Architects | Finding an architect
If you are planning to remodel or extend your house you are probably debating whether or not to hire a professional architect to help with the plans and building process, doing so may cost more money but in the long run you could be saving from an efficient, smart design and strictly controlled construction.
Why hire an architect?
An architect is a professional who can help you come up with design ideas, using their experience to turn your dreams into solid, workable building plans. Architects can advise you on planning permission and building regulations and can guide you through the whole building process, often overseeing construction. They can help you choose contractors, the materials for building and make sure that the project doesn’t go over budget. Hiring an architect can help the building of your extension or remodelling of your house run smoothly and efficiently; making the most of the construction work that you plan to do.
How can I find a good architect?
The first step is to ask friends, families and co-workers for recommendations, the best architect is someone who has positive referrals from people you trust. You can also use a directory and the Internet to search for architects in your area. You should choose an architect who works in your locality, unless the project is extremely large it would not be cost-effective to hire someone further a field. Do your research on each architect that you find, look at their website, design philosophy and samples of their work. It is best to go for an architect who specialises in your type of property and whose previous designs appeal to you.
How do I choose an architect?
If online you can ‘Make an Enquiry’ through the firm’s website to ask more general questions and find out if the architect would be interested. It is always a good idea to ask for a phone interview as well to discuss your project and ideas. Based on these interactions, narrow down your architect list to a handful which you can meet up with in person. If you haven’t been able to view their previous project sites this is a good opportunity to look at their portfolio. This is also a chance to discuss in person the timescale, cost and quality that you expect. Compare the services and price of each, but above all think about personality and compatibility, you will be working closely with your architect throughout the building project so need someone that you like and who you can communicate with.
Should I get a written contract from my architect?
After you have chosen the architect that you want to work with it is important to get a written contract from them for the project. Read it through very carefully, making sure that you understand all of the clauses. If there are any doubts ask questions or hire a solicitor to advise you. Payment arrangements should be stated within the contract as well as what happens if the project is delayed or cancelled.
How much does an architect cost?
This is probably at the forefront of your mind when deciding whether or not to hire an architect, although it is hard to quantify because each professional is different and will charge their fees in different ways. Some architects charge a percentage of the total contract, others an hourly rate and some ask for a lump sum. The most common is a percentage of the total contract, which is usually around 15% for domestic projects such as an extension. It is important to outline how you will be charged before you agree to work with an architect. Do not work with architects who charge for initial consultations: you have a right to know what you are undertaking before handing over any money. Although hiring an architect will add cost to your building project, it will also undoubtedly add value in terms of what you get back and the quality of the design and work done.
If you are spending large amounts of money building an extension or improving your home it is important that you make the most of the work done. Hiring an architect may be an additional cost, but it will greatly improve the quality of design of the project and help make sure the construction process goes according to plan.