Employing any professional contractor (especially for something as important as your home!) can be a nerve-wracking experience. We have all seen horror stories of cowboy contractors; engaging the wrong person or company can have expensive consequences. Here are our top tips for choosing an Architect.
Check they are an Architect!
It may seem obvious, but the first step is always to check the Architects Registration Board! Every single architect operating in the UK has to be registered on this database, which in turn ensures they are both qualified and insured.
“The title ‘architect’ is protected by law in the UK under the Architects Act 1997. It can only be used in business or practice by someone who has had the education, training and experience needed to join the Architects Register and become an architect. Businesses can only use ‘architect’ in their name if there is an architect in control and management of all of the architectural work.”- ARB.org.uk
If you can not find an Architect on this register, they are not UK architect.
Within the broader definition of architectural professionals you may come across an architectural consultant, architectural technician or architectural assistant. These titles are not protected under the ARB and usually refer to someone that can use some architectural software and programmes to draw up designs.
If you know the exact work you would like carrying out, you may be able to instruct one of these professionals to draw up your designs, instead of a fully qualified architect. It is however worth noting that as they are not qualified architects, with the necessary years of training and experience required to become one, they will not be able to assist with and give advice on your home design and the different options available to you. If you are in any way unsure what work you require or the best design for your home, it is worth using an architect.
Check the RIBA
Unlike the ARB, registration with the Royal Institute of British Architects is not a mandatory requirement for UK architects. However, most good architects or architectural practices will be registered with both regulatory bodies.
We highly recommend finding an architect that is registered with both the ARB and RIBA as they will be required to uphold the additional standards and conditions of the RIBA.
If an architect falls short of these strict standards of practice they can be reported, and you can also check the RIBA database to see if there has been any previous action such as complaints against the architect you are considering.
Check here: architecture.com
Check their reviews
Google, social media and proven expert are all places you should be able to find reviews from previous clients, and these will give you an idea of the level of service you can expect!
Take advantage of free consultations
Many architects offer an initial free consultation to discuss your needs and ideas. This is not only a great opportunity to find out about the potential work, costs, timescales and permissions you could be looking at, but it gives you chance to meet your potential architect and work out if you would be a good fit together!
Once you have chosen your architect, they should also be able to help by recommending trusted contractors and much more. Find out more about how hiring an architect can help: https://www.house-architects.co.uk/blog/5-advantages-of-hiring-an-architect/
We hope these tips help! If you would like to book a free initial consultation visit: https://www.house-architects.co.uk/book-a-consultation/