Why use an architect?

Private Property South Africa
Natalie Billings

So you’re a creative, design minded person and you’ve got some fabulous ideas about the new home you want to build. You’re not a terribly gifted artist, but that hardly matters beçause you’ve just downloaded the latest (free) 3D home design software, which is going to enable you to draw up your dream home in a matter of hours. Great! So why would you want to fork out the cash to_ involve an architect_ in this process?

Well to start with, legislation has become increasingly stringent, demanding that even the smallest section of building work (even a boundary wall or carport) must be drawn up by a suitably qualified professional, and submitted for approval prior to building. Grading of the various professionals in this field is overseen by the SA Council for the Architectural Profession, and you can check a person’s credibility by asking for their registration number .

Architects’ familiarity with current zoning schemes makes them an invaluable addition to your team. A sudden change to the regulations can have devastating implications to your development or the value of your property. With their specialised knowledge of planning, construction and building regulations, architects can ensure that you avoid the horror of having to tear down what you’ve just built because of a local regulation.

Whether you need a professional architect (as apposed to a draftsman or designer) will depend largely on the scale and complexity of your project, and whether or not your budget justifies the expertise of a professional.

Even if you are working within a tight budget, it does not make good economical sense to cut corners on design. Talented professionals will help you to avoid costly mistakes – and can assure that the home you build is ideally suited to your lifestyle.

Too often the architect is written off as the whimsical artist who, with the flip of the pen, over a cheerful dash of good wine, puts together some pretty pictures with such ease that one wonders how they dare charge for such frivolity.

Yet, these well-worth-getting-to-know masters of their trade have studied rigorously and at length to develop an intimate knowledge of building systems and materials, as well as how these components can work together. Beyond their academic studies, they also have the intuitive ability to understand the needs and priorities of their clients, and are passionate about shaping structures and spaces to enrich the lives of those who occupy them.

The_ science of building_ is multi-dimensional and a qualified architect will comfortably wear many hats during the construction process: designer, draftsman, facilitator, problem solver. They can take on the role of project manager, help to compile a professional team, source other professionals where required and assist with tenders and contractor appointments.

Building can definitely be one of the more testing and exhausting things you’ll do in your lifetime. An architect can ensure you minimise those migraine moments!

A good architect will help shape your dream ideas into feasible structures and spaces that meet your budget and time constraints, respond to your unique personality and lifestyle requirements and result in an inspiring living environment, and a worthwhile investment.

Written by Natalie Billings of Fabians, 083 448 5656, natalie@fabians.co.za

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