Preliminary Discussions with your Architect, What to expect;

When you have found an architect and made sure that he specializes in the branch of architecture (see previous post) you require, you meet him for a preliminary consultation, and expect to do and hear the following;

• Make sure that the architect is a SAIA and SACAP member in good standing.
• You should start a wish list, a “brief”, which should contain your specific requirements and aspirations. Compile a scrapbook with photos and requirements if you wish.
This will assist you and your architect to establish your “style” and preferences. You may also want to visit similar buildings in the vicinity to discuss your preferences.
• If you are looking for new home for your business, the architect should ask for your company organogram, and he will use it to advise you on the requirements and size of your building. He should remind you to make provision for future growth.
• The “brief” will evolve as you and your architect focus on how you will use the intended building spaces, short and long term.
• The design/building will always be the result of the information you provide, supported by your and your architect’s interpretation.

• It is essential that he does not give you a cost for his services during your first meeting, and if he does not ask for time to prepare a proper fee proposal, you should see a “red flag”
• He may charge you a nominal fee to assist with a preliminary brief based on your “wish list.”
• Determine early in your first discussions what work your architect will do and for how much. The architect should explain the SACAP five (or six) stage fee structures that he is bound to.
• If the brief is accepted by you he should prepare a preliminary design to match your wish list.
• He should also ask you to employ a Quantity Surveyor to do a “high level cost estimate”, the beginning of “cost control”.
• The architect should keep and issue minutes of your preliminary discussions or meetings. These are a record of design and cost decisions to avoid possible later conflict.

This should give you an idea of what you can expect from your first meeting with your architect. Above all, what your dream home or building can cost, and how long it will take

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