A little while back I posted a video blog explaining my design approach to a current project on a difficult block: A Californian bungalow renovation and restoration. This tired old house needed some love. Decades of neglect had taken its toll. My clients engaged me to breathe new life into it for them, and with that realise their dream home. The original video is embedded at the end of this post, and covers in detail the issues that needed to be overcome, and how my design solves these.
For today: an update. I was out on site last week, part of my ongoing supervision of the construction process. How often I visit the site depends on what stage the construction is at . On average though I am on site once every 2 weeks, for an hour sometimes a bit more.
I love being on site, seeing my creations come to life is what it is all about for me. I stood there with a huge smile, reflecting back to many months earlier when this project began, with my imagination running wild with possibilities. This flurry of ideas made their way to my sketchbook to explore them further. Those of which showed potential, I then drew and modelled on the computer, developing the ideas and going into finer detail. Regular meetings with my clients in amongst all of this ensured I had all their needs met, and could make any necessary changes. Fast forward again to today, and after seeing it for months on my computer screen, I am now looking at the frame showing the various spaces and forms; pure bliss.
So what is my purpose of being on site to overlook the construction process? Put most simply I am ensuring my clients are getting what they paid for. Whilst on site I’m checking that the builder isn’t cutting corners. That what was designed is what is being built. Too many people think to save money at this stage and not have their architect involved. Yes it costs money to have your architect supervise, but it will cost you so much more if you don’t. If your architect is not supervising your project from start to finish: your costs will go up and the quality will go down. An architect making regular site visits will pick up any mistakes early, before they cost big dollars to correct, and keep a close eye on quality and timeframes. It is they who worked out how the house is built, and they who have the construction and design expertise to ensure that what was designed is what is being built. Think of an architect as your quality assurance, and cost controller.
Things go wrong on site, as I’ve said in previous blog posts, buildings are very complicated and not everything goes to plan. An architect will however find a work around to these inevitable problems. It is about knowing your limits. If you have no construction knowledge, how would you know if your project was being built correctly? You are spending hundreds of thousands of your hard earned dollars, don’t risk it.
Soon the window frames will be in and the building will be safe from the elements. At which point the interior work begins, plasterboard, cabinetry etc. Exciting times ahead for this little Californian bungalow. How I wish it were mine.