How to find the right architect:

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Finding the right architect can ensure the success of your project, and getting it wrong can sometimes be expensive and painful.

Following our recent article about things that you need to consider when choosing an architect, you will be fully engaged and ready to talk with one about your plans.

We’ve compiled a few ideas on helping you find the right architect >

Finding an Architect

– Take a look at local architects that you’re aware of. Do you have any contacts that can recommend one? Create a shortlist of firms that you think might be suitable for your project.

– Give them a brief for the work, a rough construction budget and ask them if it is the sort of work they do, and whether they have current availability (the good architects are often the busiest). The clearer and more precise your brief is for the architect, the more likely you are to be happy with the outcome

The next stage

– Aim to meet them at your home (or at the site)to discuss the project in depth

– Ask to see their portfolio, visit their website, even visit other houses they have designed – and ask to speak to past clients and provide references (if they say no, ask why!)

– Make sure you like their style – architects can produce a variety of styles, which can be modern, traditional or a mixture of the two.

– How is the personal chemistry– do you feel confident you can work well with the architect? Are they good at listening and understanding your requirements?

Fees

– Ask them about their fees, different architects can charge in different ways – they can charge by the hour, a flat fee (usually for smaller jobs), and as a percentage of the total build costs(usually for larger jobs); with a payment upfront (25-30%) to cover initial design work. They might give a vague estimate of expected costs, which you should push to understand fully.

– Ask them for an exact scope of services for the fees quoted and what other consultants and fees are likely to be required for the project?

The fine print

– Find out what their level of involvement will be. How much detailing will they provide? For example, will they establish where the walls will be but not the thickness or detailing like where the electric sockets will be located? What exactly will their role be apart from preparing the drawings & specifications? And what happens if things go wrong?

Comparing services

– When comparing your quotes, compare like for like – fees compared to level of service that will be provided.

– Remember you pay for what you get so a lower fee usually means a lower quality level of service, and eventually, a poorer quality finished building.

– Overall trust is important so be prepared to pay your chosen architect a realistic fee for the service you will be getting – it will be worth every penny in the long term!

 

Chartered Architect | Land & Property Adviser | Sustainable Design | Managing Director at FIBRE Architects Ltd

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