Appointing an Architect
If you are planning a new build or any major renovations to a building or structure, it may be wise to get expert advice, but how should you go about appointing an architect for your project? It's a good idea to start by checking whether or not they are registered with the Architect's Registration Board - this is a mandatory stipulation for all architects. It's also worth finding out if they are currently a member of the industry body - The Royal Institute of British Architects - however, this is not a compulsory requirement.
Many architects get their work via word of mouth i.e. referrals from previous jobs. Certainly, this can be a great way to ensure that the architect you choose has the experience and credentials to get the job completed. If possible, ask around for references, or search online to view previous customer testimonials, both of these can be very useful methods when you are appointing an architect. Also ask an architect about their previous experience - have they worked on properties similar to yours and how many houses have they actually built?
Once you have performed your research and have identified a number of possible architects in your area, it's time to check their fees and find out how they would go about tackling your job. Generally speaking, an architect will commence with an initial development phase, this usually begins with a feasibility study, designs and any relevant planning and building regulations submissions. You can employ the services of an architect to manage this initial stage only - or to manage the entire development of your project from start to finish.
The fees charged by an architect can differ widely, depending on the work required and the duration of the project. Architects can charge on an hourly rate, at fixed stages throughout a project, or even as a calculation of a percentage of the build. It's vital to check all costs with your architect before any work commences - by not verifying fees you could find yourself out of pocket in the long run. The key is to keep open communication - ask your architect to provide you with quotes for the entire project, along with any possible additional costs - this will allow you to budget accordingly for their services. Also remember to get any architect quotes in written form, to safeguard yourself from any nasty surprises further down the line.