An Interior Architect Can Cover More Bases

2023-06-13 10:47:32

Professional advice on any new build or refurbishment work is a wise first step. This should relate to your overall intention and include interior layout and design aspirations.

Who can best assist?

Some would think an interior designer is the answer, others would say that an interior architect can cover more bases and is, therefore, the most appropriate choice.

There are various reasons that the answer to this question is not as clear-cut as many would expect. One major factor is that for some time now there has been a blurring of certain roles and responsibilities that are performed by individuals from both professions.

The ‘commonality’ of well-publicised services offered by the two professions has left many with the impression that they are one and the same.

Qualifications required – Interior designers:

Those who opt to become interior designers do not need formal qualifications to use the title. Having said this it should be made clear that the vast majority of active interior designers do hold recognised qualifications relevant to their profession.

It should also be understood that having a natural aptitude and eye for creating stunning interior design, furnishing and décor solutions that match the space in question is a special talent to possess.

Qualifications required – Interior architects:

It is important to be aware that the term ‘architect’ is a protected one. Only those individuals who have achieved the specific qualifications and accreditation required can legally attach this title to their name and position.

This means that when an interior architect receives an appointment they are qualified to cover each and every aspect of all interior work required.


Scope and ability:

An interior designer is fully able to advise and recommend everything related to the project concerned, but they have no legal authority to sanction or execute changes to such things as the building structure.

On the other hand, a fully qualified architect does have the legal authority to begin and complete the whole process relating to any structural changes required.

An interior architect combines the 2 disciplines:

Taking the above into account, the added legal authority and the fact that interior architects combine extensive interior design aspects with the knowledge and authority of comprehensive architectural requirements is surely a value-add.

Certain types of work that are more effectively placed with interior architects include (but are not limited to):

  • The construction or reconstruction of an interior space
  • The shaping or reshaping of an interior space
  • Suggesting and completing design alterations
  • Adhering to client-specified alterations (assuming they meet all relevant regulatory requirements)
  • Wide scope of works from minor rearrangements to doors and walls through to the complete gutting of an interior and its subsequent redesign
  • Work that involves extending the current build such as additional living and/or sleeping space, larger kitchen space or additional bathrooms
  • Conversion work that will maximise available space. Cellar/Basement and Attic/Loft conversions are common examples

Careful consideration is required:

As mentioned, seeking early, initial advice is strongly recommended. This should relate to your project scope and the breadth of services you envisage having to use.

Take time out and put down in your own words (and perhaps some rough sketches) an explanation of exactly what you are expecting to achieve.

Whether you are set-firm on an idea or fully open to suggestions this exercise will do you the power of good. It will allow discussions with the two professions mentioned and help you to reach an understanding.

That will be whether an interior designer is most suited to assisting you, or whether an interior architect can cover more bases due to the nature of the work required.

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