Below are some important points that are well worth knowing when considering designing or building a home.
- You require architectural drawings to build a home: They include technical drawings, calculations and measures for construction, mechanical, electrical, drainage, plumbing, structural and engineering. To construct a home successfully you require all of this.
- Architectural drawings are what a builder uses to build your home and to know what materials are required, in what quantities and lengths. It is an essential part of the building process. The architect plays a vital role in the overall look, quality, function and ambience of the house. This is your home and it is paramount to make sure it is designed to the optimum level. A creative architect with experience can improve your home dramatically. They can make it cooler, more comfortable to live in, more functional and practical. They can help reduce costs, suggest materials and offer energy saving ideas. They can produce a ‘wow’ factor and give you the individuality you may want. The design stage is as important as the construction stage and time should be allocated to work with the architect to achieve an optimum level of design.
- The design of electrical systems, drainage, plumbing, structure, materials and all details of your house construction are carefully listed and detailed so the builders, electricians and plumbers know what to install and where.
- To apply for legal permission to build your home, at the official government office; you must have architectural drawings done by a Thai licenced architect and a Thai licenced engineer. They have to supply their names, signatures and licence details. Permission will not be granted without this. In fact this is the same in most countries too.
- The cost of construction can only be accurately calculated when all architectural, construction and engineering drawings are completed; and all specifications and material choices are known. It is impossible to know accurate costs for construction until all of this is completed. An approximate guide can be given based on industry standards and the property information provided by the client. However it is only a guide and cannot be accurate. All homes vary in cost and there is no exact ‘set’ cost per square meter as it varies according to architectural drawings, all specifications, location, site conditions, and complexity of build and material choices.
- Architects fees vary according to the licence level of the architect, their skills, their experience, popularity and creativity; as well as the complexity and size of project. In Thailand architects fees average around 5-7% of the project budget or projected cost. It is a mistake to compare architects fees without understanding how they charge, who they are and what their experience is. Experienced high level architects may charge 7%-10% of the project value and that is because they are highly sort after, creative, have years of experience and are knowledgeable. One who charges 5% may be less so. But it does not mean the one at 7%-10% is expensive. It only means their skill level and experience could well be more, so their price is correctly in line with this. It is why you have world renowned architects paid millions of dollars by successful companies to design for them.
A good architect may cost more but he may well produce a much higher level of creativity, better quality design and use of space; and could well save you money in construction through their experience and knowledge. You can compare architects in their style as like artists they all have their individual identity. But it is a mistake to compare fees without knowing their portfolios and experience levels. In Thailand there are various levels of licence accorded to architects experience, skills and what they are allowed to design.
- Architectural drawings cannot be rushed and are something that requires time and patience. For an average home in Thailand, to complete architectural drawings can be approximately 8-20 weeks from the confirmation by the owner of acceptance of preliminary design stage. This is when the owner confirms they are happy with the overall design and layout. Once confirmed, then all the technical, engineering, mechanical, electrical and construction drawings have to be completed. It varies according to the architect, how many people are working on the project and what the project is. Also naturally you may make changes during the process which adds to the time taken. Architectural design is not something to rush. Time must be allocated for this important process.
- Normally payments are in stages and paid over the course of the architectural works.
- On completion of architectural stage, you should have all you need to apply for permission to build the home, or project and to attain construction estimates from builders. You do require the licence details of the architect and engineer which they will provide; as well as signed, professionally created sets of architectural drawings and engineering drawings written in Thai. Construction contractor’s estimates will vary according to their size, professionalism, what they provide within the quotation, the materials used and their experience. It is of the utmost importance to know the contractors experience and what they supply within their quotation.
- Construction contractors vary in skills, experience, quality of service and what they offer. It is vital before choosing a builder to ask questions and do due diligence. By doing so you can reduce the chance of problems occurring and also maybe reduce costs. Contractor's quotes will vary. Just because one is more expensive than another does not necessarily mean they are making more profit. It may be they are providing you with a much more comprehensive service, and it may be; that they are in fact providing you with what you do require to build successfully without problems, over costs etc. Many do not provide project management or someone overseeing the project; which is vital for a successful build. Project mangers cost money so it maybe one reason why they are more expensive.
In construction it is unwise to make decisions based primarily on cost. It can be a big and costly mistake, far outweighing what you would have spent had you chosen a more professional and higher priced builder. Cheap can mean exactly this; including poor quality materials, low quality workmanship, inferior products, worthless guarantees, unfinished stages of build, no insurance and poor supervision. You need to see what each company provides within their quote and carefully chose. Trust and good communication are vital; as well as confidence in knowing the company has successfully completed homes for clients. A good reputation is very important.
Some of the questions to ask yourself and the building contractor:
- Do they provide project insurance in your name and theirs ?
- What guarantees do they offer ?
- Are they a registered company and have an office ?
- How long have they been in business for ?
- Can they supply references from previous clients ?
- If you find a company that is responsive and have a track record; can supply testimonials and provides a proper professional service then talk to them. Good relationships built on mutual trust are worth so much and can save you so much money and problems.
- Does their construction contract, list exactly what they are going to do and within what time frame; and is it sufficient to protect you and clearly lay out all that is agreed and provided ? Many house build contracts can be at least 15-20 pages long to protect both parties and explain clearly what is agreed.
- The materials lists should be attached to the contract as too should the architectural drawings.
- Is the project sufficiently supervised by an experienced construction person ?
- Is communication easy and available via telephone and e-mail ?
I hope this is helpful information. If you wish to contact an architect who can help contact us now