Advertisement
If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on hello@boards.ie for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact hello@boards.ie

What are reasonable expectations from an architect?

Options
  • 15-05-2023 7:32pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 81 ✭✭


    Long story short, we are looking at an extension and energy upgrade to existing house.

    We set the brief as including knowing about all possible interventions into the existing house. We have considered a heat pump and some of the questions are if we need new rads, where will they go, will we need new floors if they need to be broken up etc or, will the existing pipe work suffice for a heat pump and things like this. Similarly, we have limited storage so we were keen to know where the internal heat pump plant could go without losing existing storage.

    Effectively we are getting no-where with the architect and it seems really like we end up having to pay for the full design, to etc planning and get builders to then get answers on the technical side of things. We had an M&E consultant recommended by the architect, but I got suspicious on the sizes of the heat pumps being recommended and a few other things that just didn't get answered about why they were being sized that way and so on and so on.

    I appreciate there should be other professionals that can answer specific questions, but we are not really getting anywhere on heat pump design and install insight and I just wondered that when it comes to heating tech, what are the reasonable expectations of an architect? Does it begin and end with "we are putting in heat pumps everywhere, so they must work out well"?

    Further, we probably have to meet the NZEB standards for extension and it seems very much like its just "we will see when we complete it" if we hit the legally required B2 which - just to a layman - seems a bit of a gamble after a 350k expense etc.

    If its unreasonable to expect an architect to know exactly what has to be done (even including where the fan would be located etc) I should stop pushing, but I want to know really whether its fair enough or not to expect an architect to be able to have good insight into this.



Comments

  • Subscribers Posts: 41,415 ✭✭✭✭sydthebeat


    first off, im saying this as an architectural technician, whos main professional education and existence is to understand and analyze the technical aspects of architecture.

    'architectural design' is the main raison d'etre of an architect. There are many out there who have a functional knowledge of the technical aspects of building, but a lot don't. Most architects in my experience do not know the ins and outs of the technical aspects of building, because, since 2008 especially, the technical aspects of building have ramped up exponentially.

    we probably have to meet the NZEB standards for extension and it seems very much like its just "we will see when we complete it" if we hit the legally required B2 which

    this line is very worrying. the very first thing the designer should know is what regulations need to be complied with from their design, and following that, how to comply with them. They may not know the exact u value a wall needs to meet, or what air tightness level has to be met, but they should at least have enough knowledge to tell you what the path to compliance is. Whether that's by services they provide in-house, or if not, by external engagements. its absolutely not good enough to be given a "we'll wait and see" answer to this. Is this professional providing you with final certification on completion? if so, they would want to be a hell of a lot more confident than "wait and see"

    ive seen other professionals get a lot wrong as well. ive seen M+E consultants provide preliminary Part L assessments which have been very incorrect in their compilation. Ive seen structural engineers not know how to prevent thermal bridges at openings.



  • Registered Users Posts: 45,974 ✭✭✭✭muffler




  • Registered Users Posts: 81 ✭✭happyplants


    Thanks, yes its very much along the worrying lines. Any question about real impact (e.g. the real likely electricity use of a heat pump) are met by generalisms. Actually the biggest red flag was when I was querying the amount of draw for a heat pump I was told solar and the heat pump would up the BER. Fair enough. I get that, but it doesn't up it in any way that addressed the underlying question about electricity draw and its relation to fabric. It took about five mins to explain at least from my point of view that a solar based BER gain doesn't tell me anything about the fabric of my house or likely heating need in winter etc. Time to fire I think.



  • Subscribers Posts: 41,415 ✭✭✭✭sydthebeat


    to be fair i wouldn't expect the architect to know the expected electrical loading required for a heat pump, though if he was tuned in / experienced he could have related the expected energy requirement from the expected BER rating ie B2 is approx 110 kw/m2/yr, so lets assume your completed house is 200 sqm thats a primary energy demand of approx 22,000 kwhr/yr.

    as far as i understand, heat pump designers will have a rule of thumb of a certain amount of watts per m2, depending on the BER. Theyre supposed to do SR 50 calculation's which will size up the heat pump, and that takes into account the expected room looses, emitter outputs in watts, heat loss indicator (HLI, from the BER) design room temps etc. As you can see its very technical and i wouldn't expect an architectural designer to be on top of this stuff, if theyre not dealing with it all the time.

    what you require, i called a preliminary Part L report. This will take into account the proposed works to both new and existing, and can either assess a given specification, or provide a required specification, to reach a certain target..... be that B2 rating, A rating, HLI below 2.0 for HP grant etc. You may also require it in order to provide a valid commencement notice. im not sure why your architect dint say this to you.

    that being all said... this part of the brief:

    We set the brief as including knowing about all possible interventions into the existing house. We have considered a heat pump and some of the questions are if we need new rads, where will they go, will we need new floors if they need to be broken up etc or, will the existing pipe work suffice for a heat pump and things like this. Similarly, we have limited storage so we were keen to know where the internal heat pump plant could go without losing existing storage.

    is really only answerable by the professional who carries out the preliminary Part L report. Even at that, i wouldn't be able to tell you on site, on first view, whether you need need heating pipes throughout for rads. The 'designer of the heating system' would have to answer that question for certain,bit at least youd know where youd get your answer from.



Advertisement