What can an architect do for me? (Final Part)

We did look at the advantages of engaging an architect when you want to build or renovate a property in Spain and also how you can obtain value for money.

Also and on how an architect can inject imagination into your project and provide peace of mind by dealing with all the necessary paperwork specially in a bureaucratic country such as Spain.

 

As you get involved with the architect into the developing the design you can both work together to obtain the best of the conceptual ideas, to my mind the most exciting phase of the process, then there is the developing of the design process, the local authorities approval stage and the construction stage of course where the architect can help you selecting suitable builders, obtain appropriate prices for construction, monitor progress and standards, supervise safety on site, liaise with other specialists and oversee the construction through to successful completion.

However I did not mention how to select an architect here in Spain.

 

How to select an architect in Spain.

All building projects are different, every client, every site and therefore every brief is unique. There is no single solution to your project and there is a range of architects able to offer their own approach.

Selecting the right architect is one of the most significant decisions you can make in any building project but here in Spain it probably the most important decision that you can make after deciding building or rehabilitating your home.

As I mentioned in my previous article the necessity of finding an English speaking architect is an overriding factor which will make a world of difference in the whole process.

 

So how do you find the right one?

Before you start looking, consider the demands of the project you are undertaking and ask yourself a few questions:

·          What are the challenges of your project?

·          How much do you want to spend?

·          How important is it for the practice to be local to you and your project?

·         What specific experience or areas of specialisms would you like your architect to have?

 

·         Is there a specific approach or philosophy of design (e.g. traditional, contemporary, green etc)?

 

Setting the design brief

A brief is your wish-list; it will cover everything an architect needs to know about what you want from your project. A well-written design brief is essential to success. It should be clear and unambiguous, setting out key requirements, outlining the vision and communicating your aims and aspirations.

The brief should describe the main function of the finished project; outline motivation and expectation; design direction; establish a single point of contact and set a realistic timeframe and budget.

One of an architect’s most important skills and roles is helping to formulate the brief. They can point out what is possible in terms of cost and design, asking you questions and making suggestions. Your architect can be well placed to help identify the best and worst spatial characteristics of your home and to offer ideas that will enhance your living space.

Your contribution at this stage is vital and will involve a number of discussions which is essential for the success of a project. The brief will form the basis of the professional contract you sign with your architect.

 

The Client/Architect contract

Once you have selected your architect, the responsibilities of each party and the services to be provided by the architect should be set down in a formal contract, usually referred to as an agreement.

When you have work done to your home you are acting in your private capacity your architect will discuss these issues with you so the terms of your agreement are fully understood and “individually negotiated in good faith”.

Now days the College of Architects have English written standard contracts which is very useful if you don’t speak Spanish or it is a bit rusty.

Normally the agreement will record details of your project and services to be provided; it will specify the exact fees expenses;

It mentions the procedure that must be followed in case of any dispute between the parties.

In general the contract include that the architect will:

• Perform the services required using reasonable skill and care

• He or she will act as your representative in certain instances

• Will advise you on compliance with certain statutory requirements

• Will keep you updated on progress and on issues affecting quality, cost and time

• Will not to make any material changes to the services or the agreed design without your consent, except in an emergency.

For your part, the client should be prepared to:

• Advise on the relative priorities of requirements and to provide necessary and accurate information

• Will make decisions and respond promptly to questions asked by your architect

 

• Will pay the fees, expenses and disbursements due and VAT where applicable.

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