Choosing an Architect in Thailand

To be able to choose an architect you first need to know what they are and what they do. Most people never use the services of an architect in their lives and have very little or no contact with them. So there can be a tendency to trivialize their importance, think they cost a lot and are not that critical to the construction project. This could not be further from the truth and the opposite is in fact true.

Without architects there would be no temples, no shopping malls, no hotels, no schools, no hospitals, no museums, no houses, no resorts and literally nothing of human made wonder or beauty in the construction world. We owe so much to them as they are literally the architects (creators) of the human world we know and live in. Without them there would be no amazing buildings at all and our lives woudl be full of chaotic existance.  Give them the respect they so justly deserve, as it is only ignorance that does not realize their importance. They shaped the world we live in and that directly links to how we live our lives. The services of a good architect are so vitally beneficial.

If you ever walk around a city and enjoy the buildings you walk past, see, visit and maybe sleep in, remember you have architects and engineers to thank for this, along with the builders who built what they designed. Respect architects and respect they are professional talented people who deserve all they get paid. An architect is not a throw away product from a supermarket and paying good professional architects makes all the difference to a construction project. They can save money, create functionally useful areas, save in energy costs, reduce wasted space, make a house attractive rather than ugly, make a hotel more productive; and create something you, your family and/or guests and clients can enjoy for many years to come. They are vital to any building project and it is imperative to work with a good, professional architect. They play a significant role including a major financial one as they are the ones who can help save you money and help you create the end result; they are instrumental in how your project materializes. We cannot over state the importance of architects in our world.


What is an architect ?


An architect in Thailand is a professional person or entity registered, licensed or otherwise authorized to use the title "architect" and to practice architecture in Thailand.  A Thai architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings in Thailand. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the buildings.
A Thai architect's role is vital in construction.  Architects serve as trusted advisors in a creative process of designing a building to be constructed through various methods and disciplines. They serve the public (your) interest and this includes health and safety matters. Perhaps, it would be best to describe an architect as a conductor who helps you the client, in bringing together all the goals for a building or other structure. Architects do this by providing solutions through the use of:

  • Creative vision and artistic imagination to create spaces where their techniques and ideas; are represented through light, textures, form, materials, and colours.
  • Technical and practical to create spaces that are safe, efficient, sustainable, and meet economic needs.
  • Psychological understanding, ethical practice and interpersonal skills, to craft spaces that fulfill the needs of clients, users, and the community.

Choosing an Architect

Choosing an architect is a very important part of the process. An architect in Thailand is vital to the project. Our advice is not to choose an architect on price only and do not choose an architect as if you were buying a television and go round all of them just trying to get cheapest price. That is perhaps the wrong way to go about it and will not get the best results.  It also shows a complete lack of understanding or knowledge of what an architect is or how important their role is in the construction process. Yes price is important and most of us do not all have endless amounts of money.  But your home is very important and you have to live in it for many years to come. A good architect is worth what they charge. So be careful not to be overtly mean spirited when it comes to this stage of the process. Unlike the same TV product in shops, architects are unique, professional and each one has different skills, creative ability, vision, experience and knowledge.  So choosing the right architect for you and your project has an influence on the whole project from start to finish. It affects the final outcome, as well as potentially affecting the costs, feel of the project, the look, use of space, how the occupants or users enjoy being within it, the temperature and every aspect of it. The builder builds what the architect has designed. Choose an inexperienced architect or base it only on price and your final outcome maybe a less desirable home, less comfortable, hotter inside, and less saleable with a bad use of space. Your hotel may not have the wow factor or be enjoyable for guests to stay in; or the resort may not be beautiful or functional.

It is always best to choose an architect in Thailand because you can communicate well with them; they are enthusiastic for your project; provide a good professional service and are able to understand what it is you wish to do. Look at their portfolio and see if you like it and see if you and they can easily communicate your ideas. Make sure they can speak the same language as you or a common language and make sure they are easily available by e-mail and telephone.  Choose them because you instinctively feel you want to work with them and you like their portfolio of designs and they are nice people to work with; Choose them because they are responsive and can do the best design for you. Then when you have found the right one, start by asking them for their fee proposal. To do a fee proposal they require all the information regarding your project and the land it is to be built on. It normally takes about 1 week for them to do and once you have it you will know what they want to be paid to do the works for you.

But remember an architect may be working for you for many months, so do not try to beat down them on price, as if you were buying a second hand car. It does not breed for a happy project or working relationship. It also only embarrasses yourself as they are professional people who have worked hard to gain an architects licence in Thailand. Just like doctors, engineers, and lawyers. So expect to pay them as a professional. Many professional architects do not need to waste their time bargaining on fees. They are too busy with paying clients who appreciate their abilities, understand their creative importance and professional attributes. Pay well and fairly. It is always the best way. This is a building and you have to live and/or work in it, or expect guests to stay in it, for many years to come; maybe even a lifetime. So doing it right is of the utmost importance.  If you are happy to pay for a quality car do not begrudge paying for a quality architect and builder. It makes no sense to cheap skate and will affect the overall outcome.  Be sensible be correct. Most of us have worked hard for our money and paying out large sums of money and trusting it to an amateur or inexperienced person is unwise. Choose a professional experienced architect and pay them fairly;  as you would expect to be paid yourself in your job. Fairly and on time. Thai architects work very hard to become an architect and they should be respected as a professional person.

Notes and points about Architects
  • Never begrudge paying an architect. Your house, office, hotel, factory or resort is completely reliant on an architect. How that architect designs your property creates how it looks and feels when it is built. A good architect can make all the difference to your project. With their design and creative skills, a Thai architect has a dramatic affect on the overall ambiance. They can alter the way it looks, affect the energy costs, how comfortable it is to live in, stay in or work in. A Thai architect can affect the air flow, how cool or hot it is, how practical it is to move around in the building, the construction cost, the internal space, the cost to maintain the building and its saleable value. Most importantly their skill ultimately has a big effect on the place you spend most of your life in, or where your workers or guests spend much of their time. Your home, your office or hotel is too important not to make sure it is designed correctly.
  • To build a property in Thailand you require official government permission to build. To be able to apply for permissions, you require completed architects drawings in Thai language, done by a licenced Thai architect and licenced Thai engineer; and also signed off by both the licenced Thai architect and licenced Thai engineer.
  • For a builder in Thailand to construct your property they require completed architects drawings done by the licenced Thai architect and licenced Thai engineer. It is vital to the builder the architects drawings are completed professionally, well and accurately by a good Thai architect. It can have a dramatic effect on costs to build and time to build.
  • A Thai architect is a professional person who goes to a university and has to learn for 5 years to become an architect in Thailand. It is a very hard course and training. They have to renew their professional licence and it is very important to them. Construction is complex and there are many things that can go wrong. It is vital for an architect to know the Thai building industry very well; to know the history of architecture and to know construction technical details. Safety, security, structural integrity, design, regulations, people’s well being and comfort are all aspects they have to consider.
  • Without architects there would be no pyramids, no Angkor Wat, no shopping malls, no hospitals, no schools, no museums, no luxury condominiums and no houses. Our world would look a very dull place without architects. Do value their importance in the construction process.
  • A good professional architect is worth every bit of money you pay them. They are professional people in line with engineers, doctors, lawyers, accountants and so on. An architect trains longer than most professionals in the world and there are good reasons for this. Respect them as their job is complex and has significant importance.
  • Do not compare architects in price. It is the wrong way to choose an architect. Choosing an architect in Thailand should be based on what they can design for you, their experience and your ability to work with them. Remember this is your home, office, factory or hotel, and the architect will leave their imprint on you building; and this directly has an effect on you for the rest of the time you stay, live or work there. Bargain hunters really have no understanding or respect for an architect; and they certainly won’t be building anything wonderful or amazing. They are normally the people who end up with stuffy hot homes, bad construction, ill functioning houses, hotels that are not nice to stay in and resorts that do not attract clients. Choose sensibly and do not just base it on price.
  • Be careful buying architect’s plans off the internet. Most are sold for the US market and are in the wrong measurement system for Thailand. Thailand uses the metric system. Also many of the homes are designed for colder climates not hot humid tropical climates like Thailand. So the homes are unsuitable for Thailand’s climate. To gain permission to build in Thailand you must have the Thai architects drawings in Thai language, signed by a licenced Thai architect and Thai engineer. If not it will not be accepted to build.
  • Also building methods are different in different countries, so the drawings you buy off the internet may not again be suitable for the way homes are constructed in Thailand. Architects drawings also have to be in the Thai language not just English. You require a licenced Thai architect and a Thai licenced engineer to sign the drawings to confirm they have done those drawings and certify them safe. How can they do that if they have not done the drawings ? Their licence is very valuable and they have worked hard for it. Be careful buying drawings off the internet as you may end up paying twice to have them all redone again.
  • You need an architect to be able to speak a common language with you. It is vital as you will be working with them for many months. You need to be able to e-mail them, telephone them and speak with them easily.
  • Never forget the architect is probably the most important person in any construction project aside from the builder. The two work together and are vital for a successful, safe and productive outcome. Do not underestimate the value or importance of a Thai architect. It is only ignorance for someone to pay 2 million Baht for a car but won’t pay an architect 700,000 to design his home. It makes no sense and shows a true lack of understanding of how important they are to your home.
  • A Thai architect can help you so much and if you have the right attitude can assist you to design a wonderful home or amazing project. Work well with them and enjoy the process.

Enjoy the architectural process as it can be a lot of fun and extremely rewarding

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