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.

Are Architects Worth the Money?

The magnificent homes you come across in design magazines are usually designed by architects. They are the brainchild of skilled professionals who know how to come up with something new. However, if you are considering a new place for you and those closest to you, your plans might be more modest than some of those you have seen featured in magazines or on television. As you might expect, the skills of an architect don’t usually come cheap and you might think that your project doesn’t merit the involvement of one of these highly qualified individuals. Either, you can enlist the services of an architect or go for the below mentioned cost reducing options, especially if you are looking for a traditional touch.

Purchasing a stock building plan

Out of the box plans are created by home designers & architects as a sort of ‘one size fits all’ method of home design.


Given the wide availability of these types of home designs and plans, they should cater to just about every style and size of home, as well as budget. Find one that you like and you can make sizeable savings.


The one size fits all approach of these off the shelf type plans means that they will not be catered specifically to your individual requirements and there may be aspects to the design that are not to your taste. You also need to consider that the plans probably haven’t been drawn up taking into account the specifics of your local area and any requirements it might entail. Often-times plans like this will make a great starting point that can then be tailored by an architect to suit your own personal tastes and any location specific criteria that must be met.

Large scale housing developers

Generally, all new large scale housing projects are developed by these type of housing developers. They will usually own the piece of land being developed and have an agreement to build a certain number of homes on that piece of land, to designs that have been drawn up specifically with that plot of land in mind. These kind of developments will only use plans created by, or for, the developers themselves. You can purchase property in developments like this ‘off-plan’ i.e. before it has been built but you will still be constrained by the limitations placed on you by the developers. The kind of features that you may be able to influence are things like the window fittings and interior elements but the majority of features will be outside of your control.

Plus points:

Homes built in developments like this tend to be built fairly rapidly and at a lower cost than bespoke developments. The construction firms involved will be familiar with these kind of developments and should get the job done with the minimum of fuss or stress to you.


Your house will be one of many, very similar looking homes that are part of the same development. Whilst some limited personalisation is possible, it certainly won’t be your tailor made, dream home. In order to produce so many homes, in such a short space of time things are often done to keep costs and development times down.
What does a professional home designer do?

Another cost-saving option that is available for you is to take the services of a certified professional building designer, widely been regarded as home designer, playing a significant role in your house designing. Although not trained and qualified to the same level as an architect, depending on the needs of your project, a home designer may well be able to give you everything you need. The cost of hiring one of these designers is usually significantly lower than that of using an architect. These designers do have a professional certification, so you do not need to worry about their mode of working.


One of the most important things about these designers is that they have expertise in private houses – not shopping centres, gas stations and office buildings. As such, a good, certified professional building designer may have more relevant home designing expertise than an architect. If you manage to find a right kind of home designer, you are going to get a customized house, ideal for your family.

Potential pitfalls:

Although not mass-producing their designs, they will often stick to tried and tested methods and approaches, rather than employing really innovative and unconventional methods and techniques. You are much less likely to get really unique or unconventional ideas when working with designers like this. If you are interested in a completely unique design, hiring an architect is the way to go.

Talking about architects, they are licensed professionals, having expertise in all sorts of areas. Every architect has to undertake a minimum amount of training in order to become a qualified professional. Like other professions (legal, medical) the training required lasts around 7 years. There are many exams as well as on the job training and experience as part of the qualification process to be an architect. Not only are they able to design your home, they can come up with solutions to complicated engineering problems and work closely with you to make sure your home turns out exactly the way you want.

What is the role of an architect?

The answer of this question is not that straightforward as in plenty of projects, architects play wide variety of roles. The most obvious and well known aspect of their work is, of course, coming up with the designs for a building project. However, this is just the beginning of what they do, which also involves liaising with the construction crews, making sure all local laws are conformed to and organising paperwork. Ideally, it is the responsibility of your architect to inspect the building site and observe the sun direction and trees placement. When you take these services, get ready to pay extra money, generally in the range of eight to ten percent.
Questions architects are likely to pose (in no particular order)

  • Where in your home do you like to view TV from?
  • Where do you normally eat? Do you need a separate dining area and if so, how formal would you like it to be?
  • Would you like to be able to have frequent get-togethers in your new home?
  • Do you treat your bedroom pretty much like a sanctuary where you devote lots of daytime hours? Or, bedroom is just your sleeping place?
  • Do you ever work from home and if so do you require a separate office area in order to do so?
  • What are the issues you are facing in your current house?
  • And, what are the things you are happy with about your current house?
  • What sort of modifications you want to make in your current house?
  • What sort of budget do you have?

A good architect will be able to help you get the most out of your budget and get you the new dream home you have always wanted.

So, after reading all that perhaps you have decided that you want to employ an architect, you can determine how to choose the best one to employ along with numerous other useful information and facts here at our website architectsincambridge.co.uk

Home Improvement Tips

Property owners frequently want to improve the sophistication, as well as the worth of the homes they live in. Irrespective of whether you wish to sell your property or purely improve your quality of life, it might be useful to look at a spot of home improvement.

Certainly there are likely to be various reasons why individuals might want to carry out some home improvement. Most ubiquitous are life-style improvements which should improve your own personal well-being. Small adaptations to your current interiors could make the rooms a bit more spacious. That could very well improve the convenience, especially when it is your bathrooms or perhaps kitchen area. Household renewal improves the aesthetic beauty of your residential property. The damage created to your property by way of the weather factors like rainfall, snowfall, wind and sun can be fixed in order to improve the general state of the house. The deterioration brought on by time as well as catastrophe may be repaired so as to improve the overall repair. A secure and stunning property always enjoys a better resale price on the market place. A lot of home proprietors beautify their property in order to please potential home buyers.

Repainting the outside of your dwelling may be a role that you chose to hand over to professionals on the other hand, you might decided to work on this on your own. In the circumstances that you hire it out, you are able to make sure that your place is in risk-free hands and you will achieve an incredible result.

Your residential property needs to prevail when confronted with a range of weathers along with varying heat levels, which seem to be getting more extreme and unpredictable with every passing year. The external walls of your residential property need to be managed successfully which is feasible exclusively by using the appropriate materials for the age and construction of the building.

Furniture is one other notable facet of home makeovers but one that is often overlooked. One can also substitute smaller furnishings such as coffee tables and also settees with new ones. That’s a fantastic suggestion beneficial to home renovation.

You would also prefer your property to seem beautiful. Perfect shades could be made use of in combinations in order to pull off various shades of distinctive coverings, thus bestowing your place with an outstanding appearance and certainly not just the mundane and plain hues which you can purchase on the market.

Generally there are likely many justifications why people choose home improvement. Home restoration heightens the aesthetic beauty of your property.

Perhaps above all of these considerations, most people will also want their home residence to look stylish.