Architecture What to consider when choosing an Architect

If you’re planning a renovation, or even building a new home, you will have considered hiring an architect. A registered and experienced architect is essential when considering any renovation or new build. Due to state and government regulations, it is necessary to bring a qualified architect on board to oversee design and planning of a building or an extension to your home.

A professional and experienced architect will be able to:

  1. Communicate effectively with you and produce designs to meet your personal lifestyle, needs and tastes. This is usually done using AutoCAD software which shows you 3D designs of your new development.
  2. Assist you in obtaining planning permission and any specific building regulation approvals when required.
  3. Offer specialist advice and knowledge of different building materials and techniques.
  4. Manage the project and oversee the construction phase.
  5. Complete a detailed contract or letter of agreement, outlining details of the work that needs to be done, as well as noting any required insurance, fees and a payment timetable.

Finding the right architect:

When looking for an architect, the most important thing to check is whether or not the architect is a member of local or national architectural institutes. These can be either state of government related, depending on where you are located in the world. In South Africa, architects could be registered with the South African Institute of Architects, a member of the South African Council For The Architectural Profession and even the International Union of Architects. By ensuring the architect is a member of various government and non-government institutes, you can be sure they he/she is professional, qualified and meets all the required legislation.

Other important considerations:

Insurance is vital. Make sure the architect you are considering has valid PI or Public Liability insurance to cover you or your property should anything go wrong. Any professional, registered architect will have this as standard.
References are common in the architectural sector. Use them to your advantage and perform your own research. Always follow them up, and ask your architect for the most recent references possible. Ask previous clients a range of questions, including; price, quality of work, communication throughout the project, punctuality, reliability and adherence to set completion dates.

Portfolios – every experienced architect has a portfolio with pictures of completed projects. It is important to view their previous work and decide whether their design style suits your taste and lifestyle needs. Most professional architects also have websites, where you can view and browse completed projects and get an idea of their design style and areas of expertise.

Choosing an architect that suits your needs can be a stressful and daunting task. The tips above will help make your decision a little bit easier.