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Working With Your Architect Remotely

Did you know that working with an architect remotely is possible? We’ve been working remotely with our clients successfully over the past two months and we want to let you know how it can be done so that you’ll have the confidence that we can be of service to you.

What work can we do remotely?

We can still carry out most of our usual architectural services and over the past couple of months we’ve been carrying out feasibility studies, pre-applications, planning applications, building regulation/tender packages, tender analysis, interior design, working with other professional consultants and even site surveys and visits while complying with social distancing measures.

Most of our work can be achieved remotely which is why transitioning from office-based working to a virtual one has been a very smooth process.

What can’t we do remotely?

Understandably, we can no longer meet face to face for meetings unless we adhere to social distancing. Therefore we have been carrying the majority of our meetings via video conferencing (we use Zoom) which is proven to be highly efficient and an effective use of time. Site visits have been successfully carried out by maintaining 2m apart whilst wearing PPE, although we strongly advise that these on-site meetings are only carried out if it is absolutely necessary for the project to move forward. If such a meeting can be done remotely then we will do so.

Some work which requires our on-site presence as necessary for the project would include site surveys. Depending on the size, type and complexity of the property, we may be able to carry out a survey ourselves provided social distancing measures and health & safety guidance set out by the UK Government are adhered to.

If the site is of considerable size, requires a more thorough survey or is rather complex in nature then we may require the services from a surveyor who can carry this out providing they are able to do so by complying with the necessary measures.

What information to provide for our first virtual consultation:

Our first virtual consultation will be free of charge. Once we’ve organised an initial meeting over Zoom, we’ll take this opportunity to learn as much as we can about your brief. This will be in line with how we normally work and the general idea is that the more information you can provide, the clearer idea we have on how we can best help you with your architectural project. In order for this to be as efficient as possible, there are a number of things you could do in advance.

Try to have a clear idea of what you want from this development: What do you want to achieve?

  • Budget
  • Timescales/Programme eg. When do you intend to build? Is time crucial to receive planning permission? Etc.) Do you have a deadline to complete your project?
  • Information and documents:
    • Current use of the site
    • Is the site vacant
    • Existing drawings (if available) including Estate Agents particulars if available
    • Site and planning history: Past planning applications (if relevant)
    • Land registry plan – demonstrates the site boundaries (title deeds if possible as this may highlight certain restrictions imposed on the site)
  • Site photos or virtual tour if possible

Site visits and surveys:

As discussed earlier in this article, we would advise that ensuring everyone’s health and safety is a priority and as such if a site visit or survey is required, then we will do so while adhering to the Government’s social distancing guidelines. Surveys can be achieved by ensuring that either there is no one else in the property during the allocated time of our survey or that occupants are not in the spaces being surveyed and move into different rooms/floors to ensure minimal contact while observing social distancing. Similar methods can be applied to site visits where a 2m distance will be kept between us at all times.

Depending on the property, for instance if this is for works to your own house where you currently reside, then our initial site visit could be carried out remotely where you can give us a virtual tour of the property so we have a better understanding of the site.

Developing the design and beyond:

We can start off by producing some initial ideas based off approximate dimensions and estate agent plans, although for a more accurate set of drawings for planning purposes we will need measured drawings – see above. Once we have the accurate dimensions and necessary information, most of our work from this point can be achieved remotely. This includes pre-application meetings which can be hosted virtually, appointing and liaising with other consultants, submission of planning applications, producing building regulation drawings and tender packages, liaising with contractors, construction site visits (while observing social distancing) and contract administration.

Clearly the situation is changing all the time, and we will do our best to keep you informed. We will continue to provide you with further updates.

Written by Z group Architects


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