Now I like my job. I like every aspect of my job; from the sketch design to the certification but in today’s market balancing everything out gets tricky. It’s a cut-throat business out there when architects are undercutting each other and the customer (sometimes) is just looking for the cheapest price. I don’t consider that I am the cheapest (especially when you take into account the retired woodwork teachers) and nor am I probably the most expensive – I have to charge a reasonable amount considering the level of service and time that I provide.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was posting that I was looking for work; now the post is possibly to get help with the work I currently have. Feast or Famine – these seem to be the words the architect lives by.
The conundrum therefore is the perpetual question of when you should get staff and where do you put them?
Now as you may know I work from home; I designed a nice little office in a mezzanine in the roof space. I like working from home and I think it would be difficult for someone to travel here to work (plus I don’t think the ‘other-half’ would put up with it).
That got me to thinking about the relationship between Architects and Architectural Technologists.
Now let’s look at the typical sequence of events in a domestic project in Ireland, I’ll thrown in a few other observations too as we go:
* I work to the RIAI Domestic Agreement which separates a project into 4 stages (I’ve changed the titles a bit to make it easier to follow):
1. Inception/Sketch Design
2. Developed Design – Planning Application
3. Construction information – Tender
4. Construction – Contract, Inspection & Certification
Each stage is 25% of the project and also 25% of the fee.
* The Planning Permission is a key event; and (especially at the moment) it triggers a mad panic to get started. The bank will only process a mortgage when the planning permission is obtained and then only gives a 3 month window in order to complete working drawings, go out to tender, start on site and then do a significant amount of work in order to make the first ‘draw-down’. Absolutely crazy. It’s impossible to do that amount of work (remember more than 25% of the entire project) in that time-frame.
* Now I don’t think the client truly understands the amount of time stage 3 should take and it led me to think that why don’t I use an Architectural Technologist at this stage.
I’m not looking for a CAD monkey, it would need to be someone that understands design and how to build and it seems that an Architectural Technologist would fit the bill perfectly.
* The trick now would be to resolve any conflict of competition and for the Technologist to work on a freelance basis ‘as and when’ the need arose. I would suspect also that the ideal candidate would need to have & use Vectorworks.
* Operating in this manner could free up time to obtain more work, which would benefit the both of us – win-win
* I don’t even think the ideal candidate needs to be in Ireland. There’s no reason why an Architectural Technologist in the UK (or further afield) wouldn’t be suitable.
Let me know what you think, and if you think you’re a candidate simply comment with your contact details and even if we don’t work together it’ll be a nice link for you.
A special thanks to:
For invaluable advice & comments. If I’ve missed anyone let me know.