onq wrote:You would be well advised to use a locally trained and experienced architect and/or architectural technician.
While the levels of professionalism in other countries may be comparable to or even better than Ireland, the level of detailing can fall far short.
In particular, on exposed sites the positioning and protection of window/ door frames and exposed corners needs careful attention to detail.
Our summers can be both warm and wet, leading to the 80-90% RH and 18-22 degrees C required to promote dry rot occurring quite a lot over the course of the summer.
And now, with the growing temptation to hermetically seal buildings to achieve ever more unrealistic energy savings, you need to know what's an appropriate balance for living.
I remember years ago, long before the current fad for highly insulated timber frame houses crept in, my wife did some curtains for a client of hers.
We went up to the house, which we had heard about before hand, a tour-de-force log cabin style building with the then unheard of specification of triple glazing and 6 inches [150mm] of insulation!
Unfortunately they had a south facing site and had added a large conservatory, with the result that sans air conditioning, the place was roasting on a summers day in the country.
A summers day near fields with cows and sheep in them.
And flies. Lots of flies.
Which after a good feast liked nothing better than to fly into the house.
Which had all the windows open because it was highly insulated and had a huge conservatory.
Too much of a good thing, y'see...
If you carry P.I. cover, and even more importantly if you dont (!), you shouldn't use untried people on a contract basis on a pressure project when you're under pressure yourself on other projects.
My experience of "package professionals" in other disciplines leaves a lot to be desired. You time to need to assess the competence of the person you hire to avoid the pitfalls. You should properly research their references, which you should formally request in relation to their prior work with others.
Expecting the two firms to work seamlessly and flawlessly together on the first outing is unrealistic and you have to allow enough lead in time to mesh working practices and develop a professional rapport.
We have experience of a neighbour who used an out of town architect to do drawings for an exempted development, but who never appeared on site and left it to the builder to complete a fixed price contract.
The lack of quality control and professional oversight resulted in the first firm running out of money and the second one running over time, turning a six month build into a two year nightmare with attendant grief for the neighbours.
So my advice is, outsource at your peril, and use people you don't know at your peril, but use unknown people for whom the vagaries of the Irish climate are foreign and you deserve what happens to you.
Trusting yourself to a package of drawings with no follow up on site is a recipe for disaster.
You could do worse than contacting the RIAI to see if there are suitable competent persons available for contract work - just don't be surprised if they come at a price, and be prepared to learn from them if they have a better handle on it than you to yourself.
But remember, control the flow of information from and to the client and don't let some out-of-work professional run off with your own best paycheck.
Thanks onq and everyone else for some very useful advice. After much deliberation I have decided that the best route is to hire an Architectural Technician on a part-time and possibly temporary contract. I have been recommended somebody who has just been reduced to a 3 day week in his current job who may be interested in doing 2 days with me. If it works out well then perhaps I will look at offering him a full-time permanent position.
I did contact a couple of firms regarding the issue of outsourcing, but after being quoted â‚¬25k from one and â‚¬28k from another I felt that taking someone on to work with me, where I can monitor the quality of the work and develop some of the details as we go would be a much better option. And let's face it, â‚¬25k would go a long way on an Architect's/Technician's part-time salary these days!!