How Do I Hire Someone to Redesign My Home?
What do you need to consider before hiring an architect? Here are some top tips from the pros who know
Whoever you work with should be able to supply you with examples of their work. ‘A good architect should come to your property initially for free to look at the house and discuss ideas with you,’ says Louise Glynn, a partner at Studio 29 Architects. Even if you’re considering working with a new architect, they’ll have references. Check them out and make sure you’re totally confident with your choice.
This is your project, so you need to know exactly what you want. Make sure you have a clear idea of how you’d like your home to look. ‘Think about what you really want to achieve,’ says Laurence Scott, architectural assistant at AR Design Studio. ‘It’s likely you’ll have to budget around £2,000 per square metre, and you can’t keep chopping and changing throughout the process.’
Discover 17 ways to communicate your vision to your architect
You need to be strict with yourself about how much money you have to spend. The last thing you want is to run out of money halfway through. ‘Be honest with your architect about what you want and, more importantly, what your budget is,’ says Laurence Scott. ‘You might find your funds don’t stretch as far as your expectations.’
How To Budget for a Home Redesign
Price is an important part of choosing who to work with, but it shouldn’t be the only factor in your decision.
‘Don’t choose on cost alone,’ warns Federica Vasetti, a director of DHV Architects. ‘When comparing prices, try to understand exactly what you’re getting. The remit of architectural services varies enormously: some designers produce detailed documentation specific to the project, others provide more basic information and generic specifications. The fee quote should be very clear on what the deliverables are for each stage of the project.’
Make sure you’re working with someone who understands – and likes – your style. It will make the whole process much more enjoyable. Federica Vasetti agrees. ‘There’s no point engaging a specialist in traditional design if you’re after a contemporary house.’
All architects in the UK must be registered with the ARB (Architects Registration Board), and every architect on their register has met their set of professional standards, so always check this before you begin a project. Many architects are also RIBA (The Royal Institute of British Architects) charterholders. RIBA offers their members continued professional development and is recognised as a symbol of professional excellence.
Working with an architect is a partnership, so you have to get on with the person you’ve hired. ‘People underestimate the bond between an architect and client,’ says Laurence Scott, ‘but in many cases you’re going to be working together for at least a couple of years and speaking to each other every day. You could be best friends or you could drive each other bonkers.’
Remember that you’ll have a lot of input into your project and it’s important you consider this when you’re looking at an architect’s previous work. Don’t get caught up in the design itself – it might just have been what the client asked for. ‘If you do visit a property designed by an architect, check the general quality of the job rather than focus on the finishes, as this may have been designed to fit that client’s taste,’ says Louise Glynn.
Have you completed a home redesign with a professional recently? Do tell us how it went in the comments below.