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Why use an Architect ?

"An Engineer is a person who knows more and more about less and less untill eventually they know everything about nothing. An Architect is a person who knows less and less about more and more untill eventually they know nothing about everything"

No other building professional has the same breath of training and expertise as an Architect. An Architect is a trained building professional, who is trained to act as the clients representative and expert in all aspects of the process of designing and realizing a building project. An architect in addition to been a skilled designer is also trained to manage the construction process, including, planning applications, construction detailing, cost control, building regulations compliance, contract administration, site inspection and compliance certification. To become a qualified Architect generally requires compleation of a 5 year university degree followed by a minimum 3 years of practice experience and a further exam in proffessional practice. Even after full qualification it is a requirement of registration to complete a minimum of 40 hours ongoing profesional development every year to keep up to date with practice issues and extend knowlege and skills. Couple accademic training with years of practical experiance negotiating the construction process having an Architect on your team is surely a major advantage.

How do I know my architect is properly qualified ?

Up until 2009, unlike almost everywhere else in the developed world, the title “Architect” in Ireland was not protected. In effect anyone could legally call themselves an architect, even without any training or experiance whatsoever. In the absence of legal registration the RIAI link (Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland) as a self regulating body has required members to have appropriate qualifications (Typically a 5 year degree in Architecture) and experience (Typically 3 years post graduate) and to have passed examinations in professional practice. In 2009 the law changed and the title “Architect” has become legally protected. It is now an offence to claim to be an architect without been properly qualified and registered.

Will other consultants be required ?

Typically a project will require a structural engineer to provide structural details where any significant new building or alterations are required. It may also be necessary to use other specialists such as Planning Consultants, Environmental Consultants or Traffic Engineers.

How much does building work currently cost ?

Building work costs can vary considerably depending on design and specification and contract method. In general we suggest an allowance of €1,500-00 per square meter for new building work and up to €1,000-00 per square meter for total refurbishment. Higher end energy efficiency measures might add €25,000-00 to a typical new build cost.

Generally speaking a more compact house design is cheaper it to build. For example a two story house would have half the roof and foundations of a bungalow for the same floor area. We would always advise considering building less overall area in square meters with a higher quality design and finish. For example if you take a sitting room of 4x4 m (16m2) and increase it to 5x5 m (25m2) you have built 50% more space but the furniture is only further apart (or has bigger gaps behind it) It is quite possible to have a very nice 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom, house with a family living area and separate sitting room of 200 m² as opposed to 250 m² plus which is quite commonly seen.

The procurement method can also have an impact on costs. Self build/Self managed construction will invariably be cheaper than hiring a main contractor, however this requires a significant input of time and energy from the client and exposes them to all the risks normally borne by the main contractor. It is more common to have the basic building completed to “builders finish” and for a client to engage tradesmen and suppliers separately to finish floors and fit kitchens etc. Unless a client has some experience with building, we would generally recommend a competitive tender process and having the main contractor to complete the entire job. With a fully thought through and detailed set of tender documents it is common to find huge variations in quoted prices with even a 50% difference between a top and bottom price not been uncommon for extension and refubishment work.

Some indicative construction costs.

New solar water system including new 300ltr tank. - €5,000-00 Inc Vat

Mechanical heat recovery ventilation - €5,000-00 Inc Vat

Attic Conversion in a typical semi detached house. - €25,000-00 Inc Vat

116m2 terraced cottage - Total refurbishment - €140,000-00 Inc Vat (€1200/m2)

Including attic conversion, new windows throughout, some minor extensions and replacing roofing to ¾ of structure. Energy efficiency measures taking BER from G to B1 and higher end finishes.

126 m² 1980s Bungalow extended to 221 m² - Builders finish - approx €155,000-00 Inc Vat

Existing roof removed, new floor and new raised roof two story extension to the side

145 m² Bungalow extended to 287 m² - Builders finish - approx €180,000-00 Inc Vat

Approximately half of existing building untouched. Half of existing roof removed and new first floor built over. Higher than building regulations levels of insulation to new building, new boiler, solar water and plumbing for 4 new bathrooms, new utility and new kitchen.

22 m² extension - Builders finish - approx €50,000-00 Inc Vat

Existing flat roof circa 10m² removed, walls built up and new roof covering 32 m². New W/c and utility.

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