Architects seeking to raise profile

WITH less than 5 per cent of homes designed by architects these days, the profession is looking to claw back some of the lost ground with a new campaign.

Based on a successful Sydney campaign, the project is being driven by Royal Australian Institute of Architects WA Chapter president Warren Kerr and will be launched later this year.

Mr Kerr is developing a computerised presentation on the vast number of services that architects offer and plans to make it available to the public through local councils.

“Many people do not know the details of what services architects provide,” Mr Kerr said.

“Under 5 per cent of all houses are designed by architects ... the rest are done by building designers and others in the housing industry.”

He said there were enormous benefits in involving an architect in a project from the very beginning, before a site for a home or building was even purchased.

“They need to be involved very early on, because they act on the client’s behalf to negotiate a building contract. Then they monitor the work and make sure it is done correctly,” Mr Kerr said. “Architects can also help potential buyers of established homes and those buying houses off plan … they will give you far more information about the site and the building than what you see in the glossy brochure.”

Jones Coulter Young director Richard Young said that, although architects were not absolutely necessary to create a nice home, there was a marked difference in the end product.

“If a person asked me if they need an architect to design a home I’d say no,” Mr Young said.

“But while some people want the quality of an original $10,000 oil painting, others are happy with a $300 print … it’s like comparing a Mercedes Benz to a Hyundai Excel.”

Both Mr Kerr and Mr Young noted residential housing was not the only area where ground had been lost.

Mr Kerr said project management was a service offered by architects that had since become a specialised profession in its own right.

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