I'm currently looking to have some house designs by an Architect with planning permission and support during construction after. Approached some Architects that plainly stated they had enough on at the moment so couldn't take on further work. Advised them it's one project initially, two other smaller projects thereafter i.e. a substantial amount of work. Have one engaged and it's early days but already I'm getting the feeling we're being put on the long finger. Preliminary designs promised before Christmas, then early January.
When I followed up recently, I was told they've a few other projects completing soon, once they're out of the way then they'll start my project. It's a already early in the process and I've already drafted a response to tell them forget it I'll go elsewhere. Is anyone else having same experience with Architects/Engineers at the moment?
Yes! We engaged an architect in Sept 2020 for a new build and we finally got PP at the start of Dec. While we're happy with the design, everything was a slog - missed deadlines, uncontactable, simple things ommitted from the planning submission which resulted in delays. From looking at his social media accounts, he has been busy doing work for various govt departments and I guess our job was low priority as a result. I think it's just the way it is at the moment with so much work available although I wouldn't expect too many to be as unprofessional as our guy.
We've ditched him for a new company for the remainder of the build, they're a bit better so far but I'm still expecting some delays. If you're switching, make sure you get someone new before getting rid of the first architect
Thanks for the reply. Just has all the hallmarks of early 2000's; if we ditch him he'll pick up two more clients tomorrow so no real urgency.
What are the two smaller projects? Are they guaranteed to be part of the contract at this stage. Or is it a case of "if you like him".
You're perfectly entitled to do that, but can't it's a substantial amount of work.
Did you have a schedule agreed with them? In writing. Deadlines sliding is normal, especially on small jobs. But a week or two tops, and would be clearly communicated. A month or two late and they haven't started. Schedule a a meeting, make sure they know its serious. If they are not bothered, they are not interested in the job.
In all fairness, planning permission for a single dwelling over 4 months has be low priority. The fees for that were probably a few grand. average it over 4 months, and its not a lot per week.
Sept 2020 to Dec 2021 - more like 14-15 months!!
Even worse. Lets say the fees for planning were 6k. That's 400 a month. Or about an hour a week. If he didn't have other projects to focus on, he'd be on the dole.
I'm not sure what your point is?
You appeared to be complaining that the guy was busy with other jobs and yours wasn’t a priority.
Im just pointing out that at c.1 hr a week if could never be a priority. The more condensed you can make a design/planning process. The more focus and priority you get. Something for the OP and others to consider.
"The more condensed you can make a design/planning process." - how do you do this when the architect is the one causing the delays? We tried to agree deadlines with him and he'd miss them; not return calls; etc.
Get another architect. If they can't make plans for you at this stage, how well do you think they'll support you during the build phase?
We have - the new guys are a good bit better. They haven't hit every deadline or anything but at least they're contactable
Get used to shifting deadlines with a build! But at least you have someone contactable.
Hello, thank you for you reply - Other projects are two houses that require substantial work, pretty much blank canvas. Not included in current agreement, you're correct, it's a case of 'if I like them'. But at the same time (and I know from my own career), potential follow on works from one client is always chased. Deadlines were agreed and I fully accept timelines change/lapse for a number of reasons. I do it myself, but I keep a client informed is the my main point.
Like you said, meeting held and air cleared.
Follow up work is absolutely a value worth chasing, and you can leverage it. But as the same time, maybe future work is only worth a promise.
Completely agree re:deadlines. have a talk, be firm. Regardless of proje size. A contract is a contract