Damn the architect

Having weighed up the pros and cons over the past few months of employing an architect in a ‘full service’ capacity we’ve decided to go it alone.

It’s not been an easy decision and is at least in part driven by the fact that I’ve not managed to find anyone who is able to offer this type of service in the locality of the barn. That meant that travel expenses were likely to be a sizeable cost and time-on-site would be minimal.

These may well be famous last words, but I resent the potential cost and loss of control that a third party managing the project may mean.

So we’ve done away with the architect and gone green….

Step 4 = design owner / design implementer

(or … will you employ an architect?)

We have some strong opinions about how we wanted the conversion to be.

We’re keen on a natural finish, wanting to avoid the dark stained timber, olde worlde kitchens & stairs and gravel often to be found in and around a stereo-typical barn conversion. Our aim is to blend traditional rustic design with modern design; the material and furnishings will reflect this blending.

So the question you need to answer is who fulfil the roles of design owner and design implementer? In other words who will derive the initial design (design owner), then carry it through to implementation in your completed building (design implementer)?

This is where an architect can come in – sharing these roles with the other stakeholders (the client, builders, planners etc.) as well as bringing experience and knowledge to your project. This will all come at a price (budget 15-20% of the total project cost). This is obviously a decision you need to make for yourselves, based upon, your aspirations skills, the clarity of your design vision and budget.

With strong ideas of our own and our inability to find a local full service architect, we chose to not employ a full service architect.

Copper Nails!

There are all sorts in interesting(?) facts that you learn when you begin to dabble in an area with which you’ve had little previous experience (such as converting a shed to a house is to me).

One of these is the percentage of slates that you can save dependant on the type of nails they’re fixed with. Copper nails are good, lead are best and other types of nail are bad. Now if only I could remember the percentages…!!!

Meet the architect

I’ve always fancied the idea of engaging an architect (if I’m honest, inspired by Kevin Mc of TV fame), so I went to speak to one today.

My route in was the RIBA website (Google RIBA), which offers a referral service. Of the three on my list I managed to speak to two (one of whom chased me on a Friday night which is a refreshing role reversal).

I went to meet the first of them today and can’t say I was disappointed. I found the experience confidence building and somewhat inspirational. I now feel a whole lot more certain about the project. Although the costs seem to keep growing (the architects ‘cut’ around 14% of the total build) the project as a whole seems more achievable.