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how do I explain this to My architect?

(18 Posts)
kbaby Sat 09-Jul-11 19:23:48

We have an architect drawings up plans for a loft conversion, tbh I haven't been that impressed with the service, she's been to the property approx 3 times and the rest of the contact is through email. My brief was to create 3 good size bedrooms and 1 bathroom. She did a couple of plans for us and I chose the best one. However we had 1 builder here on Monday to give us a quote and he picked up that the stairs were wrong as they wouldn't fit where she had them, plus he suggested alternative windows which would maximise useable space. I emailed her to ask for those changes to be made and said she would but would change an additional fee. Today now we've had another loft builder here who said He thinks that even though she's given 3 bedrooms etc she hasn't accounted for any of the roof space or ceiling height and in theory 2 of the rooms maybe practically useable due to roof height.

We now feel that the whole employing an architect was a waste of money as yes she's given what we asked for but no where along the line advised us on any of this which I would've expected. The builder said its all very well giving a floor plan but she should've shown us how much of that floor would be useable.

Do you think I should tell her what we've been advised. Part of me just thinks to get her to finish the plans she's done and we use a loft specialist company to do new ones if needed, but then the other part thinks the reason we paid for an architect was so that she could give is the best use of space and ideas possible.

kbaby Sat 09-Jul-11 19:26:10

Should say unuseable btw.

Chestnutx3 Sat 09-Jul-11 19:56:32

I would email her all the comments made by the builders and give her an opportunity to respond. It could be that you can't get 3 bedrooms out of one loft (must be a huge loft) and she didn't tell you that.

I think for most architects doing a loft conversion is a bit dull and she sounds like she is being a bit lazy about it.

I would say that you paid to have plans for 3 useable rooms nad a bathroom and she hasn't provided that.

jalopy Sat 09-Jul-11 20:01:26

Have to say we opted for a loft specialist company to do ours. They were very good, were able to incorporate all our requests and their final plans were easy to follow.

You must have a pretty big loft space to create 3 rooms and a bathroom. We have a large house but only have 2 good size rooms and one ensuite. We have velux windows to the front of the house, dormer at the back with juliet balcony and a modified gable end to the side of the house.

I'd be worried that your builders are finding it difficult to follow her plans.

LemonDifficult Sat 09-Jul-11 20:03:26

Call ARB - Architects Registration Board - on Monday. She's waaaaayyy out of line. Actually, she's incompetant and instead her being grateful that you've given her the chance to fix her incompetant work, she hoping to charge you more!

How much of this do you have in writing? Without wishing to be dramatic, if she refuses to fix this (for free and in full) then you can take this up with her insurers.

kbaby Sat 09-Jul-11 20:45:42

Lemon, I don't know I'm a wimp. I thought maybe my expectations had been too high but agree with others that I do think she's been lazy or maybe she's never done lofts before.
When we thought of using an architect I envisaged sitting down and discussing what we were looking for and then between us coming up with the right option but there's been none of that.

Our loft is pretty big. It's a bungalow so We should get 24 ft square space. We have the loft converted already but there are 4 small odd shaped bedrooms there and no bathroom and velux windows so We keep banging our heads on the ceiling, so we've asked for dormer windows to allow us to get further floor/ceiling space, the stairs moved and then 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom created.

LemonDifficult Sat 09-Jul-11 21:04:39

kbaby, I'm a veteran of spats with architects and construction professionals and I beg you, please stand up to her!

If she's even a couple of years out of college she's definitely done lofts before! Those, basement/garage conversions and conservatories tend to be the bread and butter of domestic architecture. Can I ask how much you've paid her?

Also, if you go to ARB and say: does this sound right? they'll let you know what to say. You don't necessarily have to go nuclear on her.

bacon Mon 11-Jul-11 12:57:47

This is basic survey stuff, as an ex-technician, it was the job I had to do was get the heights and angles before the architect did the design. She should of provided you with a couple of sections through too and these show the legal amount of head height etc.

You need sections and a basic spec for builders this is part of the initial design you can do a design without a section throu. This isnt extra cost this is basic stuff. Planning depts need sections throu for both existing and proposed anyway.

kbaby Mon 11-Jul-11 22:42:05

The only plans given were a birds eye floor plan, external view front on and external view side on.

kbaby Tue 12-Jul-11 22:36:00

We had a builder here last night for another quote and they said about the stairs too, they also said from looking at the houses on the street he can't see why planning would be objected and it will mean we have to keep going back to the planning and getting them to see sense, he said they quite often have to appeal etc and not just to go with with the council say initially. Of course if we went with them this is part of their role etc etc. What you don't know is how much of this is builder blag. Dh now though has said to stop the architect from doing any more work on the plans as he feels she hasn't given us anything a loft company couldn't have done. Ive emailed the architect to tell her to invoice us for work done and we will finish the process ourselves, also told her of the stairs issue. She's emailed me back to say stairs will fit in her opinion and the bill is the full amount. Me and Dh are now not speaking, he says we've paid for plans which we may not use and I say we've paid for her to do plans and if we don't use them that's our decision. Argh...

Pendeen Thu 14-Jul-11 15:28:30

Was she an Architect (i.e. qualified and Registered) or simply a designer (i.e. anyone calling themselves 'architectural designer', 'architectural consultant' or any one of many other, similar pseudonyms)?

If she really is an Architect then I would complain long and loudly because from what you say the service you have received is awful and certainly not up to the minimum standard of professional care.

bacon is absolutely correct in what she / he says.

kbaby Thu 14-Jul-11 22:58:05

Hm.. how can I find out. I've looked on the website but can't find anything other than about the service they offer ie a multi-disciplinary architecture and interior design practice....

kbaby Thu 14-Jul-11 23:15:13

It doesn't say anything on the website but on Thompson's they are coming up as ciiat and riba. Doea does that mean anything

Pendeen Fri 15-Jul-11 11:15:07

'CIAT' are architectural technicians i.e. not qualified Architects.

'RIBA' is the Architects' professional institute although, bizarrely membership is not compulsory and some technicians are allowed to be "Affiliate" members! The criteria for using the title is being registered with the ARB (formerly known as ARCUK).

So, if you cannot find her name on the ARB website then it's possible that she is not an Architect but a technician - or technologist as some of them are called.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this - they are well-trained and the ones I have met / worked with were very knowledgeable and perfectly capable of designing a loft conversion however if your lady is a technician / technologist then she is being very naughty calling herself an Architect.

kbaby Fri 15-Jul-11 23:28:56

Thanks pendeen,

Shes not on there so i'm guessing not a registered architect.
Im annoyed that she didnt make it clear to us or on her website that she wasnt a qualified architect. It does explain why her knowledge was lacking and she seemed vague.
I think shes been cheeky now charging so much for something she isnt qualified to do. When she quoted me the cost I was happy to pay it as I know how long architects study etc and was hoping to get the best advice but really shes now overcharging, esp when the plans are no different to those the loft company will draw up included in the cost of the conversion.

LeftoverQueen Sun 17-Jul-11 18:34:09

I am an architect and would be horrified if it took a client and a builder to point out my design was completely flawed. I would redesign for no extra fee and be very apologetic.
I think you ought to be able to persuade her quite easily to revisit the plans or refund your money. She can be prosecuted for mis-use of the title - perhaps direct her to the ARB pages and see if that makes her change her mind about charging you more money.
Good luck - let us know how you get on!

kbaby Mon 18-Jul-11 22:15:16

Thanks all for the advice, We haven't yet paid her for the work so I'll email her my dissatisfaction about the current plans not being what we requested and again the stairs not fittings and offer to pay something for the work but not all of it. We wont be able to use the plans as the front pitched dormer windows are not to the correct size requested.

LemonDifficult Mon 18-Jul-11 22:37:07

kbaby, sorry to hear this hasn't been resolved. Can I suggest that at this stage you don't offer to pay her for some of it yet? Just express your dissatisfaction and ask her what she has to say?

Give her another chance to clear herself. Then if she doesn't, consider not paying her at all - you don't have workable plans and that's what you both know you needed.

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