Look around you and it will be obvious that our built environment is all around us. The places where we work – our office and commercial buildings, live – our houses and apartments, and play– our entertainment and retail venues are the products brought to live by Architects.
So, what kind of situations make hiring a Singapore Architect the right thing to do? Here are 5 such situations seen from a local context in Singapore.
1. Change in Floor Area
This is an extremely common situation that involves any property owner – to maximise floor area. This is especially so in land-scarce in Singapore. Increasing floor area is often desirable because there is a direct correlation between a property’s floor area and value. The higher the area, the greater the value of the property. Typically, this is calculated on a per square meter (or per square foot) basis.
Do you wish to maximise the floor area of your property? A qualified Singapore Architect will be able to help you with this. They are able to check the relevant URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority) Masterplan parameters, perform relevant calculations and compute the optimum Gross Floor Area possible for your property.
2. Change in Building Configuration
A variation in area may lead to a change in the building configuration. These variations are often called ‘Additions and Alterations’. Whether you wish to vary the façade, add a lift or staircase or change the number of levels in your property (to maximise the area allowable), these will constitute ‘Addition and Alteration@ works.
In Singapore, there are regulations by various Authorities that govern how you can change the configuration or planning of a building. As a property owner who wishes to carry our such changes, it is essential to engage an Architect to advise them on how they can go about these changes.
For example, to carry our ‘Additions and Alterations’ to your house, you will need an Architect to submit these changes to URA. You can get an idea of these URA regulations here
In certain cases – for example if you own a conservation shophouse – even minor changes will require a nod by the authorities. In fact, even changing the paint colour of the façade of the roof tiles will require the owner to comply to URA’s rules and regulations.
You can read more about URA’s guidelines on conservation buildings here
3. Change in Building Design or Façade
Older buildings in Singapore tend to look aged over time, especially in the hot and tropical weather of Singapore. When there is a change of ownership, usually as a new owner you would like to change the façade design. This may mean larger windows, addition of balcony or simply change of wall paint of cladding materials. This is best done with the guidance of an Architect. While the change may seem easy and minor, an Architect will be able to give you the best advice. This relates to both design, material selection and Authority regulations.
Sometimes, owners may think it better to consult a builder. This is because a builder may be willing to give a price for the works. However, the price may not be accurate. The simple fact is that because there are no drawings for them to calculate the costs; hence there is no basis for their price. At best, this would be just an estimate.
4. Change of Building use
There are instances when a property owner wishes to change the usage of their property. If you would like to utilise your property, asset or land in a different way, you would have to submit a proposal to the authorities for a change of use.
For example, an owner of a commercial property may wish to change its 1st level to a F&B outlet. This will require a change of use. In addition, there may be other parameters that will affect this change. An Architect will be able to advise on whether the property can indeed be permissible to vary its 1st level usage, and the compliances that are required by other relevant Authorities.
The URA provides guidelines for the application for change of use here
5. Development of land
If you own a plot of land and you are asking what you should do with it - a feasibility study can be done. This will study the pros and cons of each idea/concept. Will you do something typical of the neighbourhood or try something unique?
There are various factors to consider: building typology, authority regulations, area distribution and design expression. Within the Singapore context, you will need to calculate the areas and usage within URA’s guidelines.
A feasibility study can be undertaken by an Architect to help you make your decisions. He or she will be certainly be able to propose creative solutions, whilst still maximising the potential for your plot of land.
Therefore, it is clear from the above that hiring a Singaporean Architect will be the wise choice when it comes to your property in Singapore.