Your relationship with your architect may be one of the most important working relationships you’ll have during your renovation or new build home project. In today’s market, with rising prices and uncertainty on supply in the trade, it is even more important you employ the right architect to help you create the home you are dreaming of.
The right architect should be someone that shares your vision – someone who can see your dreams and help you realise them. A quick Google search will return myriad results that may leave you more confused than enlightened! Here are our tips to help you find the right architect for you.
Don’t be tempted to rule out architects that charge a fee for the first visit/meeting – the best architects are busy and you are very likely receiving good advice and creative inspiration talking to them so there is a value attached.
Trust your instincts. The best projects are realised when the architect and client instinctively understand each other. You’ll spend a lot of time working together, revealing your dreams, wildest aspirations and day-to-day practical needs. Family politics, births, life plans and finances will need to be considered, so it’s crucial that you feel comfortable with your architect and that they can empathise with you.
Working with a local architect is always helpful. They will know the area, have relationships with planners, builders and suppliers, and they will be more available to you.
Seek recommendations from friends, look at buildings you like in the area and find out who the architect was – planning records can help. Local architects will also know the way local planning works, its restrictions and how to manoeuvre around them to try and get your dream home.
Don’t just rely on an architect’s website – social media is often a great place to see the work in progress that perhaps hasn’t made it to the website yet. Social media also tends to be less formal than a website; you may be able to get some clues about whether the practice or architect you are considering will be a good match for you.
After careful consideration, you may be happy to place your trust in one particular architect – in which case, you need to make sure you are happy with their proposal and away you go. Or, you may invite proposals from more than one architect. Consider these carefully but remember that the difference between fees will be a tiny proportion of your overall spend. A good architect will design, specify and manage your project efficiently and add more value to your home.
Kate Cooper is an architect and founder of Berkshire-based Absolute Architecture. Call or visit us online for more information.