Architectural Design Process – How Architects Work

People often wonder precisely what architects and building designers actually do – what they are paying for?¬†Well, the short answer is design buildings… but there is so much more to our work that pretty pictures.

Very often clients think they only need help through the early stages – get us planning permission and out builder can do the rest! Sometimes that’s true, but there are so many decisions that cannot be made until much further into the process.

Then there are the really important issues, managing costs, maintaining quality and dealing with problems when things change or go wrong.

So, we have put together this infographic to explain the whole process:

Architectural Design Process Infographic

How Architects Work
Architectural Design Process

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As you can see the work up to planning stage really is just the beginning of the design process. At this point we will know what roughly what the building will look like, but we still need to understand how it will be built.

This is briefly covered in the building regulations stage, but when it comes to construction, the builder needs a lot more information – how do the different roof junctions work, what are the internal doors and what ironmongery to they use, how does the stairs fit through the floors… there are a seemingly endless list of questions and decisions to be made.

Sure, you could leave this to your builder to work out, but unless they are very good, then you are all to often going to get the cheapest and easiest solution, rather than the best for you.

Alternatively you can deal with these decisions yourself as they arise. That would work, but you have to be quick – in construction delays are expensive. And are you able to understand the impact your decisions might have later on down the line?

All the key decisions should be made before you get quotes from contractors. When you first seek quotes they are competitive, which means your contractor is going to give you the best price possible to ensure he wins the job. Once they’re on site however, you don’t really have a lot of options, so they don’t tend to be so careful with the pricing.

So do you need a full architectural service or can you manage alone? Well that depends partly on how good you are at managing and making decisions and partly on how much you trust your builder.