’s more cost effective and they will provide you with drawings to get signed off so you will see what you are getting, as well build it for you. You may need building regulations but ask the supplier and any of the good ones will quite happily help. No Architect Needed.
4.Renovating your kitchen, bathroom or downstairs toilet. If you are looking for a refresh and are sick of looking at those 80s cupboard doors but don’t know where to start then you can do one of two things. A) speak to a kitchen/ bathroom / cabinet designer. It is their trade to help you out with these things. A good one will also be able to help you match the flooring or tiles, even paint colours depending on your budget. B) speak to a good interior designer. There is a reason why there is a whole industry devoted to make our surface interiors beautiful. They can help you from start to finish, right down to the stripy cushions. No Architect needed.
Perhaps you are asking yourself when should you call an Architect? Well our role is to guide and advise you, work through the complexities of a project but most importantly, we are the Grand Designer. The beautiful jaw dropping extensions, renovations and cliff balancing new builds, that’s pretty much all on us. And I’m proud to be part of that elite group of people, who live to think and design outside the box. I’m not saying that just because you want a garden room you shouldn’t give me or any other Architect a call, and if that garden room is a master piece in design then I want to be first in the queue. However, personally, I would rather you save your money for when you really need me. When you want to rip apart the ground floor and have a balcony sailing out to sea, that’s when I want to don my Architect’s cape and create something spectacular.
Disclaimer: The views presented in this blog are in my opinion and it is advised before any work is carried out that a suitable professional is consulted to ensure that all legislative requirements are fulfilled.