Monday, October 5, 2009
On Thursday 17 September The Irish Times ran a story by Frank McDonald entitled “Architects on Call”. This story was about a new “Help My House” service providing “Smart Advice for a fixed price”. Home owners were being given control over house construction and defect issues in an environment where there were few places to turn for clear independent advice at a reasonable and transparent fixed price. The price tags of €150 for the cities and €200 for the country raise eyebrows for the right reason. “We could put the price tag on it because the service is clearly defined and uncomplicated” Anthony said.
A Chapilizod homeowner rang the Help My House Office recently stating she had work done but it was “not right”. She had concerns about a porch, shutters and a kitchen. The Area Architect contacted her within the stated 2 days and visited within the stated 2 weeks. At the visit advice was given and she asked the architect to comment on the roof. Following an attic and external inspection he advised that some small repairs were required but that the roof was “good”. The homeowner was visibly relived as a builder had said it was “shot” and needed replacement for several thousand euro. She was left with a “bullet point” list of the next steps… and with a smile on her face.
A Tipperary Home owner had concerns about a deflecting beam at an old cottage and was also considering an attic conversion. The Area Architect advised that while a collapse was unlikely a repair could be done. A sketch of this repair method was given to the client the following day as well as general advice regarding the provision of a dormer window to make an attic conversion work.
Cracks, damp issues and more general matters regarding planning and alterations are the main diet to date of the many queries but what is common is the appreciation of such a simple and accessible service for the public.
“The first 2 weeks have been very encouraging” said Anthony Brabazon the RIAI Architect who devised and manages the service “I sincerely hope we can help homeowners who up to now have been very vulnerable to poor advice and service”. “The area Architects have built up a wealth of experience and reliable contacts in the industry down the years and now we hope to connect to the homeowners in a simple, cost effective and helpful way” . A combination of house defects on a mammoth scale and a profession which is suffering a significant downturn makes this service both possible and timely.
For more information ring Anthony Brabazon on 01-6683519 or visit http://www.helpmyhouse.ie