If you are planning a large change to your home or you would like to build your own home, there is a very good chance you will need the services of an architect at some point. Whether it is to submit your plans to your local authority or to simply help you make a decision about what you want, hiring an architect can be daunting.
So what do you need to know about your architect and what are the questions you should be asking before you hire them?
The Royal Institute of British Architects is the body which oversees architects in this country and you should always make sure the person you are hiring is a member. It is a sign that your architect has reached high levels of professional excellence. Members have access to training, technical services and publications which help them to stay informed about what is going on in the industry. It may not be compulsory for your architect to be a member but it helps you to know they are properly qualified. RIBA members can describe themselves as “chartered”.
The Architects Registration Board holds a list of the registered architects in the UK. This will prove they are qualified. This is the minimum registration you should accept.
What will your architect do?
A good architect will question you about your needs right from the beginning. They will help you take your ideas from inside your head onto paper, helping you to visualise them. In addition they will be able to help you get planning permissions and will even liaise with your builder to ensure the project is going smoothly.
What will it cost?
Your architect will work out their fees based on the total cost of the construction or as a lump sum which you have agreed in advance. You can pick and choose the services you wish to use from your architect, which may include making up the drawings, submitting them, dealing with the project manager and ongoing consultation. This will obviously greatly affect the amount the services cost.
Get a contract
It is vitally important that your architect provides you with a contract explaining their services and the extent of the ongoing help they will provide. If you do not have this you may find you have some unexpected bills. Make sure you have one person who is your point of contact and always have a contingency for any emergencies.