try to build fast and cheap and so attract the con men, or sometimes it is just that builders can be difficult to pin down if you give them too much grief! It is best to learn a little about the complexities of building before you hire a builder, then you will not be taken in by any posers. It is part of an architect's job to set up the work so that the conditions, payment and programme are equitable to both sides and to ensure a smooth-running Contract with a satisfactory result for all.


Aren't architects for making buildings look fashionable/show off their own style?

No, there's far too many inputs from other professionals, govmt bodies, standards, regulations and straight practical considerations for any architect to be ego driven. And besides designing a building is so complex a process that style is the last thing to worry about, if one emerges it is more by default than intention. Ultimately a good architect will be recognisable by their emerging body of work, often, for large projects, squeezed out of a large office of architects each contributing their own specialisms. Most architects will have a few prime drivers of their own - often now environmental ones as architects by their nature tend to be thinking ahead.


What is a blueprint?

before computers architects worked on tracing paper and used a 'dyeline' printing method to take multiple copies. This used light sensitised paper and resulted in a characteristic blue finish and a smell of ammonia.


Aren't Architects expensive?

No, there may be a few stars in London who command prestigious fees but the majority of architects work alone or in small practices and are the GPs of the industry. Their work covers a wide range of skills and experience, they can often save you more than their fee by adding value and removing stress


Modern architecture is usually awful therefore most architects must be awful too?

Most architects chose their demanding profession long after the real execrescences of the 60's and probably because they wanted to do it better. The 'no decoration' and 'function is all' ideas of the European Modern Movement were distorted in the UK by developers and Local Authorities using that as an excuse to build cheap and badly, and usually without any architects near them to protest about it. Even now 60% of building work is carried out without an architect. That's why this website explains the work of architects so our built environment is improved.


Architecture is a closed shop?

No, although there is a protection on title there is no requirement to use an architect for any part of the building process. Training takes 7 years, so to that extent there is exclusivity as full qualification is difficult to obtain.


Builders are usually Cowboys? No - they are mostly a more honest bunch than in many commercial sectors, and highly skilled in a risky and demanding job. The problem is that people