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How to Approach and Choose an Architect/Designer for Your Home Project

You're excited and ready to get started on your home extension and remodel project. The first thing on your list is completing the design plans, so you start hunting for an architect. 

Start Your Search

You ask your family, friends, and anyone you know if they can recommend one. You do a Google search for ‘architects near me,’ and now you’re on a chase to find the perfect match.

After some searching, you finally find an architect and begin engaging with them, sharing your ideas and what you want to achieve. However, it’s important to note that just because a professional provides drawing services—such as floor plans, planning applications, and building regulations—doesn't mean they are an architect.

Verify Credentials

In the UK and many other parts of the world, "architect" is a protected title. The drawings produced by architects are the result of their extensive training and experience. Therefore, once you reach the stage of speaking to an architect, it’s crucial to verify their credentials. In the UK, you can do this by checking the Architects Registration Board (ARB) website.

Understanding the Role

The role of an architect is quite extensive and requires varying areas of expertise. Most architects cover the role fully; however, many specialise in specific areas. Architects, like all professionals, are individuals with unique approaches to projects and how they deliver them. 

Since every project is a complex journey, it's best to find an Architect with whom you feel comfortable. They will be delivering essential parts of your project, laying the foundation for your future home. Effective communication and a sense of support are key.

Initial Contact

Arranging a call is a good first step. If your project involves multiple decision-makers, ensure that everyone attends the call. This allows you to ask questions and make an informed decision about the right Architect for your project.

Clarify Your Needs

Before the call, establish what’s important to you in achieving your dream home. This varies for every homeowner. Look for an Architect whose values and approach align closely with your vision. For example, some homeowners prefer a local Architect, while others seek someone with specialist expertise.

My clients from across the country choose to work with me because my 15+ years as an Architect and Spatial Designer help them discover what’s realistically possible with their home. I use my Inside Out Design Method™ to make the best use of space, ensuring their future dream home meets their functional needs and future desires.

Preparation Tips

Preparation is key, even for the initial call with a prospective Architect. Avoid distractions like rushing around, driving, or being otherwise occupied, as this can cause you to miss opportunities to ask important questions and take note of crucial information. A bit of light research on the Architect beforehand can help you prepare some questions and gain clarity on their working style.

What’s important for you to get the best experience of designing and building your dream home?

Here are some ideas that may give you food for thought:

  • Portfolio Review: Get a sense of their style and the quality of their work. Discuss their previous projects which are similar to yours to see how they’ve handled similar challenges and opportunities. Gain insights from past clients into their experience working with the Architect. This can help you understand the Architect’s strengths and areas for improvement.

  • Budget and Costs: Be upfront about your budget and ask how the architect can work with it. Understanding their fee structure and any additional costs early on can prevent misunderstandings later.

  • Sustainability and Innovation: If sustainability is important to you, ask the Architect about their approach to environmentally-friendly design and materials. See if they incorporate sustainable practices and innovations into their projects. Explore how the Architect integrates new technologies and innovative solutions into their designs to enhance functionality and efficiency.

  • Project Management: Clarify the Architect’s role and responsibilities throughout the project. Understanding their involvement at different stages ensures clear expectations.

  • Legal and Regulatory Knowledge: Verify the Architect’s knowledge of local building codes and regulations. Ensuring compliance can save time and money by avoiding legal issues.

  • Design Philosophy and Creativity: Understand the Architect’s design philosophy and how it aligns with your vision. This can help ensure that their creative approach matches your expectations. Discuss how the Architect approaches problem-solving and whether they can offer creative solutions to potential challenges in your project.

I recommend not devoting the entire call to discussing ALL of the above, but rather taking some time (before the call) to consider and determine what’s important for you and your project. This preparation will help you in finding the right Architect/Designer for you.

The goal of the call should be to establish whether you both can work together. The rest will take care of itself.

You’ll get much more out of the conversation if you’re settled in a quiet space, giving your full attention to the call, and ready to ask your questions.

Here are a few points to base your conversation around:

  • Ask insightful questions to determine if they are the right architect/designer for your future home and if you can work well with them.

  • Understand how they approach projects and help homeowners achieve the best designs for their homes.

  • Discuss timelines and when your project can be booked into their schedule.

  • Determine the next steps and when you can start.

Taking these steps will help ensure you choose the right Architect for your home project, setting the foundation for a successful and fulfilling journey toward your dream home.

Ready to Start Your Home Project?

Choosing the right Architect is a crucial step in turning your dream home into a reality. Let's find out if we're the right fit for your project. Schedule a free introductory call with me, and we'll discuss your vision, explore the possibilities for your space, and see how my Inside Out Design Method™ can help you achieve your goals.

Schedule Your Free Call here today and let's start creating your future dream home together!


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