Picking Right Architect and Construction Company in Lahore
I wanted to share our experience with a topic that I hope you find very relevant – that of picking your architect and contractor. You may wonder, why talk about that now.. Well, I couldn’t have written about this earlier even when I wanted to. There are things that we have learnt in hindsight for which we had no insight early on. It is only after being in the process for 6-9 months that I appreciate all the parameters one should consider while picking an architect and a Construction Company in Lahore.
For starters, there are a number of steps before you start to construct your house. It may not be obvious how these steps are sequenced and time each would take. And therefore, we all end-up under-estimating time and effort required to even start the process. Below is the typical chronological sequence leading up to house construction.
Build your own vision of house – House building is a very creative activity and like any new thing, you want to indulge yourself fully to enjoy it. House building is as much about knowing yourself as about building a physical structure. That’s where it becomes either fun for some folks or frustrating chore for others. I have number of friends who would rather buy a pre-built house and are perfectly happy with that. There is absolutely nothing wrong in that! My first advice therefore is – You intrinsically want to build your own house to have fun doing it. Don’t do it to compare or compete with anyone.
Think about parameters that would influence your house. These could be external elevation of the house, spaces within the house, budget, layout of the physical structure, levels within your house, reselling or renting house partially or fully, daily habits or routines of folks who would live in the house, and so on. While you do these, pay special attention to how you and folks who would live conduct their daily lives – what are their habits, what are their likes, dislikes or constraints, and how these might change over time. All of the influencing factors above help build a vision for your house. You may either document your vision through a document, or create a Google sketchup or anything in-between. Point is to have somewhat specific idea that describes personality of your house.
Meet various architects – It is important to meet different architects as they have different styles and preferences. Some of the variations we have seen amongst architects were
- Some architects build houses of contemporary style while others favor traditional style
- Some architects have a good eye towards attractive elevation while others are better at detailed planning of individual spaces.
- Some architects are fixated towards a feature of the house such as stairs or floor levels while others may be fixated towards earthy materials or concepts.
- Architects that are well-reputed may relegate most of house design work to their sub-ordinates while relatively young architects themselves design the house. On the flip side, well-reputed architects have tons of design ideas and experience which very young architect may not.
- Some architects tend to design tens (if not hundreds) of houses in a year while others may only do 5-10 in a year.
- Some architects charge flat fee versus others that charge % of total house cost.
- Some architects have designated contractors that they work with while others work with any contractor of your choice.
- Look at houses they have built. Don’t rush to conclusion based solely on pictures, pictures can be very deceiving. It is important to visit the houses to get first-hand view of houses. While picking the house, pick a combination of relatively new (< 1 year old) house as well as somewhat older (2-5 years old) houses. Once you have seen 3-4 houses you might start to notice a pattern.
- Provide your requirements and ask if architect would make a mock design. This will give a sense of architects’ vision in reference to your own.
- Do reference check with house owners. Often, pointed questions elicit better insight than a generic question.