Tips For Choosing an architect for Victorian homes

The first step to being the owner of your dream home is finding the right architect who will design your home. This exercise can apply in equal measure when you are renovating an old home too. Your initial search will focus on the type of work the architect does, their usual place of work and neighbourhoods they are comfortable with, their table of fees and how well you can deal with him/her.

All architects do not design homes

Hand made house plan

All Victorian architects do not take up residential projects. But, there are building designers who will possibly be willing to do the design part of your home. But, they only give you the design and does not take responsibility in execution or other related activities.

If you are in a hurry

If you are in a hurry and want to find your architect quickly to get your project underway, you have a relatively easy approach. However, this does not mean that you will find the best architect from the nearest storefront or mall. You still have some focused work to do.

Drive around the neighbourhood where you plan to build your dream home. Purvey some of the beautiful homes from outside. Zero down to some of the homes you like most. Now, physically call on these homes and see if you can connect with the architect who built that home. Always remember to shower praises about how well the home has been designed so that the owner/occupier is enthused to help you. Generally, this exercise should consume the good part of at least two days. Yes, you are not zipping past the neighbourhoods. You need to critically study the homes. But, at the end of the exercise, you are armed with at least some reliable architects to set the ball rolling. For instance, DX Architects, they are well known for professional architectural practice renowned for its creative design work in residential and commercial architecture. Set up an appointment with all the names you have got to broaden the effort.

After you find your architect

After you have identified one or more architects to interview and decide, the following are the top questions for which you must get an answer:-

  • What professional qualifications do the architect have
  • What are his/her specialities?
  • Is she/he keen to accept your project and available
  • Does your project match the scale of the Architect?
  • Is he/she personally suited to you and your project?
  • Can the architect offer any references?
  • Is he/she comfortable with the local language and dialect?
  • Can the architect offer all services required

 

How other quotes compare

Now that we have a starting point, let us understand how architects calculate the fees

fees letter on wooden stand

This is a major part of your exercise. Generally, the fee charged by an architect will be governed by his/her reputation, demand, and experience. The charges for each item of service can be significantly different from one architect to the other and will also be impacted by the level of engagement they have with your project. An architect’s service can start with providing basic design to arranging permits, to costing building materials and builders, technical documentation, landscape design, contract administration and specifications for individual fittings and fixtures, project management and other peripheral services. The more involvement you expect from the architect, the bigger will be your bill.

Generally, architects will adopt any one or a combination of the following methods in pricing their services.

Fixed fee

If the project briefing is very clear and well documented, some architects may agree to work with you on a fixed fee for the entire project. In spite of this, you should expect small additions at the end of the project. But, this method is a good insurance against spiralling costs and related uncertainties.

Percentage fee

Some architects charge a percentage of the overall expenses incurred in the project or the pre-determined budget. The exact percentage will vary depending on a host of factors and the norm is that a higher percentage is charged for smaller projects.

Hourly rates

Though the absence of a fixed budget may be challenging, in some situations, it could be better for the architect as well as the client. However, this calls for meticulous record keeping through a mutually accepted system. An advantage of this system is that you pay only for the work that is delivered. However, the architect may lack the motivation to get beyond the fee that he is charging.

More help to find your architect

You can explore some of the other methods to find the architect of your choice. These include:-

Consultants directory

This is an excellent resource point offered by the digital world. This website allows you to search for architects by region. However, the site lists only those who are members of the AIA and every practising architect need not be a member. But the advantage with an architect who is a member of AIA is that he/she has undergone CPD or Continuing Professional Development and that helps them with latest updates on technologies, regulations and other related matters.
Other websites and magazines – You can scour several websites to find profiles of different architects and features of work undertaken by them. This exercise can also enhance your knowledge on what you should expect from your architect.

Local flavour

blue roof house

if you are keen on finding an architect in the same neighbourhood you plan to build your new home, you can use Google search and narrow down the search to specific regions. Affordable home architects Sydney or affordable home architects Perth etc.
Another important aspect of finding an architect to build your dream home is getting a firsthand feel of past work executed by the architect you choose to work with. Once you take care of all the aspects discussed above and create a healthy working relationship with your architect, you should be walking into your dream home without any hassles.

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