If you are looking to renovate or build a new home and are looking for something unique, unusual or exciting, you are going to need to contract the services of an architect. Architects have the expertise to turn your ideas into a reality and the experience to know what works and what doesn’t. There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing an architect for your project and it is important that you find someone you can trust to do the job well.

Before you do much else, you will want to get an idea of what is out there by looking at the work of various architects. You can do this in a number of ways:

  • Many architects have examples of past projects on their websites
  • Request a portfolio or work samples
  • Look at architecture magazines, websites or blogs
  • View entries and winners in architectural competitions

Looking at a wide range of work will help you to understand the possibilities of architecture and give you inspiration or your own project. Taking the time to view a variety of work will also give you an understanding of the stylistic differences between architects and points of comparison.

Shopping around is crucial for something as important as an architecturally-designed project. A good rule of thumb is that you should consult with and seriously consider at least three different architects before choosing one for your project. This allows you to draw comparisons between them and see a range of interpretations of your concept.

Reputation

The first thing you should ask yourself when evaluating an architect is whether or not they are registered. Membership to various organisations demonstrates that the architect has high enough standards for their own work to be included in these organisations. That a professional body is willing to give membership to the firm indicates that they live up to the reputation of the membership organisation and that they are willing and able to adhere to the guidelines that have been set down.

 

Another good way to get an idea of the reputation of an architect is to ask around

  • Ask people you know who have used the services of architects in the past about their experiences and who they used
  • Ask any construction and design experts you have had good experiences with
  • Request references from past clients who have used the architects you are considering
  • The websites of firms may list testimonials and recommendations of past clients

This will also give you a more in-depth understanding of what you should be looking for. Don’t just listen to the good experiences that you hear about – the negative experiences are also useful to hear about as they give you warnings about what to look out for.

Your Ideas Are Key

Architectural design is a collaborative process between you and your architect. In order for true collaboration to take place, you need an architect who will listen to and comprehend your thoughts about the design of your project and then translate them into a practical design that both embodies and improves upon your ideas.

Honesty is essential for both you and the architect when you are consulting: you should be completely honest about factors such as your budget, your timeline and your expectations, and in return you should expect complete honesty about the anticipated cost of the project, the firm’s capabilities and their capacity to complete the project in a timely manner.

A good architect is one who listens to and is respectful of your ideas while offering you expert advice to turn what you envision into a reality. If you take your time shopping around, make yourself familiar with what’s out there, and aren’t afraid of asking questions, you will find using an architect for your project to be a satisfying and fulfilling experience.