How to find the perfect architect

Check out our expert guide to finding the right architect for your project

If you’ve put off using an architect because of the cost, or fear you’ll be ridiculed, check out our guide to affordable, approachable professionals.

Architects cut stress and mistakes by: 

• Finding the right builders for the job

• Suggesting materials you or your builder wouldn’t know about or have considered.

• Translating your ideas and anxieties into practical solutions, often finding space and light where you didn’t think possible.

• Guiding you through the dull bits like the regulations and contractual obligations you need to deal with.

How to find your architect

• First off, spend some time talking to friends or even knocking on doors of homes that have inspired you, as word of mouth is always the best recommendation.

• Visit www.ribafind.org/dom.asp. It’s the search engine of the Royal Institute of British Architects and a brilliant resource for looking up architects in your area according to your budget and the type of work you want done.

• RIBA also offers a free five-day referral service tailor-made to your project, recommending up to five architects. Simply complete the online form.

By this stage you should have a short list: 

• Phone them all first to find out whether they’re available to do your project – some architects are booked months in advance.

• Arrange interviews with at least three of the available firms, ideally meeting the team who would actually work on your project.

• Be prepared – bring as much information about your project as you can.

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• Ask how they generally liaise with you, the client, so you can agree on how much time you expect face-to-face, online, on-site etc.

Choosing the right architect

By this stage you should have a shortlist: 

• Phone them all first to find out whether they’re available to do your project – some architects are booked months in advance.

• Arrange interviews with at least three of the available firms, ideally meeting the team who would actually work on your project.

• Be prepared – bring as much information about your project as you can.

• Ask how they generally liaise with you, the client, so you can agree on how much time you expect face-to-face, online, on-site etc.

• When making your decision, go for the architect whose skills and experience are most suited to your project, but bear in mind the team you were most comfortable with.

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