9 Questions You Should Always Ask Your Architect

22nd September 2021

Planning a home renovation, or just curious about what questions you should be asking your architect? Read our blog post to find out.
Architects are the professionals in charge of designing and building houses. They have many skills that can help bring your vision for your new house into reality. Asking the right questions before hiring an architect is important, so we’ve put together a list of things you should ask when interviewing them. Whether it’s finding out their qualifications, how they work with clients, where they get inspiration from etc., these will give you a better understanding of whether this could be the perfect match for you!

Is there a charge for an initial meeting?

When you begin a new project it is important to consider all your options, this can take the form of several consultations with potential architects to gain not only inspiration but also and feel for the architects to ensure you make the right choice. The last thing you want when planning a new and potentially expensive project is to discover you will be charged for the initial consultation.

If your potential architect does have an initial consultation fee it is important to discuss this with them. What will they bring to the project that warrants this fee and why should you choose them over another architect.

Can you confirm that you are a registered architect?

Many companies will title themselves as architectural designers rather than architects. This comes with an important distinction. To be an architect is to have the relevant knowledge and licenses to ensure you can work within the planning laws of your country and ensure your design will be safe and fit for purpose. Additionally, you must be registered with the Architects Registration Board, this database is publicly available and you can confirm if there are registered architects.

Do you have a signature style?

When you begin an extension you will likely have a style or initial plan for the space. Therefore you should ensure that your vision for the project matches the style of any potential architect’s previous work. A good architect should be able to take your initial inspiration and develop this rather than redesign it. That being said it is worth listening to an architect option for the best use of the space and most long-lasting design.

What services do you offer?

Many architects will offer several services all based on how involved there will be in the project. You must ensure you and the architect fully understand what they will be responsible for and when their legal duties will end. For example, if appointed as the contract administrator your architect will be responsible for all aspects of the project until its completion. Whereas if only contacted of the planning permission process you must understand that it will be your responsibility or the responsibility of your appointed contact administrator.

When will we be able to meet?

Many of us work during the week and so do most architects’ offices, for this reason, you should communicate your availability clearly to ensure you can discuss your project without rushing the process. Also, it is best practice to clarify points of contact for yourself and your architect so to ensure easy communication when required.

What is your track record of successful planning applications?

If you anticipate your project running into issues with planning permission you should discuss this with your architect. They are perfectly placed to advise the best course of action to ensure your project gets the green light. You should therefore discuss your architect’s success rate for previous projects.

How do you charge?

Architects can request payment in an assortment of different ways, from day rate and fixed amounts to a percentage for total project cost. You should pay particular attention to this as if your project runs over budget this can become an issue very quickly. Make sure to have an open and honest conversation with your architect to ensure you both have a complete understanding of when and how you will pay your architect.

Do you already have a builder in mind?

Following many years in the industry, many architects have built strong relationships with builders and construction firms. As you, the architect and the builders will be working very closely on the project. Is it important you have very clear paths of communication and preexisting relationships can be a great benefit for this?

How do I know I can trust you to complete my project on time and on a budget?

Budgets are an integral part of most projects and you should ensure you are open with your architect as to the budget you have. Your chosen architect should prioritize your budgetary concerns to ensure the project can go ahead without issue. Try to ask about any previous issues they have had with projects and don’t be afraid to visit properties they have worked on in the past and discuss issues with previous clients. Again it is important to be open and honest with your architect to guarantee a successful project.

Now that you have a better understanding of what it takes to start off on the right foot with your architect, we hope you’ll feel confident about starting this process. If not, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask us any questions! We’re happy to help in any way we can. Remember these 10 key points before going into a meeting with an architect or engineer for the first time so that you know what’s expected from both parties during the project planning phase. Contact Detailed Planning For More if you need more information about how our team works together to plan projects efficiently and successfully.

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