It is a dream to find an architect who will guide you through planning and designing your self-build or extension. However, there are so many options available, it can feel like trying to find the right one.
While knowledge and expertise are important, the best architect can also translate a design into your style and make you feel at ease.
We have compiled six golden rules for finding the right architect for you.
Before you find an architect, create a brief
A brief is essential before you approach house extension architect. A brief will help an architect determine if they are interested in the project.
Although you don’t have to make a list of all the things you want, it is helpful to have an outline to help your architect get started.
- Number of bedrooms
- Bathrooms: There are many
- architectural styles you like
- Materials you love
- Are you looking for an open-plan arrangement?
Word of Mouth can help you find an architect
A Google search targeting your area will make it easy to find an architect to help you with your project. You can also check out social media — Instagram has partnered with architects and designers to showcase their work. You can reach out to any of these people if you find one you like.
RIBA (The Royal Institute of British Architects ) offers a Find an Architect search tool.
It’s best to find someone you trust and who is recommended by friends or family when you are looking for people to help you with your project. Ask your family and friends to recommend an architect they have worked with.
Kelly and Martin, the homeowners, doubled up as architects for their self-build project. They used their Hall+Bednarczyk experience as an architect in their architectural company . (Image credit to Simon Maxwell).
You could also ask the owner of the home if they have any suggestions.
Local architects are also able to design homes that fit the local context. They might also be familiar with local building codes and be able recommend builders they have worked with in the past.
After you have selected a few architectural firms to meet you, you can invite them to visit the site to discuss your project. You’ll need to interview at most four architects in order to get a better idea of their design proposals, to assess how you will get along, to judge if you can work together, to determine if they are capable of producing the home you want, and to help you understand a bit more about whether or not your dream home is feasible and financially viable.
Choose an architect you can work well with
You can trust your architect to design your dream house. Your home will be expensive, so you must feel comfortable talking to them about any topic.
Interviewing architects for the job should include whether they get along with you and whether you feel comfortable enough to talk about anything. This will make everything run smoothly.
Communication problems can have an impact on the entire project. Make sure you are able to trust your architect and feel comfortable.
Look for an architect who has experience with planners
It can make a big difference in choosing an architect if they have had previous success with local planners.
Planning permission will be contested for certain projects. However, no matter how small or complex your project, it is worth having someone to fight your corner. They will be familiar with the planning authority, understand the success rates of similar projects, and have built up a rapport with those who will decide your fate.
Look for an architect whose previous work you admire
Today, the best and most convenient way to view an architect’s past work is via their website.
The website of a practice will be their primary selling tool. There will likely be several well-photographed projects available for you to peruse. This will provide you with an idea of the quality of their work, what architectural style they are skilled in, and what construction methods they’re most comfortable working with.
You must love their work and feel confident they will deliver the home you desire.
Locate an architect who listens to you
Interviewing architects for the job will involve you discussing your brief. Chances are that they will offer a variety of ideas about how to make your dream a reality.
When discussing your like-to-haves and must-haves, make sure they don’t try to steer you away. As creatives, their role is to help you develop your brief and listen to what you are asking for and not try to change it.
Many homeowners will be happy to hear that their architect designed a better home than they imagined. But, don’t let your imagination get the best of you and sacrifice elements that you love because an impulsive designer wanted to do something different.
Select an architect who respects your budget
Your home design will consume a significant amount of your budget. It is important to do it right and be happy with the results.
However, you must remember that you don’t have unlimited money to spend on the project.
Your architect should be upfront with you. They should also be realistic about what is possible within your budget. Don’t allow them to talk you into features that might increase the cost but which you may not need.
When selecting an architect to manage your project, make sure they know how much you are willing to spend upfront and determine if they can create a design that fits within your budget.