Working with an architect

There is no one-size-fits approach in architecture, all building projects are unique, with each client’s differing requirements, each site’s specific conditions, and so every brief is distinctive. Selecting an architect to work on your project is an important decision, as you will have a long term working relationship, working towards the right design solution for your project.

If you are thinking of hiring an architect for your project, it is worth contacting a few architectural practices, and arranging an initial meeting where you can learn about their approach and work. The CIA offers an online directory of its members find an architect

It is important to have thought about your own aspirations for your project, your budget, and any specialist requirements that you may have so that you can discuss your brief. Architects will generally want to work from first principles and not only from a schedule of spaces required.

Another way to select an architect for larger projects is to hold a design competition. This is particularly suited to unusual or prestigious projects where additional time and expense can be justified.

Working with an architect usually includes the following processes:

  • Research into the brief, client’s objectives, nature of the site and its surroundings, building programme, town planning and legal issues and any other constraints.
  • Preparation of a creative solution to the brief as a design concept taking into account all the above factors.
  • Development of this design.
  • Preparation of technical documentation for the planning application to the local authority and any other bodies required to vet the proposal,.
  • Preparation of technical documentation for pricing and construction.
  • Administer the construction phase of the project and the building contract, from selecting contractors, costings, and coordinate the project team.
  • Carry out inspections, certify the various completion stages and administer the close out phases of the project.

Working with an architect is a long-standing relationship over the course of (usually) a couple of years at least for a residential project, and even longer for a commercial building. It is a collaborative process between client and architect, and the project team, and it can be a very rewarding process to see your aspirations for your project realised in a physical construction.