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Why Hire an “Architecture”?

She has no vision for what you wish to achieve. She does not come up with the initial idea. She does not actually build anything. She does not sell any stone or building material required on site. She does not finance the project and she does not eventually help you sell if it is a commercial building. 

So why hire an architect at all?

Architecture is probably one of the most obvious and yet one of the most misunderstood professions. Architects are often mistaken for engineers, who seem to be recognized and called by their proper professional name, “engineer”, unlike architects who are often called engineers or sometimes called “architectures”. Engineers, beyond being recognized, are also held in higher esteem than architects. In the building industry it is instructive to note that engineers largely come into play to work with the architect to realize the client’s dream. There are very rare projects where the engineer is the holder of the creative idea behind the built form. But who cares, it is the engineer that makes it happen, or at least according to the general public.

But I digress.

So why hire an architect when they appear to be peripheral to the actual realization of the built form? There are many answers to this question but the easiest one is that the architect’s role cuts across the entire project – from vision to the initial architectural idea, to ensuring the builders actually do what they are supposed to do, to ensuring the right materials are specified, procured and well applied, to helping package the project for financing to helping package the product for sale. The architect plays a role right across the building project life cycle, and one can argue the entire building cycle, right from conception to utility to final disposal or repurposing.

Lists are easy to work with and lists are easier to read, so let us try and list areas where the architect add value and answer the question of why you would hire an architect:

Turning the idea into a building concept

Ensuring the orchestra comes together to Realize your dream: no other professional is trained to orchestrate the complexities if a built environment project to ensure to both functions well and is aesthetically pleasing at the same time.

Saving you money: In concert with a quantity surveyor, the architect looks after your pocket. Contrary to popular belief, architects are actually poorly paid, when you consider they would earn much much more if they were paid based on just a small fraction of the savings they make you and the earning they enable you to accrue through their timely professional advice.

Ensuring adherence to regulations: This is last, bit as owners of demolished or collapsed building know only too well now, the risk of not involving an architect, and indeed the entire design team, is just not worth the risk. An architect ensures the soundness of a building with his practice certificate, and indeed livelihood, literally at stake. It is that serious.

So, why hire an architect at all? I realize now, that is not really the right question. The right one is why would you NOT hire an architect when you have so much at stake?

Arch Tom Sitati is  Board Registered Architect and MCIM Chartered Marketer (UK). The views expressed here are his own. He can be reached via email on: sitati@lexicondesigns.co.ke