Let’s Talk About Architects

  • What do architects do?
  • Do you even need to use an architect?
  • How to go about finding a good one?

The purpose of the following article is to discuss architects in some detail to give you a better understanding of what they do and enable you to make an informed decision as to whether you need to use the services of an architect on your own building project. That’s not always an easy decision to make and the circumstances and factors involved can vary considerably from one project to the next. The information contained in this article and throughout this site is intended to help you make that decision and find the best architect to help you with your project.

What exactly do architects do?

First things first, let’s cover the basics of exactly what an architect is and how their expertise can help you. Simply put an architect is a professional trained to plan and design the construction of buildings. They are also trained to supervise the construction of buildings from the plans or blueprints drawn up for that building (plans or blueprints that could have been created by them, or someone else). Architects can work on projects of all sizes, from the very small such as building a new extension to your new home, to the very large, such as the development of the London Olympic stadium, or the new high speed rail link that will link London to Birmingham (nicknamed HS2).

As a resident of the Cambridge area, you will no doubt already be aware of the rich architectural history and heritage that the city and surrounding area has and be mindful of the fact that any building project needs to be sympathetic to the unique character of the area. By enlisting the services of a good local architect you can make sure that your project conforms to all necessary regulations and reflects not only what you want but also doesn’t fall foul of any rules you might not be aware of.

What to look out for when selecting an architectarchitects in a meeting

Architecture is a profession and as such all architects should have the relevant professional qualifications as a minimum standard and they will have seven years of professional training that includes academic study as well as practical experience. If you are looking for someone of an extremely high standard then the Royal Institute of British Architects is an internationally recognised professional association, regarded as the ‘gold standard’ for those in the profession. The Cambridge Association of Architects is the Cambridge chapter of the RIBA.

With that kind of wealth of experience and training as a bare minimum, you can probably see quite quickly how using the skills and services of an architect can add value to your building project that you are planning, whatever scale it might be.

In addition, you should look for an architectural practice in Cambridge who are familiar with the particular requirements of the area that you live in and any consequences that may arise from them.

Do you need really an architect for your project?

This is an important consideration and as I have already mentioned, the nature of the project you are planning will determine whether or not you really need to use the services of an architect in Cambridge. For example, if you are planning an interior redesign of your home, or perhaps some work in your garden, like building a garden office or a landscaping project, then you probably don’t need the services of a traditional architect, you might instead need to enlist a landscape architect.

On the other hand, if you are planning a complete renovation of a property, or a series of properties, extending your home or the construction of an entirely new building or buildings from the ground up, then you should definitely be considering using the services of an architect.

They can make sure that your designs conform to all planning regulations, take into account the surrounding area, are structurally sound and if you are incorporating a new building into the fabric of existing buildings, that this is done properly and makes good use of existing infrastructure.

Too many people think that an architect simply comes up with a series of drawings and that is the end of what they offer but they can provide so much more than that, including organising all the paperwork, bringing you value for money and adding peace of mind, as well as a different perspective to your project that will help to keep it on track.

Whilst using an architect might seem expensive as an upfront cost, they can save you money over the course of your project and not involving a Cambridge architect from the design stages onward could end up being an expensive mistake.

A day in the life of a Cambridge Architect

The work an architect does is extremely varied. Depending on the size of your project, your architect may be dedicated solely to working on that, or they may be working on a number of different smaller projects at the same time.

Their time will be divided up between site visits, drawing up designs and plans back at the studio, taking care of paperwork and administrative tasks and a myriad of other activities from the mundane to the more glamorous. One thing is for certain, you shouldn’t necessarily expect your architect to be living on site at your construction project 24/7 so don’t be alarmed if they aren’t. Some of an architect’s best work is done out of the sight of clients and rest assured that even when you can’t see them, you can still get in touch with them and they will be working tirelessly to make sure your new building lives up to your expectations.