5 Questions Property Developers should ask when selecting a new Architect

#1 in a series of 5 blogs

At Acres Architects we understand that most full time Property Developers will have their ‘Go-to’ Architects.  However, every now and then, there is a need to break the mould and search for pastures new.  The Architecture profession is highly competitive, and Property Developers often find themselves spoilt for choice.

However selecting the correct practice to partner up with is vital to the success of your development.  This is because Property Development is at its best when the appointed consultants, become a team for Developer to Partner up with.

With many years of experience in large scale residential developments in the Buy to rent (BTR) Private Rented Sector (PRS), Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) and Mixed use developments in the UK’s city centres. . Your working relationship with the consultant team appointed on the project is of upmost importance.

After more than 12 years of running an Architects Practice I have been asked a number of questions, some of which come up time and again. In this series of 5 blogs I’ll be tackling and answering the most  common ones.

You will see in the series that a simple re-phrasing of the common questions can lead to a much better understanding of the practice itself and future positive working relationship.

I hope that you find this useful.

  1. The Developer: “Why should we / I choose you. We have not worked with you or heard of you before?”

As a Practice Owner, my response to this is always the same…

Acres Architects: “If that is your first question, you should consider staying with your current Architect!”

 

If the first question is testing or probing for a sale pitch, the demonstration of professional or mutual respect is perhaps lacking.  In the past I have fallen into the trap of working hard and aiming to win work after following potential clients down this rabbit hole by acting the salesman to a point where our true value becomes overlooked. Even if work is won this way, in my experience it rarely leads to a positive long term professional relationship. It’s not the best start to a project which can lead to non-architecture related project hic-ups. This is bad for our staff moral and bad for developer consistency in projects. Planners don’t respond well to that.

A better way is to ask is…

The Developer: “We have been given a recommendation / found your practice and we would like to hear more about what ‘value’ you feel you could add to our project?”

 

As a practice owner this demonstrates to me that I am dealing with someone who is already keen to work with us and wants to get to know more about our practice to see if it would be a good fit. Therefore my response would be more along the lines of…

Acres Architects: “That’s’ a great question. We enjoy the opportunity to demonstrate our value through…. X, Y and Z please pick up the phone and call the studio if you want to know those specifics

Ultimately its obvious that the questions are incredibly similar in their nature but entirely different in the value of information returned. You will get to know so much more about what makes the key stakeholders in that practice work and ultimately if they truly are the right practice for you to begin a working partnership with.

As things go any professional practice owner knows there costs like the back of their hand and putting together a ‘Quote’ is simple. Because of the way the industry works, cost between practices are not going to fluctuate massively and in the grand scheme of a project can be relatively small in comparison to overall investment. So it truly is more important to find the ‘Most Appropriate’ not just the best price etc.

That’s it for the first blog but we’ll be answering more of the common questions next week. In the meantime if you’re looking to start a new project or have any questions we’d love to hear from you,

Contact us:

Tel / 0115 838 9738

Email / info@acresarchitects.co.uk

You can also check out our previous work on www.acrearchitects.co.uk/portfolio

Kind regards,

Edward Acres, RIBA

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