How do I find an architect?
If you are looking for the best architect for house extension in your area, you need to do your research. Ask people you trust to recommend architects.
You can find a list of architects by searching online databases. The Architects Registration Board must be registered for every architect working in the UK. This can help you start your search.
The Home Owners Alliance offers a “find an architect” service that allows you to find professionals in your local area. After completing a few details about your property, you will be able see a list local architects that you can contact.
How do I shortlist architects?
The number of different job titles that an architect has can make it difficult to find the right one. A Registered Architect is the best choice if you are looking for an architect to help you with a large project. For smaller home improvements, Architects, Architectural Technicians and Surveyors would usually be responsible. There are no hard and fast rules.
These are the things you should take into consideration when selecting architects.
- Are they registered with Architects Registration Board Every architect must be registered by law. Make sure to shortlist an architect who is. This ensures a minimum standard of work and provides professional indemnity insurance for you if something goes wrong or you need to seek compensation.
- Is this a chartered arhitect? This may be preferable, since chartered architects are subject to a strict professional code, which means that they must act honorably, independently, and efficiently.
- Which type of architect is it? Are you looking for someone creative to bring your space into life or someone who can execute your ideas perfectly?
- What level service are you looking for? Do you need designs to help determine your budget and obtain planning permission? Are you looking for detailed architectural plans? Do you require someone to supervise the entire process from start to finish?
- Are you likely to encounter problems regarding building control or planning permission ? It’s a smart idea to select architects who are familiar with the local planning policy and local attitudes of your local authority and have a track record in successful applications.
- Are you able to live in a listed building. If you have experience with architects, you’ll want one.
- Are you concerned about the budget. Do you worry about your budget? If so, find an architect who can manage costs well and won’t push for expensive extras.
How can I choose an architect?
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of architects, it is important to get in touch with them to confirm that they are available to work on your project. You should give them a brief, and then schedule interviews.
There are only a few steps that can be taken to choose an architect.
- Ask each architect to provide a brief about the work you are looking for, as well as a rough cost. Then, ask them if this is the type of work they do and if they are available. Good architects are often the most accessible. You are less likely to be disappointed if you give the architect a clear and precise brief.
- Meet at least three architects at home to discuss your project in detail. Download a form to help you organize the conversation and ask smart questions of the architects.
- Ask to view their portfolio, visit the website, and even tour other houses they’ve done. Ask for past clients’ testimonials (if they refuse, ask why).
- Make sure that you like their style . Different architects have different feelings.
- Do you feel like you can work well together with the architect?
- Ask them about their fees. Different architects charge different amounts and in different ways. You can choose to pay them by the hour or a flat fee (for smaller jobs) or a percentage of total build costs (for larger jobs). There may also be a 30% upfront payment for initial design work. You should ask them for a more detailed estimate of the expected costs. Ask your architects to explain if they charge different fees.
- Find out their level of involvement. What level of detail will they provide? What detail will they provide?
- Compare like-for-like – fees compared with the level of service to be provided.
It’s now time to instruct the architect you have chosen.
How do you instruct your architect
You should usually instruct your architect during a meeting. You need to communicate clearly with your architect about the scope of work, timings and budget. The payment schedule and penalties for not paying will be discussed.
After the meeting, your architect will send you a detailed appointment note. If the project is complicated, it may be several pages long.
Include the following information in your appointment letter:
- The work is described in detail
- Budget estimates
- A preliminary program of work – What will happen when?
- Information about fees and payment plans
- Information about what expenses and costs can be claimed
- What services they will provide in this regard and whether you will require planning permission
- If they will provide information required to comply with building regulations,
- Party wall — do you need a party agreement?
- Their professional indemnity insurance
The appointment letter should include a contract detailing terms and a list of services. These will be called the “Conditions for Appointment for an Architect on a Domestic Project” or “Small Project Services Schedule” if the architect is a member of RIBA. Before signing, make sure to read it carefully and ask any questions.