Whether you’re modifying an existing property or building a structure from scratch, working with the right architect can transform your project. An architect’s role is to design developments, buildings, extensions, and/or renovations, as well as creating the blueprints and technical drawings that are required for the project to go ahead.
With the success of the work largely dependent on the architect’s vision and work, it’s well worth doing some research to find the right person to work with. To help you get started, take a look at these four things to look out for when you’re searching for the right architect:
1. Expertise and Specialisms
There are many different types of architecture and, therefore, many different types of architects. Some professionals will focus solely on commercial developments, for example, whereas others may work with residential homeowners to reconstruct houses. Similarly, some architects may specialize in contemporary design, while others may have particular expertise in renovated historical buildings.
When you’re considering which architect is right for your project, be sure to find someone who specializes in the type of building or development you’re working on. This will make it easier to align your visions and achieve an outcome that meets your requirements.
2. Professional Bodies and Insurance
Choosing an architect who is a member of a professional body, such as The American Institute of Architects (AIA) or The Society of American Registered Architects (SARA), can be an effective way to ensure their credentials are beyond reproach. Reputable professional bodies have strict membership requirements, so you can be confident in your architect’s skill and knowledge when you work with a professional who is a member of a recognized professional organization.
Additionally, most professional bodies require their members to have appropriate professional insurance in place. Even if your preferred architect isn’t a member of a professional body, it’s vital to check that they have the relevant insurance in place.
If an architect makes an error while working on your project, for example, it could have significant financial consequences. If they have architect insurance, however, you should find it easier to claim these losses back. With professional insurance from a reputable provider it’s likely that your architect will have a range of policies in place, including general liability, professional liability, and even injury liability cover.
3. Previous Work
Before hiring an architect, ask to see examples of their previous work. If an architect is happy to show you the designs they have created or images of buildings they’re designed, for example, it will give you an opportunity to see whether their work matches your preferred style and taste.
If you’re working with an architect who is based in your local area, you might also find that you’re able to visit some of the buildings they’ve designed. It’s not unusual for previous clients to agree to show people around their homes or commercial buildings at the designer’s request, so be sure to ask if this is possible when you’re interviewing potential architects.
4. Working Style
Renovating, modifying, or building a structure can be a challenging process, so it’s important to ensure that your architect’s working style complements your own. Some architects restrict their role to design, for example, while others oversee the management of the project from start to finish. By discussing your requirements in advance and finding out an architect prefers to take on projects, you can ensure that you’re on the same page.
This avoids potential miscommunication and also enables you to access any additional professional assistance you may require. If you’re hiring an architect who is going to design and create technical drawings but not oversee the building work, for example, you’ll have the opportunity to hire a project manager as well, if you choose to.
Do You Need an Architect?
When you have a clear idea of how you want a building to look, it’s easy to assume that you won’t need an architect. However, their expertise can be invaluable when you’re updating or building a structure, particularly when it comes to transforming visual plans into technical blueprints. By finding the right architect, you can increase the success of your project and ensure that your plans are turned into a reality.