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trainee architect question

(6 Posts)
remodelling Fri 05-Jun-15 22:19:55

I have a question please:

Does it matter if a trainee architect is doing the work? And if a trainee architect is doing the bulk of the work, should the architect you employ tell you? Also, if a trainee architect is doing most of the work, should the works be cheaper?

i hired an architect after she came to my house and discussed the project for a large scale house remodelling. I really liked her. She is very experienced, and I felt this was in her favour despite the fact she does not know my area very well and is more used to designing libraries than houses.

She told me on our second meeting that a young man in the office would also be coming along to view my house and would be involved in drawing up the designs. I ask to clarify whether she was still the architect and she said yes but that the young man was very good and more up on drawing and would be working with her. She made it sound as if the young man would be doing the drawings while she was the architect with the ideas.

I had explained to the woman architect what I wanted, and sent her pictures that I thought would help clarify. I was also very clear what I did not want (for e.g. I did not want a bathroom on the first floor). When I saw the final designs they were not what I had envisaged. There was no bathroom and other features that I had specifically said I didn't want had been included. It turned out that the information I had sent to the woman architect had not been communicated to the young man drawing up the designs. it seems he was not simply 'drawing up the designs' but actually doing them.

We finally came up with a design I was fairly happy with and three weeks ago it received planning permission. But now we are at the costing stage it turns out the design is coming in at 150,000 over budget (on a 350,000 pound budget). This means going right back to the beginning and redesigning the house to accommodate these higher costs.

I then learned - and this is the bit that irritates me - that the young man is a trainee architect, in his second year of work training after three years of architectural college. However good he may be, he does not have experience in costing, and I feel that this explains a fair number of the mistakes. Also, and this is the bit I feel most irritated by, the architect woman did not tell me this. I feel she should have told me that my house had been assigned to a trainee, that she was 'overseeing' but no longer in charge. I thought I had employed her but in fact I had employed the young man. I am now thinking of taking on project management myself as I am so annoyed.

Is this normal?

should I have been informed?

or is this the way it goes with architects?

wowfudge Fri 05-Jun-15 22:47:45

Hmm - sounds similar to what solicitors do, but - big but - the architect hasn't communicated with the trainee properly or hasn't actually taken on board what you said you wanted. Which suggests she talks the talk, but doesn't walk the walk. You did say she does libraries not houses though...

Did you put your list of things you wanted in writing? If so, there's no excuse.

I imagine an architect experienced in residential work would know the rough cost of different elements as the design was coming together too.

HeyDuggee Fri 05-Jun-15 22:50:34

Happens all the time but she should be reviewing his work before the client sees it and catch errors. Doesn't sound like she did that.

remodelling Fri 05-Jun-15 23:12:34

Is it normal to tell the client that the work will be assigned to a trainee under the architects control? for e.g. I am now looking for another architecture firm, and without prompting, i was told that the architect i liked was busy, but that he had a trainee working with him and that I could have him on my project with the man I liked overseeing him.
my lady architect did not at any point make it clear that the young man I was given was a trainee. she made it sound as if he 'helped out'. she did not make it clear that he was effectively in charge of the project. for e.g. i could not understand why i kept getting emails from the young man when i thought the woman was 'my' architect! i did not understand why he sat and gave me my design brief, while the woman sat there looking on.
and if the work is done mainly by a trainee should it be any cheaper? (the fees were the same as if she, or the other architect in his company, had been working on it themselves full time).

remodelling Fri 05-Jun-15 23:29:59

I think the problem was all down to miscommunication. maybe I wasn't very clear. on the other hand, I didn't realise I was meant to be communicating with the boy rather than the lady as she'd never made that clear to me!

And i think also that he perhaps lacked experience of costings - as a result of which he's extended the kitchen into the garden, for e.g. without realising that the additional support required for the ceiling would whack the cost up significantly (on the redesign we'll just go sideways rather than out).

Would I normally notice if a trainee is doing most of the work?
Should I be paying the same? (when I get a trainee hairdresser I pay less!).
Should I even notice if it's done well?
Do architects EVER do their own work?
Should I have been told clearly?

Rosings25 Sun 07-Jun-15 13:39:28

Although the architect was our first contact the work quickly went to the architectural technician. He has honors degree qualifications in the nuts and bolts of a building and knows the building standards manuals, keeps up with new technology etc but not the six year concept type qualification, so has not had to do the presentations and pretty pictures. He has done everything and our plans went for building warrant yesterday. I have to decide on the fittings in the next ten days so the QS can price for the tender and mortgage and in about six weeks I will have the paperwork for the mortgage agent. The technician will oversee the whole build and the architect and the firm are responsible for the standard of his work. There are other firms in the area where this work is done by newly qualified architects or those in their sandwich year.

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