5 Top Tips on how to find an Architect
Congratulations! You’ve found an award winning architectural practice with a versatile design approach and many years of experience in designing and managing complex building solutions.
But seriously, this is a question that many clients will ask their friends after deciding to do building work. Quite possibly the best advice will be to go on recommendation – if a friend has already worked with an Architect and is happy with the process and outcome then you have your first Architect to contact.
Most people will find the only time they employ an Architect is when carrying out work on their home, or if they are lucky enough when building their dream home. The business of design and construction is a very complex one. In addition to recommendation, below we have identified the five top tips of how to choose the best architect for you.
Does the Architect have experience of working in your local area? If so, they should be acquainted with the locality and familiar with regional planning issues. There will be other local people who your Architect can introduce you to. Depending on the complexity of your work there will often be other consultants you will also need to appoint (Structural Engineer, Services Consultant, Landscape Designer, Interior Designer). A good Architect will have a list of other local consultants they work with and would recommend.
2. Experience of similar buildings
Whilst an Architect may tell you they can design anything, it would be wise to appoint an Architect who has experience of working on projects similar to yours. If you would like to convert a barn or extend a listed building, experience of a similar project will inform and benefit your scheme.
3. Do you like their design?
Have a look at the buildings they design. Are they similar to what you would like to commission? It is important that you like the work of the Architect you choose to work with. Find out how they present their work – there’s lots of emphasis put on technology and computer aided drawing, but the latest technology does not necessary mean the design is good. Good design results in buildings that work well over years to come and are a joy to experience. The ability to do this often only comes are years’ of experience. Ask your chosen Architect if you can visit a recently completed project.
4. Do you like the people?
If you are going to employ an Architect you will be spending quite a lot of time with them, it is therefore critical that you like the people who will be working on your project. It is a very personal service and vital that you enjoy the process and can have honest, open discussion with your chosen design team.
While much of the process of creating a building is dry and academic, you should enjoy the relationship and open up a little over lunch or perhaps a drink. It can be the little anecdotes that throw light on the process and create avenues of discussion that you may not have previously considered.
5. References will tell you all
A good, busy Architect will have lots of clients who they should be happy to put you in touch with. Find out what their clients think of them and don’t be afraid to ask what’s gone wrong and how the challenges were handled. Creating new buildings is a challenging process and unexpected issues will arise. It is impossible and unlikely to have a new house built with no ‘glitches’, one of the key assets of an Architect is how they cope and resolve problems.