How to Choose an Architect

Finding the right architect – who shares the same vision as you and is committed to bringing it to life – is essential to a stress-free and successful building project.

Many people are discouraged from using an architect as they don’t know where to start. With so many out there to choose from, how do you know you’ve selected the right one for you? This can be a difficult process to navigate, especially if you haven’t done it before. Of course, the most important factors to consider are if you feel comfortable working with them and if they are capable of meeting your vision.

Our Surrey architect experts have created the following guide to finding the perfect architect for your project. Let’s get started.


Why You Should Get an Architect

To get the most out of your design project, there are several aspects that you will want your architect to cover. Your architect will manage the pre-construction phase of the building process and is a very important part of the project. They will provide the design and ensure all the correct documentation is in order before anything else starts. Getting things right at this stage of the project will allow the rest of the process to operate smoothly, saving you time and money, and reducing stress.

An architect will also:

  • Find suitable materials and builders for the job, reducing the possibility of errors and mistakes.
  • They will be able to translate your ideas and worries into a practical solutions due to their experience and expert knowledge.


How to Find Your Perfect Architect

The first thing to do when beginning your search for an architect is to speak to friends and family to try and obtain as much word-of-mouth knowledge and recommendations. You may even consider knocking on the doors of homes that you love in your local area. Nothing can beat the recommendation of someone you trust.

Next, you should visit the Royal Institute of British Architects website, and use their search engine to discover and research architects that are located close to you. Likewise, each architect in the UK must be registered with the Architects Registration Board, so searching here is another great alternative.

Once you have a short list of possible architects, you should contact them all with a list of key questions to further narrow down your options.

  • Are they available to work on your project when you want to do it?
  • Can they confirm they are a registered architect?
  • What services do they offer?
  • When can they meet face-to-face for a project discussion?
  • What is their communication style like?
  • What is their experience, and can they provide you with references from past successful projects?
  • How do they charge?
  • Can they deliver the project on time and within the budget?

5 Things to Consider when Choosing an Architect

What to Consider When Choosing an Architect

The architects at Surrey Design Studio have listed the five golden rules when it comes to choosing the right architect.

1. Establish your brief first

Before you even begin searching for an architect, it is essential to have a solid brief established. This is because when you contact an architect, they will want to know exactly what you want to do so they can determine whether or not they are capable of achieving this for you. While you don’t need a list of everything, it is best to have an understanding of the following:

  • The architectural styles that you like.
  • The materials that you are interested in.
  • The number of bedrooms and bathrooms.

2. Ask to see their past portfolio

When contacting potential architects that you have found, one of your first questions should be to see examples of their past work. Not only will this confirm that they have the experience and expertise to manage your project, but also help you understand if your own preferences align with their architectural style. It is very important that you like their work and are confident in their abilities to deliver the style of home that you are looking for.

3. Be direct about their fees

Even if you’re someone that is uncomfortable talking about money, you must be direct when discussing an architect’s fees and do so before you agree to work with them. This will avoid any confusion at a later stage, and reduce the chances of a conflict occurring that may in turn affect the success of the project.

Some architects may charge by the hour, a flat fee, or as a percentage of the total building costs. You may get a vague estimate about expected costs, which you should definitely push back on to gain further clarity. If your list of potential architects give you significantly different fees, then you should ask them to explain and break down the costs to help you understand which one is worth your money and right for you.

If they respect your budget and are transparent when it comes to cost, that is a great sign.


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