What to Expect from Your Architect

When hiring an architect for a construction project, one expects certain project deliverables from them. These can be divided into tangible deliverables like drawings, specifications, models and samples, and legal advice on the project. It is also important to identify realistic and unrealistic expectations. One should discuss their requirements with the architects to determine the right approach, keeping the budget in mind. Here is what all you should expect from your architect.

Layout, design, and operational input

An architect will provide scalable drawings, typically in a 24” X 36” format. However, this will be preceded by a series of schematic designs or rough sketches. Move on to the next step only after these sketches are approved. Floor plans are required to show different rooms in the right sizes and shapes. They will also have to come up with physical or computer-generated models, along with colour renderings of the same.

Knowledge of building codes

You can always expect the architect to come up with plans compatible with the building law in Singapore. The right interpretation of the law is important for successful risk mitigation. Architects are expected to be informed and updated about any changes in guidelines and statutes relevant to the project. By paying an additional fee, you can also have the architect personally inspect the site and monitor construction.

Adherence to timelines

Any timelines should be drawn up only after due consideration and consultation with the architect. Lags and delays can result in higher costs. Architects are expected to exercise reasonable skill and care to ensure that the project is completed on time.You can also ask for their advice on how to avoid delays.

Industry-related assistance

This ranges from hiring a contractor, to providing proper valuable advice on building material, and so on. Even though the project owner is responsible for choosing and hiring contractors, architects can make good recommendations. Architects can also offer suggestions on cost-effective solutions, at the start of the project. They can handle contract negotiations on the client’s behalf as well.

A proper contract

A contract is essential, legally-binding commitment between the client and the architect. The contents of an architecture contract generally include:

  • Introduction and background
  • Scope of architecture
  • Conformance requirements
  • Process and roles regarding development and management
  • Outlined phases for deliverables
  • Prioritized joint work plan
  • Time window/s
  • Delivery and business metrics

Also, ask for an itemized breakdown of costs. The client and the architect may settle down on any suitable method of calculating fees.

What not to expect

Never expect your architect to predict what you would like. Requirements should be communicated early on, preferably at the start of the project. It is also mistake to assume that certain items are included in the contract. It is better to request a scope of services so that the list of services can be clearly outlined. Do not expect the architect to account for any work that other consultants, such as engineers or builder, undertake in the project.

Setting too aggressive a deadline for the architect can even result in costly errors. Remember that the architect is not accountable for any over-runs in time. The responsibility of notifying about any unforeseen exigencies rests with the contractor.