Tips for picking the right building team
Looking at turning your dreams into a reality – make sure you get the right team on board. An architect is the only professional within the building industry who is specifically trained in the art and science of designing and building structures. They will apply a more practical approach to your project, are keenly focused on cost and are able to interpret your needs. They are also proficient at relaying all your project requirements to the council, builders and sub-contractors. An architect will charge you anything from 5 to 20 percent of the total cost of the project depending on your requirements and those of the local council. As they have a keen interest in seeing their designs through to completion, many architects prefer to carry out a substantial role in the management of the project. Your choice of designer will probably boil down to how much money you’re willing to outlay. Be aware that it can be a mistake to scrimp at this particular stage as choosing an inexperienced person may cost you in the long run. You also need to be confident the person you choose understands the Building Code requirements and the need for good quality materials and construction methods. Therefore ensuring costly problems, such as leaky buildings are avoided. Do some research, ask around and make a short list. Try to find out what each one is like to work with as it is very important to find a person you can communicate your ideas to and feel that they are listening. Most architects offer a free first meeting so ensure you meet with each person on your short list. At these initial meetings a lot of information will be gathered to establish what is needed and how it might be achieved. Prior to each meeting it is necessary to establish the size of your budget, the type and size of house you want and design features you want included. Inquire about qualifications, professional indemnity insurance, examples of previous work, range of services they provide and references from other clients. At the end of the meeting ask the architect to write down their understanding of what you want so you can confirm these ideas or make alterations. Note that some architects will most likely use the services of a number of other people, such as surveyors and structural engineers, who they engage on your behalf. This too should be sorted at the initial meeting. Remember the person you eventually employ must have professional indemnity (PI) insurance to ensure they take total responsibility for any advice they give. PI insurance is for the immediate benefit of the architect, not the client, but it is in your interests that the person you employ has it. If they don’t have PI insurance and something goes wrong, and they can’t pay for the repairs, you are likely to be out of pocket yourself. PI insurance is not compulsory, however it makes good sense to employ an architect who has it. In any building project, the level of competence of the people designing and foreseeing the project is critical. A qualified architect can add design flair to your ideas, maximise the potential of sun and views on your property and the property is often able to attract a higher re-sale price than others of the same size and age.
Additional information sourced from www.consumerbuild.org.nz