30 November 2020

Essential questions to ask your architect before starting a project

When you’re bringing an architect on board for a building project, no matter how big or small, there are a few essential questions that you should ask them before committing.

Make sure to speak to a few different architects before deciding who to go with. By asking them all the same questions, you’ll be better able to directly compare them and decide who’s best for the job at hand.

Do you have experience with this type of project?

Finding out whether an architect has worked on a similar type of project before is extremely beneficial when choosing who to go with.

While one architect’s fees may be lower, they may be less experienced in the required area than others. In this instance, you might benefit from paying more for the specialist expertise.

You should also ask to see examples from the architect’s portfolio of similar projects, and for references that you can follow up on.

How do you charge?

Not all architects charge the same way. Make sure you know what to expect from your architect’s fee structure.

Find out exactly what is included in the basic services, what would incur additional costs, and how the architect would deal with any unexpected costs.

It’s also worth clarifying whether the budget includes VAT, as this can make a huge difference in the quote.

What is the proposed timeline?

It’s always worth knowing roughly how long a project will take, though there should always be some leeway for unexpected issues.

Again, this is a good way to find out more about your architect. If you speak to one architect who quotes a much longer or shorter timeframe, ask for details as to why they think it will take this long. From the size of the team working on the project to the architect’s current workload, there are many reasons why you might receive a different answer from different practices, and these could inform your final decision.

What will you require from the architect throughout the project?

Some architects are more hands-on than others, handling all aspects of admin and communication between contractors.

If you’re busy or simply happy to delegate the project admin, this is the perfect solution. However, if you’d like to be heavily involved in the process throughout, this type of architect might not be for you.

It’s also worth asking what input you will be required to make for design decisions, and when, so you can make yourself available.

Who will be working on the project team?

It’s often the case that when you first meet with an architect, they aren’t the person that will actually end up working on your project.

Find out exactly who you will be working with, including any third parties and contractors. Making sure that you like and trust the people on your team is extremely important, especially for long-term builds.

Work with James Brindley of Design Haus

I pride myself in being the sole point of contact for my clients, so they always know exactly who to talk to at any stage of the project. I’ll be there from day one right through to project completion, answering questions and providing solutions whenever you need them.

If you’d like to work with a conscientious, hands-on architect, get in touch with me today.

10 August 2020

Working with an architect to build a swimming pool

A swimming pool is one of the most popular items on the dream home checklist, with indoor pools being particularly popular with Brits—understandably!

If you’re considering adding a swimming pool to your home, partnering with an architect is a great way to ensure that your pool meets all your requirements, looks great and adds value to your property.

Swimming pool design and installation steps

Here’s a rough outline of the steps required to take your pool from a dream into a reality.

  • Concept

  • Design specification

  • Planning permission

  • Measurement

  • Excavation

  • Preparation of subsoil to settle the pool

  • Placing the pool structure

  • Installation of pumps, filters, heaters, lights, etc.

  • Tiling around the pool

Of course, each pool is different, so the process may differ slightly. Fortunately, an experienced architect knows exactly what needs to be done and when.

What to consider when designing your swimming pool

First of all, it’s important to figure out exactly what you want, and where you’re going to put it.

While you might already have an idea of what you’d like, hiring an architect to design your pool and oversee construction means that all necessary considerations will be taken into account from the very beginning of the project.

Here are some key considerations when deciding on the final design of your pool.

Intended use

Before getting bogged down in the details, you first need to consider the intended use of the pool. This will help to determine its size, shape, location, material and any additional features.

If you’re just looking for somewhere to take a quick dip or relax, you probably don’t need a full-size swimming pool. A plunge pool or even a hot tub may suit your needs.

In contrast, if you plan to use your pool for swimming and exercise, you should consider a larger pool or, where space is tight, a smaller pool with a water jet that allows you to swim in place against a current.

Indoor or outdoor

Your choice of an indoor or outdoor pool might be predetermined by the space you have available, the weather, or the landscape of your property. Whichever you choose, a south-facing pool is the best option to make the most of the sunshine.

Outdoor pools offer a wonderful place to relax and cool down in the summer but they can  require a lot of cleaning and maintenance. Indoor pools are much more versatile, as they can be used in any weather, but they have higher construction and running costs.

Planning permission

It’s highly likely that you will require planning permission for your pool, and these restrictions may determine the location and size of your pool.

It’s essential that you get the correct permissions before commencing construction, otherwise you could face a hefty fine. As the project lead, this is something that your architect will take care of for you, so you don’t need to worry about it.

Pool construction

Pools can be made from a variety of materials, each with their own benefits in terms of durability, aesthetics and price.

Tiled or ceramic pools are very durable and look great, but they can be costly. Block and liner pools are a cheaper alternative but they pose a puncture risk, while concrete pools are quick and easy to manufacture but require a lot of maintenance.

Whether you choose a sloped or flat-bottomed pool may also affect the choice of construction material, as they require different installation techniques.

See your pool design in virtual reality

If you choose to work with Design Haus on your swimming pool construction project, you will be able to see exactly what your pool will look like in situ using state-of-the-art virtual reality.

You can walk around with the environment to see how different materials and lighting solutions affect the final look and feel. I can even show you how your pool will look at different times of day and in changing weather conditions, so you can experience everything except the feel of the water on your skin.

To find out more about how I can support your swimming pool construction project, get in touch and I’ll be happy to discuss your ideas.


Design Haus Architecture
5 Portland Road
West Bridgford 
Nottingham NG2 6DN




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