At Acres Architects we understand that selecting an architect to help you with your project is an exciting but potentially nerve-racking time. We know that it’s a big decision and we want you to feel in control at every step of the way. Most clients we work with have a number of questions to help them make that decision but having gone through the process recently myself I hope that the list below helps you making that all important decision.
1. Are you an Architect?
Sounds like an odd question to start with but I certainly didn’t know, before I came to work at Acres Architects, that all is not quite as you’d expect.
Architects can only call themselves that if they are fully qualified and registered with the arb (Architects Registration Board) The title ‘Architect is protected by UK law so unless they are registered they shouldn’t use that specific word to describe themselves. Some companies refer to themselves as Architectural Designers or something similar and although they offer broadly the same service they may not have the same level of skill and / or experience as a qualified Architect.
Typically to gain an Architectural qualification it takes 7 years of education and practical experience. It’s also worth noting that the arb regulates the industry to make sure the correct standards are met. Check here to see if your Architect is registered.
2 – Can I see your previous work? Of course go to their social channels and check out their website. But don’t be afraid to ask for details of their previous clients to view the work and, when permission is granted, speak to them directly. They’ll give you the honest feedback to set your mind at ease.
3 – Who will work on my project? All practices will have architects with various levels of experience and qualification but don’t be afraid to ensure that you’re in good hands and work will be double-checked before applications for planning are sent. It’ll save you time and money on your project if you get this right first time.
4 – How will we keep in touch on the project? Ask how will they keep you in the loop on progress, will this be virtual or face-to-face meetings? How quickly will they aim to respond to enquiries for example.
5 – Can I meet the team. Make sure you’re on the same page on what you want for your project. Make sure you know you want to work with them, it’s important to know you can get along on a personal level so you can work together on this project. Don’t forget to ask them if there’s a charge for a meeting. At Acres we do not charge to meet with you to discuss your project, but some may.
Do they share your passion for your project? Trust your instincts on this one as this is a collaborative process and you’ll need to be able to work closely with the team on the project.
6 – What stages are there in the process? – At Acres Architects we pride ourselves in being able to manage the stages you need to. We work to the RIBA plan of works and can manage each and every stage or just the ones you need us to. It’s up to you but it’s a way to get everyone on the same page early on.
7 – How long will the design stage take? Obviously, this is project specific but experienced architects will be able to give you a good estimation of the time scale involved again to help you plan.
8 – How much will it cost? – It’s a perfectly reasonable question as you’ll want to know how much of the project budget you’ll need to allocate to Architectural fees but it’s actually a better question to ask, how do you charge?
There are several ways that Architects typically charge.
8.1 – Charge by Hourly Rate
8.2 – Fixed fee quoting
8.3 – Capped fees
8.4 – Time @ cost + Architects profit margin
8.5 – Percentage of construction cost
At Acres Architects we generally operate with fixed fee quoting to ensure you know exactly what the charges will be and at what stage they will apply so you can plan accordingly. We know for most clients this is a hugely important investment and we understand there can be some apprehension. We’ll guide you through as much or as little of the process as you need. But we’ll be sure to discuss this with you so you get what you need from us.
9 – What experience do you have in my area / my type of project?
In addition to seeing the previous projects make sure you see some work that is similar to the project you’re looking at. Not only will it give you confidence that this practice has the experience in this type of project you should be able to get a better insight into the time the process will take and a good indication of costs involved.
10 – Can you recommend a builder / contractor?
A common question and again one from personal experience I’ve asked before. Most, if not all, Architects practices will have really good working relationships with building contractors, particularly those based locally.
Acres Architects have a list of really great contractors and we ensure we match their skills with your project. Whilst we can’t make any guarantees about their work, we are happy to help you narrow your search for the right contractor for your project.
Like most things the more you prepare the smother the process will be, for everyone. If you do want to discuss your project please don’t hesitate to contact us.
I hope this helps,
Marketing Manager – Acres Architects
If you’re considering a new project we’d love to here about it.
Website / acresarchitects.co.uk/enquiries
Tel / 0115 838 9738
Email / firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also check out our previous work on acresarchitects.co.uk/portfolio