Viewing 35 posts - 1 through 35 (of 35 total)
  • Our architect was hopeless, now what??
  • Premier Icon ac505
    Free Member

    So, long story cut short, we employed a local architect to handle the design and planning /warrants for a slap through and small extension. A little tricky as it’s an old house, we’re removing an exterior load bearing wall with chimney, the house is a bit of a rabbits warren etc. The architect offered absolutely no support in terms of design, didn’t suggest products or materials (windows, doors, finishes etc), no lighting plans, no heating provision, the relationship was more akin to a draughtsman / client interaction, and nothing more. We accepted this in terms that we handle the design and sourcing of doors, windows, roof lights etc, but didn’t bank on the numerous mistakes to drawings, SOW lacking detail, littered with errors etc that I had to markup and seek correction on.

    We could have backed out at any time, however once we’d sunk cash into drawings, we really hoped we could work through this – again the job wasn’t that big but represents years of savings so needs to be right.

    Fast forward, builder appointed, planning and Warrant satisfied (Scotland), we decided to make a change to the design – the architect simply not interested in supporting us, so means we are thousands of pounds down, need to find a new architect to start from scratch, move our slot with the builder etc etc.

    This is a bit of a moan, but I’m wondering do I have any redress with the architect, is there a professional body that I can go to that can actually do something, can I seek reimbursement etc, or do I chalk this up as making a bad choice and move on.

    Appreciate thoughts.

    Premier Icon sharkbait
    Free Member

    didn’t suggest products or materials (windows, doors, finishes etc), no lighting plans, no heating provision,

    My dad was an architect and this was generally not his job. Did you specifically ask, and pay, for him to offer these things?

    Fast forward, builder appointed, planning and Warrant satisfied (Scotland), we decided to make a change to the design – the architect simply not interested in supporting us

    The fact that you’ve decided to change the design after it was finalised is not his fault – maybe he’s busy, maybe it’s for “other reasons” (I think I know which one it is)!
    …. and you want reimbursing??

    Another architect could take over from where the first architect left off.

    Premier Icon iolo
    Full Member

    we decided to make a change to the design

    You want reimbursement for a change of design? Sorry to be harsh but I think you already know the answer.

    Premier Icon ayjaydoubleyou
    Free Member

    I work kind of within the same industry. I have unfortunately seen both sides of this.

    the relationship was more akin to a draughtsman / client interaction, and nothing more

    This is a perfectly reasonable service that some people provide for happy customers IF that’s what they think they are getting and paying for.

    Have you got any details from the guy’s initial quote to do your work that indicate the level of design input, detail and support you were paying for?

    Is he an architect or an architectural technician? RIBA may be interested if he’s passing himself off as something he is not.

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    I had a hopeless architect for work I had done – but I only had him do the minimal amount of work for building control / planning so no specification of stuff like lights and fittings and no detailed drawings.

    He was hopeless because he gave the wrong spec for the walls ( no vapour membrane) and kept on putting stuff in his drawings in the wrong place.  I did the design, he kept ignoring it and doing what he wanted not what I wanted..  But I didn’t expect him to do all the fine detail as that wasn’t what I had paid him for.

    Premier Icon nickjb
    Free Member

    You want reimbursement for a change of design?

    Depends why they want the change. If the change is because the architect messed up or missed something then it should be covered.

    A good architect should produce something that at least matches, and ideally exceeds, the clients expectations. This one seems to have fallen a bit short.

    They should be affiliated with a professional body so worth a moan to them.

    I expect you won’t get far, and I’d be looking at the easiest way to move on unfortunately

    Premier Icon sharkbait
    Free Member

    Fast forward, builder appointed, planning and Warrant satisfied (Scotland), we decided to make a change to the design

    that sounds like just a change of mind.

    Premier Icon ac505
    Free Member

    I think my first step is to approach RIAS, but not sure where this will take me. Errors were aplenty, mistakes on drawings, important detail missed, no design input given when asked, SOW not fit for purpose (noted by 2 builders). A relatively minor change is required, and I would hope and expect the architect would support this, To be clear the relationship up until their preference to walk away was not fractious, (sorry to all the desk jockeys looking to make this into a peeing contest) however the many errors had been noted and clearly had to be resolved prior to concluding, so the architect was aware they were not doing a sterling job.

    Premier Icon Jakester
    Free Member

    It all depends on what was agreed with the architect at the outset. Did you ask for full design and build co-ordination, or did you simply ask them to prepare the drawings for PP and construction?

    They don’t usually do M&E design either – that’s the job of an M&E consultant on larger jobs, or usually part of the CDP on smaller resi jobs.

    You are looking at a causation issue – you say there were errors in the drawings, but were these errors the cause of you looking to redesign? If not, then I think you may struggle to get any reimbursement back.

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Full Member

    You would expect extra costs to be involved in a change of design, even a minor one which required redrawing. Were you expecting the architect to support you with no additional charge, hence his lack of interest?

    Perhaps if the change is very minor, a draughtsman service is actually what you’re after.

    Premier Icon monkeyboyjc
    Full Member

    Sounds like you paid for a basic planning and drawings service just to get it through planning and are now realising you want and need more detailed drawings for the builder and will have to pay for a more in-depth approach?

    Unfortunately where you go from now is paying some one for the service and level of detail you require.

    Assuming you approved drawings as a client and noted the mistakes at that point prior to submission to planning?

    Premier Icon ac505
    Free Member

    Change of design is our preference but due to a combination of errors on drawings and an unsatisfactory workaround developed by the architect. In short, builders have said “don’t do that, it won’t work”. Im more than happy to pay for additional works, that’s not in question, however starting the process afresh with a new architect puts me around £3K down so understandably I”d like to resolve this.

    @Monkey
    , it was a full design service inc SOW for builder.

    Premier Icon monkeyboyjc
    Full Member

    It’ll really depend on what the errors are, also the cost and scope of original works (£3k?). Small claims court I’d guess but you cirtainly will have more cost and time doing this.

    Premier Icon monkeyboyjc
    Full Member

    Full design through to completion on site or just full design?

    The two are very,very different

    Like many services if your not happy with your architect your completly within your rights to change them – new architect will ask the old for the cad files of your drawings and off you go. However If your not happy with fees you’ve already paid and quality of the work your always best trying to resolve this out of court as it could be lengthy and difficult for both parties.

    If they are members of trade associations there may be a mediator process you can approach prior to court action?

    Premier Icon uwe-r
    Free Member

    We’ve had a some bad experience with them. 1 guy came recommended to us. Did one set of drawings for planning and that was fine. Wanted a second set and he was too busy. On the basis he wouldn’t even get back to us we moved on and had a second guy also provide a shit service. Yes we got some drawings in the end but I get the vibe with low level domestic work these people take on far too much and put the minimum of effort in. I guess you get what you pay for but the cost of good service is out of reach for most and you are lucky if you find someone to do the most basic work.

    Premier Icon ac505
    Free Member

    thanks Monkey. Only complication to your suggestion is that, understandably, architects don’t like picking up other peoples work, so would look to survey the property again despite the CAD files being available.

    I guess there is an option to find a draughts person to modify the existing files in line with a new design, appoint an engineer to redo calcs etc and do some homework myself to get the planning and warrant revisions completed.

    Premier Icon finbar
    Free Member

    I’ve no advice but we had a hapless architect we wasted a couple of gs with as well.

    I’ve various examples of his ineptitude but my favourite was not having any doors into or out of our dining room in the ‘final’ set of drawings 😀

    Premier Icon monkeyboyjc
    Full Member

    If it helps, when I was in the trade I did once specify a door into a disability toilet to have full floor to ceiling vision panels….. It was made, and amazingly also installed by the builder before it was flagged up by the rather high profile client during a site visit….

    However to my defense, it was small mistake on a door schedule with around 1000 doors on it in excel, and was the only mistake – the document was also checked by my boss and the builders QS and construction team before manufacturing the doors.

    I didn’t live it down though…..

    Premier Icon monkeyboyjc
    Full Member

    so would look to survey the property again despite the CAD files being available.

    I hated taking on others work, but it was always better than starting from scratch…. Even if it’s a PDF of  a drawing.

    Premier Icon steve_b77
    Free Member

    We could have backed out at any time, however once we’d sunk cash into drawings, we really hoped we could work through this – again the job wasn’t that big but represents years of savings so needs to be right.

    So you paid him before checking the drawings and ensuring everything was fit for purpose / worked, that’s on you I’m afraid.

    Unless it was contracted they’d have no obligation to undertake re-work or anything that wasn’t agreed during the initial consultation & agreement period.

    Premier Icon willjones
    Full Member

    full floor to ceiling vision panels

    Windows?

    Premier Icon ayjaydoubleyou
    Free Member

    So you paid him before checking the drawings and ensuring everything was fit for purpose / worked, that’s on you I’m afraid.

    Payment of balance before issue of drawings is standard – you can’t take back a PDF once you’ve sent it.

    That said, correction of obvious / highlighted errors, yes should be done for free and as soon as practical.

    On the other hand, modification to meet change in clients wishes – you should be paying for, and done as and when he is free from his other paying clients. Entire building trade is at a huge backlog right now.

    Premier Icon steve_b77
    Free Member

    Payment of balance before issue of drawings is standard – you can’t take back a PDF once you’ve sent it.

    I disagree, unless the supplier has met the specified demands of the client, payment in full should not be made,.

    Premier Icon ac505
    Free Member

    @Steve, bear in mind it was the builder that noted the unsatisfactory workarounds, they are the professional, I’m just the client. So yes, payment was made prior to going to tender for works.

    I think I can draw a line under this, architect not obliged to do anything, however any good architect would accommodate clients making changes, as that happens ahead of and in many cases, during the build.

    My Xmas pressie will be autocad…

    Premier Icon The-Beard
    Full Member

    If he was a registered architect then you have redress through the ARB (Architect’s Registration Board) who are there to protect consumers from architects who don’t fulfill their duties properly.  If your architect was indeed registered they are the organisation to approach if you have a grievance.

    Premier Icon franksinatra
    Full Member

    If you have appointed builders why not ask them what architect they work with a like. Relationship between the two is key and you could save yourself a lot of hassle and, in longer term, money by squaring it away now.

    Our architect lacked any sort of creativity but had an immense level of detail, builders loved him because he basically drew up step by step instructions for every single thing.

    Sometimes you are better off cutting your losses and paying a better person to deal with it.

    Premier Icon ayjaydoubleyou
    Free Member

    I disagree, unless the supplier has met the specified demands of the client, payment in full should not be made,.

    We seem to be doing alright working to this method.
    Who has more comback, the reputable registered business, or the individual client who through the nature of the work is unlikely to be a repeat customer.

    Premier Icon monkeyboyjc
    Full Member

    Windows?

    Yep 😄

    Premier Icon db
    Full Member

    Our architect missed a 3ft bit of steel required to hold up the 1st floor of our extension. Not in any plans, never discussed. Builder spotted it and sorted it.

    The architects attitude was “these things happen”. Suffice to say our relationship did not go any further and I have advised others to not use there services.

    I could cope with the oversite but the attitude sucked.

    Premier Icon doris5000
    Free Member

    Our architect missed a 3ft bit of steel required to hold up the 1st floor of our extension. Not in any plans, never discussed. Builder spotted it and sorted it.

    The architects attitude was “these things happen”.

    That’s classic. On a smaller scale, just had this with a kitchen – not a big national place, but a local company, making a bespoke setup. We pointed out that one of his drawings appeared to be out by 100mm each side. He insisted that we had just read the drawings wrong. The unit appeared and was 200mm short. He shrugged and just said ‘well, you can’t always expect everything to go perfectly with a kitchen fit’. And has carefully avoided any sort of apology at any point. The prat.

    Premier Icon Greybeard
    Full Member

    If he was a registered architect then you have redress through the ARB (Architect’s Registration Board)

    agreed – and if he wasn’t a registered architect it was illegal for him to call himself an architect. If he was an architectural Technologist the body to approach is CIAT (Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists)

    Premier Icon suburbanreuben
    Free Member

    “and if he wasn’t a registered architect it was illegal for him to call himself an architect. ”

    And yet, any monkey with a spanner and an oily rag can call themselves an engineer…

    Premier Icon ayjaydoubleyou
    Free Member

    And yet, any monkey with a spanner and an oily rag can call themselves an engineer…

    As we completed our four year masters degree, my friend pointed out that his BIL had just done a 2 day course on how to install BT infinity and was also now an engineer.

    Premier Icon trail_rat
    Free Member

    I guess the question is just like builders how did you chose your architect ?
    Being from a family of builders I’ve seen some howlers over the years including one built to print would have been in the neighbours garden……

    I got laughed at on here for Apparently paying too much for my architect on here(funnily enough in a thread detailing how useless architects were) how ever came highly recommended locally. Despite I knew what I wanted came at me with design ideas and options . Offered one round of changes after comissioning of drawings. Loaded with planning and got all the engineers paper work ,permissions and warrents with 6 weeks. But alas they were not cheap.

    The build came. 5 weeks later the wall was down the extension was up and kitchen fitted. A further 6 weeks and we had sign off from BC ( no further involvement from the architect beyond the warrent issuing)

    A repeated theme on here is that people feel architects charge too much for “just drawing”. But as the first step in project planning getting the start right is as important as getting your roof water tight. – everything works off the back of that drawing.

    Premier Icon stingmered
    Full Member

    My experience – builder will always find fault with an architects proposals and detailed design. It’s in the nature of the beast. 9/10 times with good cause because an architect doesn’t necessarily have the practical experience a builder does. However if you get the right architect they can provide the vision and then hopefully 95% of the detail to make a design viable. The trick is to find an architect you trust (admittedly not easy) and then one that has worked with your chosen builder on significant number of projects in the past. They may not always agree, but hopefully if they have a good relationship they know each others’ strengths and limitations and can use that to good effect to get you the best outcome given the brief.

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