The True Value of an Architect in South Africa

Architecture is the literal foundation of building – whether it is a home or an office, or extra room or an entire floor, an architect and his or her meticulous planning lies at the very heart of the project.



The role of an architect is often misconstrued. For many, architectural services involve design and  significant feats of building, whether it be the Eiffel Tower, the Big Ben, Madison Square Garden and more. While this is the case – and often with large teams of professionals all contributing – architecture is often on a smaller, if not more important, scale. This means it is truly vital to hire a highly qualified architecture contract to ensure smooth sailing. The majority of architects apply their skills to practical and affordable residential and commercial building projects. They take your vision and use complicated software – called CAD – to put those ideas down on paper, and can also liaise with tradies and your builder to ensure the project comes in on time and on budget, and are universally qualified.

1. Architecture Project Manager

A project manager represents your interest by providing advice, liaising with and supervising other contractors involved with the building project ensuring that project aims are met ensuring that building standards are adhered to tracking the progress of the project and ensuring that the project is running both on time and on budget. Your architect, if qualified, makes for a great project manager as they are already deeply familiar with the design of the personal or commercial space, understand the needs, costs, and steps needed to complete the job to scope, time and cost. They allow for an easy, understandable go-between between you the client and your many contractors.

2. Building Audits

Building audits are part and parcel of any construction job; depending on the scope of your job, the purpose of the building, how many people or pieces of machinery it will house, and near countless other variables, you will have to ensure your propose plans meet all legal requirements. As these are often difficult to understand for the layman – and require qualified signoff – hiring a qualified contractor becomes a must. He or she will be able to liaise with you and the legal bodies, ensuring everything is above board before the job begins.

3. Commercial Architects

As the title suggests, commercial architects create designs and prepare specifications for commercial buildings, such as businesses and factories, retail stores and shopping malls, train and air terminals, private and public hospitals, the hospitality industry, and sports and leisure facilities. They do not design single-occupancy homes, which are the responsibility of residential architects in South Africa. As such, their area of expertise – and importantly training and certification – lies within this realm of architecture. If your aim is to create one of the above mentioned buildings, then a commercial architect is your contractor of choice.

4. Development Approvals

Be it commercial or private, all building and buildings require approval from the relevant local authorities. While it differs are from area to area, there are several forms of standard construction which will always require approval, including; alteration or demolition of any structure, construction of any building, a change in land or building use, the subdivision of land or erection of a wall or fence over a certain of a certain height. A trained architectural contractor will be able to easily guide you through this process, and ensure all relevant approvals have been sought before laying the first brick.

5. Heritage Architecture

Heritage architecture, or architectural conservation, is the process of maintaining or repairing architectural design integrity of buildings that mark a key period of time in human history. This might range from cathedrals to small hamlets, but they cultural and historical value remains the same; priceless. It is a critical part of preserving slices of human history, and because of this, requires a particular and highly evolved skill set with a keen understanding of the unique factors involved in hertitage architecture.

6. House Extension Architecture

House extension architecture is just that, the extension to a home. Whether a humble study or a new wing, all extensions require the use of a qualified architect to arrange the legal paperwork and approval, as well as the actual planning.

7. New Home Architecture

The planning and construction of a new home is a wonderful thing; full of unique possibilities, excitement, occasional trepidation, satisfaction and immense reward. A new home is an investment like no other, and therefore requires only the best planning, material, crew, and construction. It is vital to ensure that an expert architectural contractor is hired from the get-go, as switching contractors between the beginning and end stages involves slightly different skill sets and visions. As mentioned above, there are several aspects to consider, such as development approvals, project management, and audits. New home architecture also involves further, deeper, levels of planning – a literal from-the-ground-up approach.

8. Residential Architects

Residential architecture involves the creation of plans, the overseeing, and the construction of homes or flats, or any other abode where people will legally live. This entails the creation of living spaces which are also legally above board and will stand the test of time, specifically as building which serves as a home to one or more people. For example, a home should be planned and built for the future and not the present to ensure it remains sufficient.

9. Sustainable Design Architecture

Sustainable design architecture – a vast growing trend within the field – entails the planning, sourcing, and creation of buildings which have less of a, or even no, negative impact on the environment, both natural and manmade. This allows for sustainable living; cutting down on the cost to the planet. Sustainable design architecture can range for cutting-edge progressive designs still within their infancy, to tried-and-tested plans to ensure maximum light exposure, natural warm, and general green living.

Choose Your Architect

There are several aspects to consider before seeking quotes. Firstly, choose the correct contractor for the required job, and then factor in the scope of the job, how much design and drawing it entails, the required legal framework, the length of the job, the required materials and manpower. Once this has been weighed, you are well on your way to building your future!

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