As property owners you will know that as we are approaching the end of a major recession wherein a number of financial service providers went to ground, the safest place for your money during the last two years was in your property. While other investments plummeted, property value merely halted for a brief moment before increasing once more. For most people a house is the single biggest and most valuable investment you will make in your lifetime. The value of that property is measured by either its resale potential or ability to generate income. The question which you have to ask yourself is whether this is the right place to be cutting costs.
So…why should you approach an architect?
1. Save money: When presented with a costing from a contractor few people know what to look for which leads to expensive realisations at a later stage. In other words; whatever you are saving on architectural fees will be going into somebody’s pocket in any case…Architects are trained to spot hidden or missing costs. They can also advise a client regarding the application of alternative and cost saving measures, without sacrificing quality.
2. Relieve stress: The construction process can be stressful, especially if you do not know what you are doing. Having the process carefully planned will help notify you when something is wrong. Asking the correct questions will make all the difference. Not knowing what is really going on can be very stressful.
The Joint Building Contracts Committee(JBCC) have drawn up a number of agreements for use by contractors and clients in a contractual situation. These contracts include the Minor Works Agreement (Smaller projects such as Alterations and Additions, generally with a value of less than R2m), and the Principal Building Agreement(Generally new builds and projects with a value greater than R2m).These contracts when managed by a professional are intended to protect the contractor as well as the client.
Having a professional in charge means that you can relax knowing that your property is in good hands.
3. Security: “The contractor ran off with our money”. We’ve all heard the phrase. This is a concern which can be addressed by appointing a qualified professional. During the construction process a contractor would submit interim payment certificates, which would be validated by an architect prior to being presented to the client for payment.
4. DIY doesn’t Sell: So many potential buyers have viewed properties where a badly done renovation has left a foul taste lingering. Do you think that the current owner was ever under the impression that he might be doing serious damage to his investment? One’s personal preference and taste does not necessarily coincide with that of future buyers. In fact the costs involved in rectifying your DIY fetish will only discourage future buyers.
5. Integrated design vs. a couple of ideas slapped together: Architects are trained to perceive the greater opportunities presented by a situation. This leads to more informed decisions and in the end a more coherent whole. Having an architect draw up a master plan will assist you in planning the process step by step and prevent you from incurring unnecessary costs at a later stage.
6. Objective Advice: Being sentimentally involved with your property means that you are not always able to make the correct decisions. Unless your budget is endless the construction process will always involve sacrifice. An architect will be able to advise you when and what to sacrifice in order to unlock the maximum potential of your property.
7. Qualified advice: An architect’s training includes an undergraduate degree comprising 3 years full time study followed by 1 year practical training followed by a 2 years full time Masters degree. After completing his/her studies successfully an architect still has to complete 2 years in practice training and then pass a Professional practice exam. This adds up to a minimum of 8 years which is the same time it takes to become a doctor (5/6 years of full time study+ 2 years internship + 1 year community service). The question to ask yourself: Have you ever been to the doctor and negotiated a price or even told him what to do and how to do it?
8. Restrictions: A zoning scheme is a legal document, which records all land-use rights on properties in its area of jurisdiction. It includes regulations and restrictions on such rights and how they can be exercised. The zoning scheme is enforced by the Land Use Management Department at the City Council. They manage urban growth and development, as well as conservation of the natural and cultural environment within their area of jurisdiction. Zoning restrictions include: building setbacks overlooking features, bulk calculations, heritage concerns and can often be complicated and time consuming.
Stage 4.1 of the architect’s appointment is allocated to reviewing any proposed building work with the relevant authorities. Should any new work not be in accordance with council regulations an owner may be prosecuted and forced to rectify.
9. Insurance: Few people are aware that not having a professional might lead to dire consequences later. Essentially what you are doing is creating a loophole for your insurance provider. Even if nothing goes wrong during the actual construction process. Any damage to the structure, even though it only manifests itself years later will be attributed to the particular alterations, if not conducted appropriately. Professionals are covered by Indemnity insurance which is specifically aimed at covering costs such as these.
Please don’t hesitate to contact Cape Town architects, KUBE architecture, for further information.