Architects role: Operating within the context of the various relevant laws and legislations

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While architects are visionaries who love to push the creative boundaries when designing homes, a big part of our job involves following rules.

Part of the role of an architect is to have an understanding of the law and how legal requirements affect our clients and their projects. This includes everything from planning requirements and construction certificate issues to administering a construction contract on-site between the owner and builder.

The rules exist to ensure the homes we design are safe and don’t have a negative impact on the surrounding environment or the people who live nearby. They are also important to protect all parties from financial loss.

When you have help from your architect to follow the rules, you will end up with a home that complies with local area requirements. You will also find it less stressful if something does happen to go wrong because you have followed the right processes along the way.

Take a look at what the role of an architect is when it comes to rules and regulations:

The planning stage

Planning a brand new home or major renovation requires an understanding of legislations and planning codes, Local Environmental Plans (LEPs) and Development Control Plans. All this assists in the Development Application stage with planners and neighbours.

The planning process is important to ensure your home matches the look and feel of your area and that it doesn’t impact anybody else’s privacy. Every council has different rules and it is the responsibility of the architect to be across them.

As an architect, it makes it a lot easier to stand your ground and get plans passed when you know what you’re talking about. If your architect is well versed in local regulations, they will be able to debate an unreasonable objection on your behalf. The fact that they know what they are talking about also commands greater respect from the planners. The result of this can be a more streamlined approval process.

Preparing for construction

When you build, you need construction approval as well as a contract with your builder.

Construction Certificate approvals require a thorough understanding of the Building Regulations, Building Codes, and the Australian Standards. It helps for your architect to know what can and can’t be built as they enter the design and development stage so that no time is wasted revisiting plans.

Occasionally, exemptions to the Building Regulations are sought. This requires the designer to provide a good case to why this should be granted. If your architect is well prepared, life will be easier for the building surveyor who grants the exemptions and you will have fewer setbacks as you progress to the building stage.

Then there is your contract with your builder. Not every architect does this but at Zaher, we like to make sure you are signing a reasonable agreement.

Once building has commenced, the architect is still involved. An architect who understands their role in the built environment will have good knowledge of the laws surrounding building contracts and construction law.

The role of an architect who truly cares about their clients is to monitor the progress of the build against the contract documents. As the home/property owner, it can be difficult to know whether your building is on track or if they are doing a good job. If the architect has a good command of construction laws and processes, there will be more respect from the builders.

With that being said, the builders we recommend at Zaher Architects are very reliable and follow legislation to the letter. We have used them on many projects and have always found them to be trustworthy.


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