How to pick the right architect for your home
Your home is just that – yours. If you’re building a new home, you’re placing a lot of trust in your architect. They’ll help you shape and create your living spaces for years to come, and it’s important you find the right architect for you.
If you pick the right architect for your home, you’ll end up with the house of your dreams – no matter what. They’ll be able to translate who you are, and the way that you live, into a building that fits your every need. And, of course, they’ll influence the costs (financial and emotional) involved in construction.
So, what are some things to look out for, and what are some questions to ask an architect before hiring?
1. Architect v designer
It’s an easy mistake to make if you don’t know the difference, so make sure you get it right. In Australia, to describe yourself as an architect, you need to be licensed with your State or Territory’s Architects’ Board. This ensures you’re getting someone with experience and skill. At Playoust Churcher, all of our architects are licensed and qualified, so you know you’re in safe hands.
Designing a home isn’t something you can learn overnight – it takes years of practice and experience to know what works and what doesn’t. While it might be tempting to pick a cheaper, less experienced architect, you could find yourself regretting it further down the track, as designs that look good on paper don’t work out as well as you’d hoped, and their lack of understanding of architectural requirements shows.
Our design teams boast over 100 years of combined experience and a formidable track record.
3. Professional memberships
Closely linked with experience, it’s important you pick an architect who is a member of professional organisations, like the the Australian Institute of Architects, Association of Consulting Architects Australia and, the Housing Industry Association. These organisations do a lot of the hard work for you – making sure the firm is experienced, reliable and excellent in their craft.
You wouldn’t ask a heart surgeon to fix a broken bone – so why would you ask an experienced commercial architect to design your home? Each kind of project carries different requirements and challenges, that you can only learn by specialising in that area. Many firms operate across different areas, but make sure they include the kind you’re interested in.
In another big tick, our team has extensive experience in designing residential properties!
Like any other artist – each architect has their own style. Do some research on the firms you’re considering, most keep their websites up to date with recent projects. Do you like the homes they’ve worked on before? Are they similar to what you’re thinking of for your home? If they are, it’s a good sign that firm is a good fit for your project.
It’s a common misconception that you’ll have to choose between building a sustainable home, and building a stylish one, but with the right architect, you can have both! Experienced architects know how to seamlessly integrate sustainable design into your home, lowering your costs of living, and increasing your resale value down the track.
Our architects have a brilliant track record of designing sustainable homes, that are each tailored to the site’s unique characteristics
7. Meet your architect
You’ll be working very closely with your architect as they design your home – after all, they have to get to know you to work out how you live. Arrange meetings or phone calls with some of the architects you’re considering. Do you get along with them? Do they ask questions relevant to you? Do they listen to what you’re saying? Answering yes to these questions is a good sign they’re a good fit for you and your home.
8. Ask questions
When the marketing looks good, and you click with the architect, it can be tempting to dive right in and get started. But make sure you take a step back and ask some important questions, to really make sure your architect knows what they’re talking about.
So what are some questions to ask an architect when building a home? Discussing things like potential obstacles is a good place to start, but you should also ask about any initial concerns they have and how they’ve handled issues in the past. This is a good chance for the architect to demonstrate their experience, and put your mind at ease, knowing they’ll be able to handle the project – no matter what happens.
9. Be upfront on budget
Some of the biggest stresses on any building project come from financial concerns. Make sure that, early on, well before you sign on to anything, you discuss costs, fees, and potential contingencies. If your architect is happy discussing this and is confident in explaining everything, you’re on the right track.
Above all, though, make sure the architect you’re employing feels right. If there’s something that seems off, or you’ve got any concerns – dig deeper, and don’t sign on. The last thing you want is a house that’s anything less than perfect.
Read more articles about what architects do.