5 top tips for hiring and working with an architect

We spoke to HomeOwners Alliance to get some advice to hep you decide on whether you need an architect, the hiring process and how to work with them.

By Jenny Mcfarlane | 5 June 2019

Are you considering hiring an architect for your self build project? We spoke to HomeOwners Alliance to help you decide on whether you need an architect and how to work with them.

large self build house renovation by found architects

Image: Found Architects

When you’re extending or converting your home, one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is whether to employ the services of an architect. We’ve joined forces with the HomeOwners Alliance, a consumer property advice website to ask how you decide whether you need an architect, where to find one and how to work with them.

How do I know I need an architect?

Not every project requires the help of an architect. If you have a firm idea of what you want, the project is straightforward and you have a reliable builder to help make your vision a reality then it’s possible you don’t need an architect. Otherwise, an architect can help by understanding what you are trying to achieve and giving you options for delivering it. They can bring a high level of design insight, flair and experience to your project, and can even help with managing the whole process, getting planning permission and overseeing the different contractors to deliver your vision. But be aware there are a number of advantages and disadvantages to working with an architect – and significant costs involved.

How do I find an architect?

There’s no short cut to finding a great architect – you need to shop around. Start by asking friends you trust, as nothing beats a good recommendation. But check they are qualified for the job. While a registered architect would usually do larger projects, architectural technicians or surveyors in a registered architects firm could do smaller home improvements; there are no hard and fast rules.

Anyone calling himself or herself an architect though must be registered with the Architects Registration Board. Many architects are also members of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and ‘Chartered Architects’ are those that comply with the RIBA’s strict criteria. You can use this free instant online tool to find an architect near you. Just input a handful of details about your property and within minutes you’ll be able to see a list of local suppliers that specialise in architectural design.