This is a question we would like to answer in this post. What do we do as architects? And how can we help you? In general, and in our years of experience we have found that small promoters and self-promoters (customers who want to build their own house) are unclear about our work or because they are obliged to hire us for a project, they see us as of little importance.
The general perception in Spain of architects is that they are expensive technicians who are solely there to develop large construction projects. People generally avoid contracting us due to a social belief that stems from a lack of knowledge about our profession.
As a result, we want to explain what we do, how we do it, and why we can be a great help when developing your building project. To keep it simple, we will write for a future owner of a home that is going to be built.
What you can expect from a good architect:
- Experienced advice about the steps to follow and the estimated costs. They can advise us about prices, timeframes, paperwork etc.
- A design adapted to your needs and the mandatory regulations, in which you will have to assess those small/big ideas that will improve your future house. A good design can make a home function better in all ways: the flow between rooms, energy-saving, durability of materials etc.
- A document (plan) that backs up this design. This will define exactly what we want and will help builders quantify it under the correct conditions. The plan is everything and no one can tell us different, so it is a great help to avoid unpredicted costs and unnecessary additions to the budget. This post could be useful if you want more information about the planning stage: The 5 steps of an architectural project.
- Control over the works, the quality of the materials and the execution. You should only pay for what is really done as part of the project and these technicians are there to assess it all.
This is the minimum you can expect from the technicians, and it is wise to clarify this with them before signing a contract.
We advise against the following:
- Extremely cheap architects à remember the phrase “If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys”.
- Architects that come from a builder à they are both judge and judged. The more the builder earns the better.
- Generally, architects who are recommended by anyone who could end up earning a commission.
On this point I can assure you that a competent technical team can save you money on the construction as they do not receive a cut of the final cost of the works and only get previously agreed fees. And of course, regardless of the conditions, a work completed without technicians can result far more expensive and less safe in the long run.
If you want to learn more, take a look at this other post: ‘How much does it cost to build a house?’, in which we outline all the costs.
This is the national architects asociation of Spain in wich you can find complete information and news about this field of activity: http://www.cscae.com/