Selecting an architect in Spain

 

Choosing an Architect is an important decision in any building project. However, if you are looking to build in Spain, it is even more so. To engage the right professional is perhaps one of the most crucial decisions of the venture. He and his team can become invaluable not only in their ability to communicate easily with you, and provide form to your ideas, but also to act as liaison with local authorities and builders.

 

We are accustomed to deal with expats as 80% of all of our clients are from overseas that is why all our staff speaks English and at least one other language.

 

 

We are committed to work closely with every client, small or large, to develop a brief and a design approach, making sure we achieve their present and future needs and aspiration. With more than twenty five years of experience in both Spain and UK, we have sufficient experience to oversee any problem before it occurs.

 

We will assist you and agree on the scope and cost of our architectural services before the project is started without any obligation from your part. Just give us a call or pay us a visit for a friendly chat or if you prefer we can have a video conference via Skype.

 

All the bureaucratic process and paperwork will be done for you by our specialized staff and free of charge.

How can my architect save me money in dealing with the contractor?

3D interior view of living room of "Urban Villa" in Alicante

If we just consider a simple rehab job for a home, if it is the architects who collects the estimates from local contractors and not "Mr. Expat John Smith" most probably will save you at least 10% of the total price just on the offset. It shouldn't be so, but unfortunately local contractors feel that dealing with non Spanish speaker clients would delay the works due to the lack of communication and possible confusions during the execution of the job.

 

With an architect involved the contractor feels reassured that all the relevant construction info is available from the offset and most important, the main decisions about the works have been taken well in advance avoiding unforeseen circumstances and expensive delays difficult to charge the client once the work has started.

 

In our long experience when any of our clients have tried to obtain different bids from local contractors and then we have followed exactly the same procedure our prices have been at least 10% cheaper and in some cases much more.

 

A firm of architects worth their salts have big data banks of building materials and labour prices around Spain divided by provinces and locally by individual towns, so any tender prices from contractors can be scrutinized by our staff and renegotiated down to local prices. On the other extreme we can detect when prices obtained are so ridiculously cheap that will represent a future problem.

 

When architects prepare a bid it does so by presenting a full bill of quantities so that all tenders received are based on exactly the same materials and labour so that you can compare like with alike. Most often contractors prepare their own specifications and materials and it is terribly difficult for non expert to differentiate the disparity in prices and in quality.

 

When clients are told that they can obtain big discounts on materials, sometimes as much as 30% etc they think that with those savings they have made a good deal and by subcontracting the labour direct no one will do carryout the job cheaper. First, think if the building store will give that reduction in price to the one off client that most probably will never see again, what discount will give to a local contractor who has been buying materials for the last 10 years and probably will continue doing so for the next 20!!

 

Most expats have had construction works done by contracting directly without the supervision of an architect, and when I have ask them about the time they have spent supervising and managing the job and asked them to put a price on the hours spent, they become very surprised concerning the total amount of money that they could have saved by engaging an architect. And here I am not talking about the hustle and problems encountered in the development of the works.

 

Paper works. Yes, We spend 60% of my working time "lobbying" and managing building licenses, planning approval etc, and I know by their Christian names practically all the civil servants of all the town halls in Costa Blanca and Costa Cálida.

 

After 25 years of professional practise even I have to armed myself with patience and breath ten times before I answer back (usually young technicians) at the town hall who do not know their jobs and pretend that my clients carry out absurd construction solutions.

 

Let me quickly add here that the majority of civil servants (especially those who have been at the post for a number of years) are very helpful and try to provide fair solutions for both parties, the town hall and the citizen involved. However inexperience town hall technician may propose very expensive solutions that may be counter argued and thus making great savings. 

Juan Pacheco

Chief Architect