Whether you’re looking to build a new home from the ground up or renovate an existing property to better fit your dream abode, you’re going to need the services of an architect who will be able to take your ideas from imagination to the drawing board. The best architects are able to create tailored designs that also consider all possible complications as you sail through planning permission and straight into the build stage.
Since their knowledge and expertise are vital to the success of any self-build or substantial extension project, choosing the right architect for your needs will quite possibly be the most important decision you make throughout the entire project. In this article, we’ll be looking at some tips to make that decision easier for you.
Have the Brief in Place Before You Start Looking for an Architect
You need to have somewhat of an outline for your project in place before you start approaching professionals. After all, any architect will want to have an idea of what your concept is before they decide is something they are interested in taking on. We’re not suggesting that you need to have a list of all your requirements set in stone, but a general idea of the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the types of material you prefer and the architectural styles you like will be useful information for any potential architect that you hire.
The First Step – Finding an Architect
One of the easiest ways to find an architect in your local area is a simple Google search. Alternatively, why not check out social media? Instagram and Facebook, in particular, are teeming with designers and architects showcasing their work, and it is easy enough to get in touch with any that interest you through the messenger services on these platforms.
As with any other professional you may get to work on your project – like carpenters or builders – it’s always best to hire someone who comes with a recommendation for someone you personally trust. Speak to friends and family, and ask if they can recommend an architect to you. Another route you can go down is having a look around the neighborhood you’re intending to build in and see if any houses catch your fancy. There’s no harm in asking the owner who carried out the work.
You might be wondering why we’re suggesting you work with someone local. One of the major benefits is that local architects are more likely to be friendly with the planning authority, and might even be able to recommend local builders whom they’ve worked on projects with before.
Once you have a shortlist of architects, invite them for a site visit and a frank discussion about what design proposals they can come up with and whether your ideas are feasible. You’ll also be able to gauge if you can afford their services and whether you’ll be able to work with your chosen architect.
This leads nicely into the next thing to consider when hiring an architect:
Will You Be Able to Work Together?
You will be trusting your architect to design your dream home, so you need to feel like you can approach them about anything. Also, unless you have very deep pockets, you will have a strict budget, so you need to be sure that your architect is well aware of how much you’re willing to spend from the outset and work out whether they will be able to work up a design that sits neatly within your budget.
Lastly, Find an Architect Who Has Experience with the Planners
While certain projects will always be contentious, regardless of whether your project is small and simple or large and detailed, it pays to have someone fighting your corner who is familiar with your planning authority — they will know what might or might not gain approval, they will have an understanding of the success rate of other projects in the area, and will have built a rapport with those deciding your fate. When choosing an architect, it can make all the difference if they have previous (successful) experience of dealing with local planners.
We hope the tips in this article have been helpful. Do you have any tips of your own to share? Let us know in the comments below!