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Beware the Architect!14/04/2021

Watching George Clark’s television programme Ugly House To Lovely House, he intimated it was the architect’s job to design the best house they could, in line with the client’s brief, irrespective of cost.

What nonsense! I can almost guarantee that the client’s brief will have indicated a maximum budget. And, if it didn’t, that should be the first question the architect asks. Designing a house with complete disregard for budget not only raises expectations but also creates disappointment.

Invariably, it is only when the builder’s prices come in that anyone (including the architect) realises they are over budget. So not only is there disappointment but also a significant delay while the design is modified, planning approval is sought and the build is re-tendered – all very frustrating and quite unnecessary.

There are plenty of online resources offering guide full build prices based on floor area. Whilst these are a good starting point, there will always be a range of prices dependent on the complexity of the design and the level of specification. If, as an example, the range is £1,200 to £1,500 per m2, it is human nature for people to base their calculation on the lower figure. But, the actual cost will depend on the design and specification.

When designing a house you need to consider the cost of every line you draw. This is true of the outside lines which determine the overall size and all the internal lines which create the features / complexity of the design.

In my recent experience, George Clark’s words have never been truer. Some of the house designs I see are so off the wall it is quite apparent the architect has not given cost any thought. And, invariably, the client is none the wiser. This needs to change.

Written by Peter Body