5 Questions Property Developers Should Ask their Architect- BLOG 4 of 5


Please see the 4th of 5 blog posts from Edward Acres, RIBA, Founder and Managing Director of Acres Architects

In this series Edward tackles the most common questions that we get asked by professional property developers.

To read the 1st blog click here

  1. The Developer: “What sectors of work do you have experience in?”

Before I start I want to say “I love this question!”

Because of the way we have positioned ourselves in the market we focus on one sector and do it in a BIG way!  More on that shortly. First let’s analyse this question.

Fundamentally as a developer what you are trying to establish if the architect has done your particular type of project before and know how to do it.  As an inexperienced architect in the past I would have quickly returned aiming to keep my options open by stating:

“We have done, ‘X’, we also have done a bit of ‘Y’ and obviously we have done ‘Z’, but we can take on most projects to be honest……..” blah blah blah…

I quickly realised that this is a sure-fire way to become instantly forgotten.

The reason I love this question is that in my opinion all developers should ask this and I would not suggest that you change it in anyway. It is simple and to the point and we certainly get you an answer that will help you decide if the person in front of you is the most appropriate architect for you.

Ultimately as a developer you want to know that you are talking to a specialist in the particular type of development you are pursuing at that time. If you are doing a Residential Development for open market sale houses. It might not be pragmatic to be working with an Architect who is known for doing shopping centres and Retail.  They probably won’t be able to ‘Optimise’ the scheme for you.

So, when you get your response after asking this question try to ensure that your architect is confident and to the point. This will demonstrate that they know themselves just as much as they know how to be an architect. Most architects will be able to talk to the end of time about ‘Local Policy’ and recent changes to Building Regulations (which are important, see later) but overall if they have no experience in that particular field you are not going to get the optimum design.

i.e. An Opera singer will be able to belt out a fantastic tune, but they might not be the best person to act as a children’s entertainer at a 7-year olds birthday party. Both disciplines can be fantastic in their own right but, even a spectacular talent in the wrong place and you will have bored and miserable 7-year olds and a dissatisfied Theatre Audience.

Any good Architect (and practice) will know their strengths and play to them, like any talented artist, sport person, or indeed businessperson. So, after asking the question above, if the response is anything other than

“We specialise in….”

You might be speaking to someone who is inexperienced and has not yet found their feet, OR they are desperate for work which is also a sign of potential bad things to come.

As a young fledgling Architect when attempting to win commissions I would often fall at this first hurdle in the hope of not limiting myself. But I’ve come to understand that clients want to know they are dealing with ‘The Best’ at what ever they are doing.

For example,…

When networking or just meeting potential clients for the first time. Our response will always be as follows:

“Great Question!  We are proud to be specialist in residential development, which includes build to rent, student accommodation, master-planning developments later life projects, social housing and bespoke one-off homes for private clients.”

This statement hopefully speaks for itself.

It is also worth acknowledging that even in social situations as a qualified Architect, when meeting people for the first time and being asked upon your choice of profession.  The second question after saying…

“Oh, I’m an Architect”

Is usually

“Oh cool, what sort of stuff do you do?”

Even in these specific social situations a long winded ‘Jack of all trades’ answer will rapidly lose their interest. Whereas a specific dedicated specialism sticks in people’s minds.

So I would encourage all Property Developers when choosing your Architect to dig deeper and find out the specific experience of the practice you are looking to use as assuming that ‘every Architect can do that’ may leave you wanting…


If you’re looking to start a project and you would like a list of the local authorities Acres Architects have worked with, we’d love to hear from you.

 Contact us:

Website / https://www.acresarchitects.co.uk/enquiries

Tel / 0115 838 9738

Email /  info@acresarchitects.co.uk

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

Kind regards,

Edward Acres, RIBA

If you’re looking to start a new project we’d love to hear from you. Call 0115 838 9738 or email info@acresarchitects.co.uk

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