When to Employ an Architect?

Most individuals and companies know that they need the services of an architectural professional when they contemplate the construction of a new home or building, or when they wish to modify an existing building,
In South Africa the National Building Regulations requires that an architect or member of the “South African Council for Architectural Practice” sign off and take responsibility for buildings at the Local Authorities. Senior technicians and technicians are also members of SACAP, and can sign off buildings of certain sizes and complexities.
The key message here is to “determine when” you incorporate the services of an architectural professional in your proposed venture.
When you have decided to build a new home, factory, or other building, we often find that the first port of call is an estate agent. The mission is to find a piece of land, or a building. You then begin a search after you decided the location (suburb) you wish to be in. This is fine, but frequently a choice of the land or building is made for the wrong reasons, one of which is cost.
You walk on the land or in the building you wish to buy, with expectations which may not be attainable. You may find later that what you bought or signed a lease for might be practically unsuited for the dream you have, or costly to modify to your needs.
Employ an architect early, and he will complete a “brief” or “wish list” with you and join you and the estate agent in the search for land or a building. He should by then have knowledge of your requirements and the features of the building you have in mind.
He is an expert at spotting the best features and the possible problems of the land or building. More so than anyone else as he will by then have studied your requirements properly.
He can get the details of the land from the local authorities, and interpret the Surveyor General’s Diagrams, Town Planning Regulations, Title Deed, and other documentation.
If there are restrictions that may adversely affect your dream, the architect will advise you to look for a more suitable property, or find a town planner or other professionals to assist in possibly removing restrictions that does not fit your vision.
The architect has to become part of your “decision making team” from the outset. He will assist you to make sound decisions, which will save you time and cost. You will have no problems or delays during the building process. The architect and his team will take care of that for you.
The cost of the land and estimates of building costs should be known and form part of the “business plan” of your proposed venture. You will then not experience surprises later in the project.
An architect appointed early will ensure that your “dream home” or “new home for your business” becomes reality. All of this with the least amount of stress to you, and within a known budget.

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