Computer generated images like the one above can help communicate ideas digitally. By Sapna, architect from Glasgow City. Click here to see more and shortlist them for your home project.
We are getting a lot of questions from homeowners at the moment about the impact of Coronavirus (Covid-19) along the lines of: ‘Can architects work remotely?’ and also whether now is a good time to start planning a building, renovation or extension project.
Remote working and avoiding contact with others could be more tricky after the project goes on site, where physical meetings and site visits are more important. Thankfully, much of the planning and preparation can easily be done during a time of social distancing and isolation. We go through the different stages of a typical home project below so you know what you could expect:
Can architects work from home?
Fortunately most private residential architects are very well placed to work from home and in fact many freelancers / sole traders already work from a home office. A home building and extension project doesn’t usually require more than one or two people to be working on it. This really helps reduce the need for an office based environment that might be required for larger or commercial architecture practices.
Finding the right architect
Design for Me is a free online platform to help you quickly find the right design professional for your home project.
Once you register your project, it will be matched with 100s of top architects in your area and beyond, and you can see who may be available and eager to work on your project straight away.
Initial consultation and quotation
This can be done remotely – either on the phone or a video call. If you have any floor plans, e.g. estate agent plans, this would be helpful for the architect to better understand the space and dimensions if they can’t be there in person. We’d really recommend a video call if you can, as it will really help build a good relationship, give you a good sense of who they are and if you would like to work with them. If you feel you have a good connection with the architects, you can ask them to prepare a quote for you.
During the initial appointment, ask the architect how they would deal with creating ‘existing’ drawings. They may be happy to work from an existing floor plan that you have for the time being – asking for some check dimensions from you. Otherwise, they will have their own strategy and survey partners to ensure this process is done safely and in line with current guidance.
Architects can send sketches, drawings and visualisations via email, for discussion over a video call. This is something that is already very common in the industry. Computer generated images (CGIs) are now frequently used by residential architects to help the client understand the design, like the image at the top of this article. Screen sharing will also allow your architect to sketch/annotate while you talk and explain the drawings. You and your architect can start collecting ideas and inspirational images like these below. Sharing a board with your architect on Pinterest is a great way to start this collaborative process. See Design for Me’s Pinterest feed here, featuring hundreds of the best residential architects and designers in the UK to get you started.
Design by Oliver, architect from Wandsworth, London. Click the image to see his full profile and shortlist him for your project.
These can be done online via The Planning Portal website. Being able to send drawings as PDFs means that there is no longer any need to have access to large format printers, usually found in architects’ offices. The planning process takes up to 13 weeks. However, this may well be extended due to the social distancing measures. With this in mind, it would be wise to get your submission in ASAP, particular if you plan to start construction later in 2020.
For your architect, the vast majority of their workload will happen in the design and planning phases of the project, i.e. before the project starts on site. A typical extension project will take roughly six months in design and planning, and a self-build can take a little longer.
If you need any help or advice regarding finding an architect or how this process could work over the coming weeks, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to chat!
After you post your project you can choose up to three interested design professionals for an initial consultation. And it’s all completely free!
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