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Working with an Architect

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RIAI Architect Services

Rush Library

Rush Library ‘Best Conservation/Restoration’ - 2010 Irish Architecture Awards, Architects: McCullough Mulvin Architects

“The recent history of this building was somewhat controversial so obtaining planning permission required particular sensitivity. The architects performed this task in an exemplary way. The finished design is an architectural achievement of quality. Working with old buildings always throws up unforeseen issues. The architects dealt with these as they arose in a completely professional and competent manner and in fact anticipated many so avoiding delay.”
- Client: Fingal County Council

1. Design Service (see also Project Stages) / Feasability Studies / Assisting in establishing your brief

Architects provide a full and comprehensive design service: from formulating a Brief of your requirements and producing an Initial Design, to Developed Design, Detail Design, and seeing a project realised in Construction. 

2. Applying for Planning Permission

Advising if your project requires planning permission and producing the relevant information for making an application to the local authority. You may also engage an architect to provide services in connection with planning appeals. Your architect may negotiate on your behalf with planning authorities.

3. Administrating the Building Contract & Project Management

Dealing on your behalf with the building contractor and administrating the project to ensure that it is delivered in accordance with the design and planning permission.

4. Coordinating other Consultants

Your project may require the input of specialist consultants such as a Structural Engineer or Quantity Surveyor, and your architect will coordinate their involvement.

5. Building Surveys

Conducting a full measured survey of an existing building, prepare a report and advise on the condition.

Specialist Skills and Services: In addition to the services described above, an architect may take on an additional, specialised role that requires specific expertise.

6. Conservation Skills and Protected Structures

If the building you own is ‘historic’, a ‘Protected Structure’ or in an ‘Architectural Conservation Area’ you will need the advice of an architect with skills in conservation. 

The RIAI operates an RIAI Conservation Accreditation System that recognizes differing levels of conservation expertise. You can use the ARCH-SEARCH menu on this website to search for an Architect by ‘Conservation Grade’.

You can find out about owning a Protected Structure here: What is a Protected Structure and what does it mean?

It is an offence for the owner of a Protected Structure to allow it to be endangered, or to carry out any works that could affect its character without planning permission, and the penalties are severe. Even if your building is not listed by the Planning Authority it can still be worthy of conservation and you will want to make sure that its character is not damaged in the process of any alterations or extensions you plan to carry out.

7. Building Energy Rating Audits

An architect may be qualified to undertake a Building Energy Rating Audit and issue a BER cert.

8. Interior Design

You may engage your architect to provide a full interior design service, advising on loose furniture, artworks and finishes.  An architect may design bespoke pieces of furniture and lighting.

9. Urban Design

10. Sustainable Design