How To Establish An Architect’s Office ? “The Future Planner’s Guide”

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As an professional Architect one needs to set up his/her office from the start in a organized and professional way in order not to undermine his credibility. A lot of parameters are to be thought of before setting up a office from location and size of office to available work force. One must decide the location of the place he wants to practice from metropolitan city to a tier 2 or small growing cities. All have their positives and negatives depending on the kind of lifestyle one prefers or the available projects, clients in the vicinity and competition. The number of architects and firms in a metropolitan will be high so will be the competition but the amount of work will be more too.Getting skilled workforce is also a reason that can uplift the quality of work in a firm. It is easier to find more people to work for you there but you have to face  competition.

Many building regulations permit to establish office in one’s own residence.Though the regulations change with time but generally one can do a conversion of a prat of his residential property into a office to the extent of 30 sq. m. Their are a lot of advantages of having office in such place like one can save on expensive property buying , cost of daily commute,one can choose personal working hours depending on urgency.Though in such cases clients and contractors can often do late night visit and disturb once personal life. After initial starting from such space one can easily invest in buying an office space by taking loans from banks.

  • Qualified Staff :

A technically qualified staff is the force behind the success of any project. One should know how to manage its work force to maximum efficiency and to complete his commitments on time perfectly.Their number, salaries, service conditions depend on firm to firm. For small firms these are not regulated. A minimum wage is paid in general which is stipulated by the state government and varies from place to place.

The working hours should be restricted to 40 hours a week divided in 5 working days. Payment of bonus in not a mandate but big firms give it to keep their work force happy and tied to them.No medical leave  or travel assistance is given by small firms.

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  • Public Provident Funds :

It is often advisable for big firms to give half-month salary after every year of service in the account of employee’s own provident fund.Such account require a minimum contribution of Rs. 500 during every year. This contribution earns a rebate in income tax and is valid till 15 years( can be extended) Investing in PFF is best way of investment as an employee get a sum of money after his retirement or after a long service so that his future is secure .

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  • Tax Planning :

Investing at least 15% of one’s net earnings in Public Provident Fund (PPF) account with a nationalized bank. Contribution to PPF accounts reduce income tax burden, but the interest earned (around 8% ) is tax free. An architect need to look after his future need and plan accordingly one can also invest in long term insurance policy for future gains.

  • Avoiding Legal Issues :

In current working scenario an architect faces a lot of legal issues from clients, contractor or government. This arise due to professional accountability and legal liability.  There are a lot of areas where one can create legal complications like client or contractor agreement , architectural copy right issues, building by-laws and code of professional conduct. The best way to deal with this is to use standard form of “letter of Appointment” recommended by council OF architecture or made by private firm after discussing it with a lawyer. Also Contracts made should  define the scope of work, payment , duration and duties,  in case of future dispute a clause of “Arbitration & Conciliation” should be added.

  • Work As Clients Representative :

An architect works for the client and should know the extent of his authority to make commitments on behalf of the client. If while dealing with public officials in cases of rules any premium is paid he should be informed about the same. He should communicate with the client regularly to discuss with him the work progress, scope and get his sign on important drawings and documents before issuing them.

  • Risk Management :

Some architects provide a ” Waiver clause” in contract which states that ” Any action or failure to act does not constitute acceptance or approval of non-complying work nor does it constitute acceptance of non-complying work nor does it constitute a waiver of other rights under the contract. ”

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