Selecting an Architect, Best Architecture Studios, Building Designer Advice

Choosing An Architect guide

Architectural Practice Selection Article

20 Sep 2013

Choosing An Architect guide

Architect Selection

How to Choose the Right Architect for your Project

How to Choose An Architect

Whether it’s a renovation, restoration or an entire new build, choosing an architect may well be one of the most important decisions you will have to make during a building project.

Here are a few tips that will help you find the Top Tradespeople for for your specific requirements.

• Constructing a new property or making significant changes to an existing one is an investment; choosing a professional architect is paramount to maximising property value and is an investment in itself.

• Search for local architectural practices online, making sure they are registered with the Architects Registration Board or the Royal Institute of British Architects before booking a consultation.

• Initial consultations with an architect are normally free of charge. Take advantage of this by visiting as many as you possibly can, comparing attributes and picking up ideas as you go.

• Make sure that a prospective architect has plenty of relevant experience; you don’t want a specialist in post-modern design to take charge of an authentic Georgian restoration project.

• Double check their accreditations and experience. Where possible, ask to be able to visit standing examples of the architect’s work. (Alternatively, do it the other way round and find the architect who designed buildings you like). You’ll also want to check their contacts with local planners and follow up their references.

• Fees are usually paid either by the hour, as a percentage of the construction costs, or in a lump sum. Consider which will be the most cost-effective for your situation; hiring an architect who charges £100 per hour, for example, is probably going to be unsustainable for lengthy projects.

• A development usually consists of a feasibility study, followed by the design stage, planning submissions, and finally the construction. You can employ an architect for any or all of these stages. An architect may be particularly useful when tendering for construction, as they will have established links with professional tradespeople.

• It may seem obvious, but always base your decision on the architect’s personal character. He or she needs to be receptive and above all, friendly, especially for longer projects which will require you to establish an amicable relationship with your architect.

• Finally, the right architect should be flexible yet assertive when it comes to drawing up a contract. You’ll want to establish an agreement which is both fair and achievable within the given time frame and budget. Your project may be either too big or too small for some practices, so discuss budget as soon as possible.

Hopefully with these tips you’ll be able to find the right architect for your construction project. Remember, invest in a decent architect and you’ll get a decent return on your investment. Make the wrong decision and you might end up with a lean-to instead of an extension and a whole load of legal fees and court proceedings to contend with.

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