- Start with a well-considered and concise brief:
Before you approach any potential architects, you should put together a written brief, including your design wish list and all your likes and dislikes. You should also prepare a “visual brief” such as a scrap book of photos and magazine articles of houses and rooms that you love the look of.
- Do your homework:
To create a short list of potential architects, you should review the websites of all the architects you are considering as well as a google search of any recent articles or posts from each firm.
When researching each architect, pay attention to the size of the firm, the main design style of their projects (i.e. traditional / historic, conservative, Mediterranean, contemporary or cutting edge modern?), their geographic location and the awards they have won.
- Initial Architect Meeting: Have a face to face meeting with the three architects you like the look of and ask the following questions:
- Who will be the actual architect working on your project?
- Will they work for a fixed fee?
- What are the main stages of the design process and how long will each stage take?
- What things will not be included in their quoted fee and what will be the total approximate cost of these exclusions?
- Request three written and three verbal references from previous clients.
- How do they handle the town planning process and what extra costs will be involved?
- How do they handle the “interior design” process and is this included in their fee proposal?
- How do you feel about working in collaboration with a builder throughout the design and documentation process?
- What is their current work load and how quickly could they commence the design work for this project?
- Trust your gut:
You will probably be working with this architect from between six months to two years so it is very important to have the right personality mix and to choose someone you will enjoy interacting with.
Remember to allow for additional contingency costs and time over runs as these will become a reality as you progress through the design process.