Finding And Choosing A Good Architect

When embarking on any building project, whether it is an addition, restoration, extension, conservatory, loft conversion, or constructing a home form scratch, it is usual, and sensible, to employ an architect. Finding and choosing the right architect to direct any project is a decision that should not be taken lightly.

The majority of people looking to employ an new architect will be doing so for the first time. So before beginning a potentially life changing and expensive effort, it is essential to find the right professional for the job.

The Role of an Architect

The primary role of an architect is to interpret the client’s ideas and draw up professional plans for any building work. Although it is possible to employ an architect solely for this purpose, they will also offer to fulfill a whole range of other tasks to ensure that the entire building process progresses smoothly.

Depending on the desires of the client, and possibly the budget, an architect can help fill out relevant applications, research planning permission and legislation, hire contactors, surveyors, subcontractors and site manage the project to make certain that the plans are followed accurately.

Decide What The Architect Needs To Do

It is highly advisable for any client to carry out extensive independent research before embarking on any project. An architect will help to develop ideas into reality, however, having a strong idea of what are the aims, scale, budget, style and timescale of the potential project will make the choice of architect much easier.

Finding and Choosing the right Architect

Once there are clear aims and expectations for the project, you may begin looking for an architect. It is likely you have heard of some well-known architecture firms. However, unless the project is very large, or has a sizeable budget, it is unlikely that a household name such as Norman Foster or Frank Gehry will be available.

Personal recommendations can be a good place to start – although this can backfire. Every project has different requirements and an architect who was perfect for one project, or for one client, may be totally inappropriate for another.

A more measured approach is to contact the appropriate professional association, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in the UK or the American Institute of Architects in the US, for advice. Both RIBA and AIA have online architect finders where accredited firms can be narrowed down according to location, project type and scale.

The next step is to research these firms - most will have a website - and then contact a selection of architects who have experience working on projects of a similar style and scale.

Discuss the project thoroughly with the potential firms; look through previous work, and if possible, visit some of the architect’s built work, before requesting quotes form several firms.

A Good Working Relationship

No matter how impressive a firm’s portfolio, or how cheap the quote may be, it is impossible to underestimate the importance of having a good relationship with an architect.

The building process is often long and stressful, it is essential to have an amicable relation and understanding with the project’s architect to ensure that the project is successfully released – hopefully on-time and under budget.