Never used an Architect Before?
EKJN Architects, Project Managers and Principal Designers. Bryerton House, 129 High Street, Linlithgow, EH49 7EJ. Tel: 01506 847151

If you’ve never used an architect before the whole idea can be a bit daunting. This page is intended to help answer some of the questions you may have.

What is an Architect?

Put simply, if it doesn't say 'Architect' on the label it isn't an architect.

Architectural means like an architect. So an Architectural Designer/Consultant/Technician is like an architect but isn't one. Architects are by law properly qualified, registered, regulated, continually trained and properly insured. The law governing the registration of Architects exists to safeguard you, the client.

The use of the title ‘architect’ is protected actively under the Architects’ Act 1997 by Architect's Registration Board (ARB). If you are in any doubt whether your advisor is a registered architect or a chartered member of the RIAS or RIBA, contact the ARB (www.arb.org) or the RIAS membership department. Tel: 0131 229 7545.

Architects who, for whatever reason, are removed from the ARB's register may resort to using the title Architectural. If your designer isn't using the title 'Architect' you should ask why.

Before a person can be called an Architect he or she will have completed a seven-year course in
the design, specification and erection of buildings - including several years of real experience - and will have passed the professional practice examination which is the final stage of the training.

This permits entry to the list of UK Architects held by the Architects’ Registration Board (ARB),
and use of the title ‘Architect’. Thereafter, application can be made to one or both of the chartered professional bodies listed below which entitle members to use the term ‘chartered architect’ and the following initials. ARIAS / FRIAS: Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland. RIBA: Royal Institute of British Architects.

A chartered architect is obliged to uphold the reputation of the architectural profession and fellow professionals; to carry out work on behalf of clients honourably, independently and efficiently; and to declare any interest which might conflict with the status of an independent consultant architect. Registered architects are required to keep their professional skills up to date by regular training and are required to carry professional indemnity insurance so that their clients always have a safety net to rely on if their architect makes a costly mistake.

What is an Architectural Technician?

Architectural Technicians are specialists in the application of technology to architecture, building design and construction. Technicians are an integral part of an architectural design service, working alongside architects, engineers, surveyors and other professionals within the construction industry.

Like most practices EKJN sometimes employ highly qualified Technicians to assist the Architects in their work. All our work, however, is fully supervised and monitored by registered and chartered Architects.

What is an Architectural Technologist?

Architectural Technologists provide architectural design services and solutions, and are specialists in providing a link between concept and construction. Chartered members of the CIAT may practice on their own or with fellow chartered Architects or engineers and other members of the construction industry.


What is an Architectural Consultant?

The word ‘Architectural’ is not governed by the law that controls the title ‘Architect’. Designers calling themselves ‘Architectural’ specialists may be highly experienced professionals, but some are not and clients will need to make their own checks. Some may be former architects who have been removed from the register. Others may be students of architecture who have not yet not completed their training. If in doubt contact the ARB or RIAS.

Why should I use an Architect?

A client centred service, value for money, freedom from worry, and help with achieving an imaginative design are just some of the reasons why using a chartered architect makes sense. The RIAS (Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland) have produced an excellent leaflet that answers this question.

Click here to view this leaflet

What are your fees?

An architect’s job is to design an original and individual building for each client. Each project is unique with a different site, a different set of criteria and a different budget. Some clients require more of an architect’s services than others. For these reasons Architects’ fees vary from project to project.

An architect's fees are a small part of the overall cost of a building project and the construction cost of a building is a small part of the overall cost of owning, running and maintaining the building throughout its life. Our mission is to save you more than the cost of our fees by adding extra market value to the building through good design, by reducing the running costs of the building through careful detailing and by reducing the cost of constructing the building through good project management. Clients who attempt to save money by using inexperienced designers can find that the downside is substantially higher costs throughout the rest of the process. Don't take risks with your investment. Good advice is worth paying for.

For small, complicated projects the fees can be 16% of the construction cost or more. For larger projects with a straight-forward content the fees may be 3% or less.

For most domestic projects the fees for a full architectural service are between 10% and 14% of the construction cost, with discounts available for a reduced package of services. Fixed fees can be agreed for most small commissions.

The Royal Institute of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) used to publish guidance on fees. Although no longer published most architects still refer to the old guidance as a starting point for calculating their fees. It's never easy to calculate the cost of designing something unique, something that's never been designed before, but somehow we manage to do it!


What Local Authority Approvals will I need?

Most people know that they need Planning permission before they can build (although some buildings don’t). However, some people aren’t aware that they also need Building Warrant approval – an entirely separate department in the Council. Some projects also need Listed Building Consent, Fire Officer approval, Liquor Licensing approval and so on. EKJN can give you all the advice you need.


I don’t really understand technical drawings, can you help?

We often get asked by clients to make a model of their building. This really helps to visualise how the finished scheme will look, how it relates to the surroundings, and how the internal spaces will work. A physical model is also great for explaining your proposals to interested parties, like neighbours, or community groups. We can also create 3D computer models in addition to the usual technical drawings if requested.


What if something goes wrong?

Architects are required to carry Professional Indemnity (PI) Insurance to cover their professional work. PI insurance ensures that an architect can always afford to compensate his/her client if necessary if he/she makes a serious mistake. It isn't a warranty scheme - you need NHBC or similar for that - but it provides a degree of certainty that things can be sorted out in the event that something goes badly wrong. PI cover varies from £250,000 minimum up to £5 million or more, depending on a practice’s workload. Details of EKJN’s PI cover can be provided on request.