Home Service FAQswylieshanks architects - homeservice

what is the homeservice?

how does it work?

schedule of rates

frequently asked questions

about us

the homeservice questionnaire

Frequently asked questions

1. My friend says he knows an architectural technician who works cheaply from home, for low fees and with no VAT.   Why shouldn’t I just do it that way?

Check his qualifications and contractual commitment.  Ensure he has professional indemnity insurance and the resources to perform - discuss what happens during illness or holidays. 

Check that your lender is satisfied about his competence to certify when required.  Have an answer for HM Customs and Revenue if they ask you about the payments.  Make a risk assessment – you are taking a chance with perhaps your single biggest asset.

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2. A friend knows a builder who is really good and will do the drawings 'for nothing' - what’s the catch?

Probably only 'for nothing' if he gets the job.  Since you will not be able to make a true comparison on his price by tendering, you can be sure his overheads like drawings will be included.   Competitive tendering regularly proves that the architect’s fee is much less than the difference between tenders, and you can always ask the friend’s builder to quote.  With the direct builder route, you need to accept that design quality, programme, contract terms and cost of any change are all probably outwith your control, and you cannot make true comparisons on the quoted price.

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3. I don’t want an architect to inspect the works – just to do the drawings.  My builder is NHBC registered and my financier is happy with that. How can you help?

We tailor our service to your needs, which can restrict our input to selected stages. Site inspection can therefore be omitted at your discretion, but we shall not be able to certify completion or compliance of the finished works.

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4. I want to buy a kit house and build it myself. Do I need an architect?

You probably don’t require our normal services, but we can offer part service e.g. Planning application or site inspection services on an hourly rate. An Initial Report would give you some guidance.

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5. I’m not sure an architect is the only skill I need – who else is involved?

We shall advise if the project requires other input.  There are various other specialist skills that we can call upon and appoint through our office on your behalf, including interior designers, structural engineers, service engineers, quantity surveyors and landscape architects.

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6. A friend said that their architect was rather arrogant, and created a self-indulgent building design. How can I avoid that?

Sometimes grand designs are only realised through self-belief, single mindedness and determination. However, the homeservice is provided for the client to achieve their goals – we seek quality in design and construction, but not at the expense of your budget and programme, which will be agreed.

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7. Do you do all your drawings on computer?

Yes – but in 2-dimensions usually.  We can also arrange for 3-dimensional visualisations if you wish, or should they be necessary for Planning or marketing purposes.

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8. What benefit does a medium sized architectural practice bring?

We are practice members of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, and are registered with Constructionline, the government initiative to improve quality standards in the construction industry.  We carry P.I. insurance to £5 million for any project, but avoid reliance on that by keeping up-to-date with all technical publications through subscription-based technical libraries, specification system and an RIBA quality management system which is annually externally audited to ISO 9001 by the British Standards Institute..  We are big enough to cope, but small enough to care.

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9. What exactly do you provide for the fee?

The stages in the Schedule of Rates give a brief description of our activities, which is based on the very detailed RIBA plan of work, a copy of which can be seen on request.

The service is comprehensive for provision of advice and drawings to achieve your project, and if the 'site works' stage is required it includes site inspection at strategic intervals.

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10. What does the service not include?

In order to deliver a full service at our fixed rate, we need to progress through the work stages in an organised way.  You will be asked to sign an agreement form at each stage to approve the designs at that time – changes later may attract additional costs or delay.

At site stage, we do not have a frequent presence – simply strategic inspections during the works and perhaps some 'troubleshooting' visits. A Clerk of Works can be provided, if justified by the nature of the project.

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11. I want a lot of changes to my home, but no mess.  Is that possible?

Although a degree of protection is provided by the contractor, you need to be realistic.  Some builderswork and associated services alterations are disruptive, and dust and noise are pervasive.  Reasonable access is also required at times suitable to the contractors programme.  You should anticipate where they will be involved, and remove and protect furniture and belongings to your own satisfaction.

If you have specific requirements or working restrictions, it may be possible to include these in the building contract conditions.

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12. Do I need insurance?

For alteration and extension work, you usually need to maintain your current property and contents insurance, and advise your insurer that works are commencing. For detached new build, the contractor will normally be responsible for insurance until practical completion. However, you should take specialist advice on these matters from your insurance adviser.

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13. Do I need a lawyer?

There are lots of things you may need your lawyer to advise on, including property boundaries; rights of access; development restrictions in your title deeds; superior consents; adjusting title deeds or loan documents/securities etc. This is best done at the outset to avoid problems later.

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