Steps to choosing an architect
What do you need to consider?
- Recommendations from friends and family – nothing can beat a recommendation from someone you trust.
- Research local architects in your area.
- Are they a chartered architect? A chartered architect is bound by a strict professional code that means they need to act honourably, independently and efficiently.
- Make sure they are registered with the Architects Registration Board. They should be by law! This guarantees a certain standard of work and means they will have professional indemnity insurance in case anything goes wrong.
- What type of architect are you hoping for? Do you need a more creative architect for your solution or one that is good at managing costs?
- Is your design a little different and potentially need a planning consultants’ advice/input to help get your planning permission through?
- Do you need an architect with listed building experience?
Once you have a shortlist of at least three architects:
Give each architect a brief of the work, a rough budget and ask whether they are available (the good architects are often the least available).
Ask to see their portfolio or view projects on their website. You could even visit other projects they’ve done and ask to speak to past clients.
Do you feel confident you will be able to work with the architect?
Ask about their fees. Some architects charge different amounts – by the hour, a flat fee or a percentage of the total build costs. With a payment upfront (30%) to cover initial design work. They may give a vague estimate about costs (which you should get in writing). If your shortlisted architects give hugely