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Client to Architect

You may not know what an architect does, what a client achieves with an architect, how much it costs; this page gives some insight through the work this architectural practice undertakes.

What an architect doesn't do

An architect is not a building designer, or a draughtsperson. The architect's purpose in life is not to draw plans or detail construction of buildings to the builder's ease or normal habits.

Instead

The architect's job is to provide the technical expertise to give a physical form to the client's aspirations, hopes, ambitions.
From this Home Page you will already have gathered that the architectural practice of Emilis Prelgauskas focusses on the environmental responsibilities of buildings; and is most applicable to clients who value fulfilling their responsibilities in their own habitat.

Clients to this architectural practice chiefly are looking to:-

  • minimise their use of resources in their development
  • minimise the impact of their development on the environment
  • minimise allergy reactions from components used in the development
  • retrofit existing developments to improve its performance as above (in the U.S. this is called 'weatherisation')
  • maximise the use of on-site resources and so on.
As a sideline, such projects are also often cheaper to develop than conventional buildings, and always operate at a fraction of the recurrent costs of conventional buildings.
Thus these developments have very attractive payback financial aspects which save the capital cost of their environmental features many times over in the life cycle of the building.

Other pages describe the design philosphies, technologies and some of the completed projects of this practice.

Best practice

As a result the architect's work may result in a building which does things differently to usual builder practice, with particular gains for the client in mind.

Process

To achieve this the architect:-
  • reviews the client's hopes and dreams, the site, the development regulations, and other issues to validate the practicability of those ambitions
  • sketches a possible physical form for the client's brief as a basis of understanding by the client
  • continues to develop more and more detailed sketches during which time the client's brief, understanding, priorities may evolve and adjust as well as the proposed physical scheme evolves, until a firm scheme is decided on
  • document that scheme so that regulatory acceptability can be tested
  • advocate and champion the scheme where regulatory opposition occurs
  • document the scheme to define the budget and regulatory compliance in structural, health, fire and equivalent areas
  • provide support in development procurement, be that by builder, owner- building or mix of owner control and specialist trade contractors.

Clients choose to buy the expertise of the architect in those areas where they have the need.

Paying the architect

The foregoing demonstrates why the architect is not paid in relation to the quantity of drawings produced or the hours of work. Much that is being bought are the architect's training, skills and detailed knowledge, particularly where best practice matters are involved.

In effect, the client buys a clear chunk of the architect's time so that he can concentrate on the client's particular issues and priorities. In this way solutions embodying the features of value to the client are achieved.

For example, in the sketch phase, there are the widely divergent inputs of client brief, site practicailities, construction practicalities, regulatory requirements and environmental issues and technologies to meld together. That is not a technical task, it involves intuitive leaps reminiscent of pulling together a monster 1000 piece zigsaw puzzle. Only here the pieces are not all the same size or shape, as these are composed of mixed priorities, mixed emotion response and purely technical issues, some ephemeral, some tightly precise.

From the above it becomes clear that visible solutions sometimes aggregate swiftly, sometimes only with difficulty after 'writers block' or difficult gestation. It would be unreasonable for an architect to work on a variety of clients' projects and to charge each against possibly open ended work hours; since the solution in each case in part depends on the completeness of the client's brief as well as the architect's previous exposure to such issues and situations.

Thus an assessment of the complexity of each client's job in each task is made at the beginning and forms the basis of fee submissions.

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