How Architectural services help to improve Real Estate earnings.
Architectural service is in two main parts.
1. Architectural Design.
2.Construction project Management.
This helps to ensure that the best arrangement of the building in relation to the land boundary is achieved. This helps to ensure more units can be fitted within a piece of land hence more profits to the land owner.
Also, how the interior spaces relate to each other is addressed within Architectural design. Architects will ensure that the critical spaces e.g. bedrooms, kitchens , living rooms have adequate space which is not eaten by non critical space such as corridors. The balance of circulation corridor spaces vs. livable spaces is achieved in such a manner that the land owner’s investment mainly goes into livable space as opposed to circulation space.
Design arrangement that psychologically gives the impression of more space is also addressed. Use of natural light and ventilation ,resulting in better quality interior spaces, is also achieved.
Construction Project Management.
Architects ensure that the Best Practices the world over on how to go about constructing buildings is achieved. Architects will advice on the roles of the Quantity Surveyor, Structural, Civil, Electrical and Mechanical engineers, landscape architects, interior designers and land planners.
Of late, there have been cases of buildings collapsing in Kenyan and other countries around the world. This happens when the developer has not taken into consideration other consultants such as the civil and structural engineers into the project. The developer is supposed to ensure that the complete design team comprising of architect, quantity surveyor, and engineer is working in harmony. This way, no such cases can occur.
Selecting an contractor.
There are huge savings that the developer can get if he uses the advice of the architects and quantity surveyors in obtaining and procuring the building works. Systems that have been tried and tested internationally for any given project size will come into play. The reason South Africa has one of the lowest construction costs in Africa but the highest construction quality in Africa is because all projects, including simple pit latrines, go through an architect, and engineer and a quantity surveyor. The South Africans don’t use any shortcuts. This has in turn benefited them in that the construction costs are much lower.
Kenyan construction costs are high because a huge percentage of building developers rarely use architects, engineers and quantity surveyors. The result is usually a poorly constructed building that fetches low rent but still as expensive top construct as the good quality ones.
A good example is the high rise flats in East Lands. The cost per m2 is same or higher than the better quality ones in Westlands, Kileleshwa tect. The reason these will be of lower quality but higher construction cost is because the developers are not being able to benefit from the thousands of hours that the architects, engineers and quantity surveyors put it.
Cost of consultancy.
Full Architectural, Quantity Surveying and Engineering services would cost on average 10% of the total construction cost. This investment by the developer is usually the make or break in terms of rental or sale income. Projects without this input will fail or return poor rents. Projects with this input have higher rent, sales and have a lower construction cost.
The below housing projects are right next to each other. One fetches double the rent of the other. Construction cost per m2 is the same. One has higher quality of construction than the other. The only difference is architectural design, which costs a very small percentage of construction cost but can result in over 100% increase in rental or sale income.
Lenana View Partments.
Rent. 60,000 KES.
Neighbouring Apartments. Rent. 30,000KES.
The reason one project costs the same as the other, has higher quality of construction and has double the rent of the other is that the developers tapped into the resources of the architects, quantity surveyors and engineers.
Francis Gichuhi Kamau, Architect.