10 questions to ask before hiring an architect

10 questions to ask before hiring an architect

Are you planning on making major alterations to your property? Designing and building is both an investment and commitment so it is important to hire suitable professionals. You will most likely need to hire a qualified architect to draw up detailed specifications and provide building advice on any potential property issues, including planning permission. An architect can also discuss design options and ideas to perhaps broaden your views on what’s achievable. Choosing an architect is a crucial decision to make for a successful build project. We have put together some questions homeowners may need to ask their potential architect.

Are you a registered architect?

Homeowners should be assured that the architect undertaking work on their property can be trusted and can deliver the service required. You must ask the architect to confirm they are registered. You can check if your potential architect is registered with the Architects Registration Board (ARB) for peace of mind. Also many architects are accredited by The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) which is a professional body for architects.

Is your project experience relevant to my project?

Architects specialise in different types of projects so ask the potential architect if they have prior experience in the project you are planning. You should ask how long the architect has worked in your area. It can make a big difference to your project if they are familiar with the area as they will have an understanding of the community and a better knowledge of any potential challenges e.g. planning applications. You should also ask your potential architect what their track record of successful planning applications is.

Do you specialise in a particular style and do you have references?

It is important to clarify what style you would like to achieve so you can make sure your architect has the same vision. Architects usually have a signature style so discuss your project ideas. Make sure they can provide references to gain an unbiased account of past clients experiences with the architect. We recommend homeowners ask the potential architect if they can view their previous projects of similar size and style. Meet the homeowner of the previous project and discuss their experience with the architect. Ask what parts of the project design was the architects creation and the clients. This is a chance for you to get a feel for the company and if their portfolio consists of the type of work you are looking for. It will give you an indication of what experience they have and if they are the right fit for the project.

What is your process when quoting for a project?

Clarify if there is a charge for an initial meeting with the architect. It is important to understand the fees and how they will be charged. You should also ask when payment will need to be made so you can budget correctly. Don’t assume every quote process is the same for each potential architect so always double check. Make sure you discuss your budget with your potential architect to make sure they can keep within it. Communication between you and your architect is crucial to ensure you do not exceed your budget.

Do you have a recommended builder?

Many architects have a builder they can recommend and prefer to work with. They may have a trustworthy circle of contacts that the architect has used before and developed a strong working relationship with. Remember, it’s your decision so you shouldn’t feel pressured into hiring the builder they recommend.

What questions did you ask your potential architect? Let us know in the comments below.

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