What’s incredible as I go about my work is the level of apprehension and fear the general public have over dealing with officialdom in the building process. Whether it’s the worry over what the planner will let you do, the conservation officer over forcing you to do specific things or whether a Building Control Officer will raise concerns (luckily the last option will never occur in ireland ;-) )
What you need to realise is that by appointing a trained professional you are employing someone who deals with the red-tape on a daily basis, someone who relishes the ‘discussions’ with those in officialdom and someone who speaks the same language as those in Local Authority. And by a ‘trained professional’ who has training and experience in these areas I obviously mean a registered RIAI architect.
What is interesting however (when he/she is given the trust and authority to do so), the architect is seen (by the Local Authority) as someone with the best qualifications to produce a sensitive and suitable solution to a project; a solution that fulfills all the planning guidelines and conforms to the local development plan.
It’s only recently I have realised exactly what this means whilst working on a Protected Structure (Listed in UK); I am not being forced into doing anything – I have been given the trust as a suitably qualified professional (Conservation Accredited) to analyse the current situation, document the findings and then give proposals that I feel should be implemented. Because the Council is working of the same ‘Hymn sheet’ as me (most Councils have highly qualified Conservation/Heritage officers), the proposals are seen as sensible and will be adopted. The same process (almost) holds for design and planning; the trick sometimes however is getting the client to fully understand the house and planning guidelines first.
Anyway, the thrust of this post is to not be frightened of the red-tape, your architect is well able to deal with any problem that occurs. So obviously you need to firstly ensure that you appoint a registered architect and then to trust him/her with their advice.
And as Jack Carter in ‘Get Carter’ says: “I do this for a living” – Boof!