Carrying out building work is generally thought of as one of the most stressful, expensive and unpredictable things you can do, and this sadly often proves to be the case.  But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can minimise the risk of the most common pitfalls of projects running for longer than planned; costing far more than anticipated and everyone ending up arguing.

In my many years of experience, the most successful projects have been those where all parties – the client, architect, builder and others involved in the design process – have met as early in the build process.  Prior to this happening there has to be an initial scheme in place and a suitable architect appointed to the project in mind.

Choosing your architect

There are a number of ways to finding the right architect to work with you here in Spain:

  1. The Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Málaga provides guidance on their website.
  2. Seek out recommended architects through friends and colleagues or in the case of a building company like ours who utilise inhouse architects.
  3. Ask a friendly builder, if you know one, as they are likely to have worked with numerous architects.

Before committing to an architect ask them to produce a sketch scheme for the work or alterations you have visualised.

Having chosen your architect the next stages are:

  • development of drawings
  • agreement of a final scheme
  • planning permissions and building regulation approvals

Make sure you have detailed specifications defining EXACTLY what materials and finishes you require. Needless to say, this can be a lengthy process. You need to give yourselves plenty of time for this to make sure you have made the right choices prior to the commencement of building works.

Choosing your builder

The next step is to find a builder.  The most common way in which the builder is chosen is through competitive tender; the architect will send out a package of information to up to three contractors, giving them up to a month to familiarise themselves with the price and work.  A builder is then carefully selected following initial appraisals and pricing.

Choosing your builder principally on price is risky. In the words of John Ruskin (1819-1900)

“It is unwise to pay too much, but it is worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money…that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the things you bought it to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot…it cannot be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder it is well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better.”