17 Oct 11 questions to ask an architect…
Choosing an architect for your project is a big decision.
So, we put together this list of 11 key questions to ask before deciding if the architect is the right fit for you…
#1 Have you completed any similar projects locally?
Word of mouth is everything. Being able to speak to previous clients who your architect has worked with will reassure you that you are making the right decision. How many times have you avoided a restaurant because of a bad review from a friend? We think the same principle should apply to choosing your architect.
#2 How many people are in your team?
It is important to know how many designers will be working on your project. Furthermore, it can be reassuring to know that your architect is contactable through an Office Manager. Importantly, at Acre Design, we always ensure that your plans are discussed with our whole team. This ensures we utilise our full creative pool and give you the best possible design. Some designers work as a one-man-operation. As we have a number of team members, if anyone is off sick or on holiday, someone is always on hand to work on your project at any given time.
#3 Do you have target dates for achieving completion of each of the design stages?
We have found that it is reassuring for our clients to know when to expect each phase of their design process to be completed. Though it is important not to rush your project and to ensure that you achieve the best design possible, a timeline is vital to help you plan ahead for start of works etc.
#4 Will you provide 3D drawings of the proposals so that I can fully understand the design?
Often, it can be difficult to interpret technical plans. This means that a 3D model of your plans help you to fully understand and visualise your new space. The Team @ Acre Design use state of the art Building Information Modeling (BIM) software. BIM is an intelligent 3D model-based process that gives architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals the insight and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure.
#5 Can we have meetings outside of normal working hours?
Our clients are often very busy with work and family commitments. It is important to know that you will be able to meet with your architect at times that fit around your schedule. This is why we offer early morning or evening appointments to discuss projects with our clients.
#6 How many drafts are included in the design stage of the process?
There is nothing worse than feeling under pressure to agree plans that you are just not happy with. Ask your architect how many revisions they offer for the price that you agree. Though most of our designs are finalised before this point, at Acre Design we offer four revisions in our design package. This means that you can explore different options until you are content we have designed your dream home.
#7 Will you keep in touch during the process? And if so at which stages?
You want to know that your architect is working on your project and meeting your agreed deadlines. At Acre Design, we are proactive when it comes to communication. We’ll keep in touch regularly and update you as your project evolves. We are always at the end of the phone or available by email should you wish to discuss your project with us, we love to hear from our clients as much as possible!
#8 How many meetings are included to discuss the proposal? Where will these take place?
It can be reassuring to know from the outset how often you can expect to meet with you architect. Knowing where meetings will take place is also helpful: will they be at your home or at the architect’s office? At Acre Design, we keep a flexible approach to meetings. Our business centres around our clients. We are happy to meet with you wherever you feel it is necessary. This, coupled with our out of usual hours availability and video conferencing software, means that you are reassured and listened to throughout the design process.
#9 If changes are required by the planning department to allow them to approve the design, will we be charged for these?
No one likes hidden costs. Unexpected bills can be a nightmare when you are working to a budget. So, ask your prospective architect whether you will be charged for possible additional work needed to gain relevant planning permission. Though this doesn’t happen often, we occasionally have to tweak a design slightly to gain approval. Rest assured, we would not charge you for this. Our aim is to ensure you get the home you dream of, at the cost you agreed to.
#10 How does the scheduling of payments work?
Knowing when payments will be expected in advance is important. Will you have to pay your architect an upfront amount? Will the bill be settled at the end of your project? In order for you to prepare, it is a good idea to ask your architect about their payment process. At Acre Design, we like to keep it simple and up-front. We will only invoice you once a stage has been completed. Our work is usually split into four main stages: Preparation (measured survey and drawing of your existing property), Concept Design (completion of a first draft ready to be developed with you), Developed Design (making alterations to your design to ensure it is perfect whilst meeting any planning criteria, working closely with you to agree the design) and finally, Technical Design (Detailed construction drawings and Building Control process).
#11 How do you work out your prices?
Ask your architect how they formulate their estimates. You are paying for their services and have every right to know what they base their prices on. We are always transparent about our quotes and are more than happy to discuss this with you.
Please don’t hesitate to ask us the above, we love to explain why we are the right architecture firm for you.
The Team @ Acre Design hope we have given you have found this helpful! Please check out or latest projects if you’d like to see what we’re made of. Our Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook pages are all brimming with extension, loft conversion and self-build inspiration too!