Do I need an architect?

Not necessarily; in the UK, unlike many countries around the world, the function of an architect is not protected, meaning anyone can design a building. There are many draughts people and architectural designers and technologists about who, whilst not being architects, are perfectly capable of designing buildings. However, there are many benefits to appointing a fully qualified architect, the first of which is that they are regulated and can be held accountable should they fall short of the standards required by the ARB’s code of conduct. Also, the very fact that they are qualified, and on the ARB’s register of architects, shows that they are competent, and have the ability to undertake the work, whereas an architectural designer, draughts person, or other such designer, may not have the skills required to perform that tasks you need them to perform. Employing an architect who is on the register (you can not be on the ARB’s register if you have not gained the necessary qualifications, and if you are calling yourself an architect whilst not being on the register you are breaking the law, as the title ‘architect’ is protected by law) means that the risks will be managed as architects are required to carry appropriate insurances thereby protecting the client in the event that anything should go wrong, such as – the building not complying with building regulations, delays to the build resulting in financial loss and design defects requiring costly rectification.

 

Even though anyone can perform the function of an architect, protection of the title of architect allows clients to identify those that are architects and those that are not. This is an important and valued commodity as evidenced by the fact that “the online Register is searched nearly 29,000 times every month.” Architects have also been through years of training to learn how to design spaces that work, which other designers may not have been trained to do. So, it’s up to you if you wish to employ a fully qualified professional who can be held up to a rigorous set of standards, or wish to give your local architectural designer or draughts person a go at producing the designs you require.