If you’re thinking of making some changes to your property, or perhaps looking to build a brand new home, you will almost certainly need to employ the services of a Designer. They will advise you on the processes involved and prepare all of the necessary drawings and documentation on your behalf to realise your ambitions. It is important to choose a Designer that you feel comfortable with.
When initially considering who to appoint for Architectural services it is critical that this person is suitably qualified. Chartered Architects (RIBA) and Chartered Architectural Technologists (CIAT) have demonstrated to their respective professional bodies that they have the knowledge and experience required to provide architectural services to the general public.
There are some Chartered Surveyors (RICS) that also offer design facilities and are able to deliver similar levels of service. Employing a suitably qualified professional gives you the peace of mind that you will receive the required standard of service backed by a reputable professional body that has a strict code of conduct that its members’ adhere too.
Before engaging with a professional, have you fully established your needs and taken time to consider what it is you actually want to achieve? Make a list of your requirements; include things about your existing home that do not work for you. Sourcing images of both external and internal features that you like can provide the designer with an insight into your tastes and ultimate vision.
At this point you should also consider your budget, whether you have ten thousand pounds or ten million pounds, it is important that your designer has a budget to work to, so your expectations can be met within the budget you have allocated.
Undoubtedly one of the best ways to find a designer is by word-of-mouth, ask family, friends and colleagues who have recently embarked on a similar process for recommendations. Explore the web, most designers will have a web site and many now have Facebook pages where they showcase previous projects and describe the scope of services they offer.
Once you’ve made an appointment with a designer they will usually want to meet you at the property/site to discuss your requirements, most practices will not charge a fee for this initial visit, however, it is worth double checking with them first. Also, consider all your options! Invite different designers to come and view your property and ask them their ideas and thoughts on your brief. They will also guide you through the stages involved including, the planning process, building regulations, tendering and construction works. It is important you feel inspired and that you could build a good relationship with your designer. You are making a large investment and need to work with people you can trust who will develop a solution unique to your personal needs and maximize the potential of your project.
Fees for architectural services will vary depending on the size and complexity of the proposals, and the quality of services offered by the chosen designer. Some practices work on a fixed fee, whilst others will operate on an hourly rate, so ensure you obtain a written fee proposal, detailing what services they will be providing you with, along with a clear fee structure with any exclusions clearly stipulated.