There is no doubt that choosing an architect is a big decision and there’s a huge amount of information to consider. As you may have already experienced, different firms and architectural practices across London tend to differ in terms of the language they use, which aspects they emphasise and in their fees and scope structures.
We have compiled an essential guide to choosing an architect, which includes the three most important considerations to have on your list whilst you come to a decision.
This guide is based on our fifteen years of experience as a top architectural practice in London and includes our expert recommendations to ensure you make the right choice and select the architect that is best suited to you and your project.
1. Think about the long-term connection
Unfortunately, a beautiful home is not built in a day. Projects take time to complete, and you will be working closely with your architectural team from inception to completion and liaising back and forth with regular communication.
Make sure you choose a practice who you feel you can easily communicate with, rely on and build a connection with in the long term. It will prove invaluable throughout the journey and help to make the process itself just as enjoyable as the end result.
Scenario Top Tip: Find out which team members you will actually be working with on your project, as this may differ to who you have been liaising with during the pre-appointment stage.
2. Think about the three fundamentals: quality, budget and timeframe
Without a doubt, these three elements and the subsequent trade off between them will form the key parameters of your project, regardless of its scale or scope. The only way to ensure you will enjoy the journey as well as the end result is to keep all three under control – which is often a very difficult balancing act.
Make sure you choose a practice that you feel is able to strike this fine balance and deliver a high-quality project that aligns with your budget and timeframe. Most importantly, choose a practice that you believe has the intention, as well as the knowledge and experience, to keep the control in your hands and not theirs.
Scenario Top Tip: You can check to see if your architect has been successful with planning applications in your area. Visit the “Planning Applications” page of your local council’s website and enter the architect’s name in the search criteria to view their previous planning track record and success rate.
3. Think about the architectural style and interpretation
It is not enough for an architect to simply listen to what you want. What matters is their architectural interpretation of it. Think of architecture as a language, and the architect as your translator.
Consider how they reflect your requirements and aspirations through their designs. It is important that you choose the architect who you feel will deliver the best translation of your vision.
Scenario Top Tip: Read the reviews from previous clients of the practice. See what they say about what the architect was like to work with, and how they responded to their vision.
Coming to a decision
We hope that you found this guide useful in helping you to decide which architect to choose for your residential project.
Ultimately, remember that your new home is not just a beautiful object. It will be the backdrop to your life for many years to come, and should therefore reflect your lifestyle. It should tell your story, not the architect’s story.