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Winkens Architecture
Whitestown, Drinagh
Wexford, Ireland
t. +353(0)53 9126605
e.

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FAQ section


Click Q to see answer:
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I like the project house you did. Can I buy that same plan?
If the house was originally designed by winkens architecture, we can design a house for you that is similar to the dwelling you admire. Our homes are custom designed so that you will never find another house exactly like yours. We can design your residence with a similar feel and style.

How do architects charge?
Architectural fees will vary dependant on services required, the size and complexity of your project, and the type and extent of service required.
Because we tailor our services to each project we do not have set prices. After discussing your needs, the Architect will lay out a firm written fee proposal for your consideration. All services are subject to Client approval and written contract.

How much do you charge for a 4 bedroomed Dwelling?
When you buy a car you do not ask how much is a 4 door car? There are too many variables. Like wise when considering to build a House there are a lot of things to consider. A poorly designed space will be hard to use and harder to enjoy. Materials selection, siting, accessibility, regulations and structural issues and are important in designing a dwelling. Architects see all these factors in a "big picture" and they are able to design options that improve the flow, use, efficiency, and aesthetics of a structure.

What are Plans "off the shelf"
Plans "off the shelf" are drawings that architects and draftsmen can pull from a drawer and they appear in a lot of "plan" magazines and books. These are available for entirely new projects.

Some Advantages are:
  • Plans generally have low initial cost
  • Very few decisions to be made

Some Disadvantages are:

  • They are not customised to your needs and lifestyle, thus the home will inherently be generic and impersonal.
  • They may not be suited to the area you intend to build in
  • These plans may not follow your local planning codes / restrictions.
  • Changes to shelf plans do not allow for your input (other than very minor changes),
  • Changes can be expensive and most find it more trouble than it's worth

Most of our Clients find that designing a custom home to fit their family is more rewarding in the long run.


Isn't having an Architect a luxury?
For some it may seem so at first, but an Architect will save you money in the long run by helping you decide what you want and what it will cost, recognising and solving all problems, designing energy-efficient and attractive buildings, reviewing tenders for your build. They can also represent you in negotiation with the planners if needed.
The development of a design is a two-way process between the client and Winkens Architecture. We present a sketch design solution for the client's input and their response is taken on board at each stage until the optimum solution is arrived at. There is never a 'take it or leave it' design solution.
We can also guide you through S.I.9 Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 and S.I.365 Building Control (Amendment 2) Regulations 2015.

What can an architect do for me?
Your project can be an exciting undertaking that should be enjoyable and rewarding. But without careful planning, it could easily become overwhelming, difficult, and frustrating. We've all heard of someone who claims they'll 'never do it again'.

A skilled architect can help you avoid the headaches and ensure the process runs smoothly. Architects are trained to consider the 'big picture' - from assessing the potential of your property through to minute construction details.

An architect can address your concerns and provide guidance - while remaining entirely objective and looking out for your interest. Architects are in the unique position of providing completely unbiased advice to you - as long as their fees are not based on the construction cost. (There would be no benefit for an architect to recommend a certain product, for example, where there could be for sales reps, builders, and so on.)

By drawing on the expertise of a skilled architect, you will be able to make informed and confident decisions that won't leave you second-guessing. This is especially important - often owners are not fully aware of their options, as well as the benefits, risks, or implications of the choices they will have to make throughout the design and construction of their project.

Architects' expertise is design - they can help you develop a well-conceived project with lasting value. An architect starts by considering all relevant factors - your property, budget, etc. Design options are then fully explored, evaluated, and reviewed with you to determine the relative merits and implications of each potential solution.

When your design has been developed and fine-tuned, your construction drawings are prepared - the technical documents that will instruct the builder. If competitive quotes are desired, detailed specifications are produced, enabling you to get the best possible value for your project.


Design process:

How do I start?
Most people who go to an architect have never done this before, so you are in good company. You start collecting magazine clippings, pictures, and sketches etc. of what you are interested in this may be helpful to explain your ideas and preferences. Although this aids in the beginning stages, it is not a necessity.

Next, talk to a few Architects and schedule meetings to see how you "fit" with your Architect. You may have a better rapport with some and feel confident in their abilities. Don't feel rushed. Ask a lot of questions. We welcome questions as an opportunity to educate you about your choices in the process, and we want you to know where the next step is and what possible pitfalls may come.


What would an architect need to get started?
An architect needs to know to is what your objectives are. A brief calling out your likes and dislikes is important. You should also have an idea of your construction budget (ideal and maximum) and your timeframe.

What are the Steps in the Design Process?
The design processes for residential and commercial projects are similar. Below are four of the most common phases for Design and Construction:

  • Pre-Design Phase / Feasibility Study:
    This is the research phase. Physical location of the site will be studied to determine if the project is viable.
  • Schematic Design Phase:
    This is the sketching phase. Layout options are discussed and reviewed.
  • Final Design and Construction Document Phase:
    Once the design has been approved by the Client, The actual drawings for planning application are produced. They include finished plans that are dimensioned, with elevations and sections.
  • Construction Phase:
    Other data to be read by the builder and subcontractors. The Architect is available to inspect the jobsite during construction and advise the Client on progress of the project. For some projects this can also include reviewing material and equipment selections.

As always, your project needs will determine the services we provide.



Do I need an Engineer? Whatkind?
Most projects require some engineering services, although few projects need all the types of engineering services. As with all things in architecture, it depends on the complexity of your project. All Engineers should have indemnity insurance. Some types of Engineers used by Architects are:

  • Structural Engineer: Designs the foundation, any needed beams and roof.

And then also mostly for commercial projects:

  • Civil Engineer: Platting, site drainage, utility services, access to roads and parking etc.
  • Mechanical Engineer: Heating and air conditioning.
  • Electrical Engineer: Electrical systems, load analysis.
  • Plumbing Engineer: Freshwater and wastewater plumbing systems.
There are a number of other Consultants that work with Architects: Landscaping, Interior design and Lighting design for example.

How can we get the best price for our project?
Going out to fixed time competetive tender, is a good way to get a construction quote. We usually do an outline specification that outlines the extent of work and materials required for the build. This and detailed working drawings. Electrical layout and Outside window and door Schedule etc.


At tender stage if a builder has a question what should he do?

They have three options:
  • Ask you to be much more specific (best scenario).
  • Make assumptions (not a good idea).
  • Not include prices for areas missing (worse scenario).
Because most people will choose the builder who has the lowest quote, there is an inherent incentive for builders to price only what is shown on the drawings (as opposed to areas definitely required but not indicated). Where items are non-specific, the builder can keep his total quote down by using inexpensive materials (which usually isn’t in your best interest).

Basic drawings can cause other problems as well. Because you do not know exactly what each builder will provide, it is almost impossible to evaluate different quotes. You may also find that you have extra costs as you discover (during construction) exactly what the builder intends on doing and providing.

Conversely, when builders are provided with detailed drawings (indicating your specific requirements), a 'level playing field' is created and accurate, realistic quotes can be provided. Clear drawings will also minimise extra hidden costs and potential disputes during construction.

Obtaining quotes from several qualified builders will create a truly competitive situation where bidders are 'forced' to provide their absolute lowest price. Each builder knows that if they do not provide their best price – as opposed to what the market will bear – they will more than likely lose your project to another bidder who 'sharpens his pencil'.

This truly competitive tender situation only occurs when each builder prices exactly the same project (design, identical materials, workmanship, and so on). Otherwise you cannot realistically compare quotes, and builders will not have to quote as tightly.

Finally, an architect can help ensure that your project is built as intended - by communicating effectively with the contractor, reviewing the builder's performance, and assisting with any unforeseen situations that may arise.


What is the difference between a general contractor and a subcontractor?
General Contractors co-ordinate the entire project, while a Subcontractor does one specific trade, such as an electrician or a painter for example. The General Contractor organises, oversees, and directs the entire job, including the hiring, co-ordination, and supervision of all Subcontractors. An advantage of hiring a 'General' rather than each subtrade individually is that you only have one person to deal with whom is responsible for everyone and has them included in his umbrella of insurance’s too. This can be a real benefit in certain situations where it may be unclear which subtrade is responsible. Inbetween jobs that must be done before the next trade acan start.

Can we 'act'as the general contractor for our project?
Many owners feel they can save money by doing the required co-ordination themselves and hiring the subcontractors directly. While this may be the case, there are many things to consider. To start with, a great deal of time, patience, and assertiveness is required to supervise and organise all required trades people, material deliveries, and inspections. This typically requires a thorough knowledge of construction scheduling, materials, and methods. As well, there may be some legal issues regarding liability in being the 'General'.
We do not recommend self-build projects due to the complex nature of complying with current Building Regulations.
From the 1st of September 2015 it is possible under S.I.365 Building Control (Amendment 2) Regulations 2015. You must sign a Declaration of Intention to Opt Out of Statutory Certification, again we can advise.

What can your thermal Camera do?
In August 2009 we purchased a FLIR multi purpose infrared camera from FLIR Systems a global leader in infrared cameras. This camera can detect, spot and measure temperature differences over entire surfaces, it produces instant, point-and-shoot JPEG infrared imagery, that carries all required temperature data. The camera enables us to analyse the image and create reports in PDF format. It has the ability to see things that are invisible to the naked eye. We can now find: Cold bridging, Missing Insulation, Water leaks,defects in radiators, Under floor heating pipe faults, Air leakage (during blower test). Knowing we have a thermal camera helps to keep the contractor focused.



If you have any others questions, please contact us we'll be happy to answer them for you.
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