Finding an architect is an important part of any building endeavor.Being absolutely sure you have the right professional to design your extension or loft conversion is basic. Your architect must know and understand all building rules and regulations that cover your area. Otherwise, you could be wasting your money, no matter how great the design; you wouldn’t want to risk getting in trouble with the law.
So how can you find an architect who will be an asset to your project all the way?
Do your homework.
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Call the American Institute of Architects component in your area. Plenty of local AIA components have a database of AIA-member firms and their different architectural specialties. This is a smart way to know the different architects operating in your area before actually establishing contact with them. Most firms, including small ones, have websites where you can see images of their work.
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While architects in the U.S. are not required to be AIA members, know anyway which architects on your list are. Membership in the AIA indicates that the architect follows the stringent AIA Code of Ethics, meets the AIA’s rigorous continuing education requirements, can use a range of professional and technical resources, and is devoted to the highest standards of practice and service.
Use the following tips as a guide:
> Ask local builders and tradesmen if they know a good architect they may have worked with in the past.
> Find two to three architects as your prospects; have them visit you – for free initially – to talk about the project.
> Be sure they have substantial experience, especially in the type of project you plan to work on. Know what their submission approval rates are.
> Talk to building control surveyors in your locality. In writing, have the architects acknowledge that they are fully aware of all local planning permission and building regulations or standards.
> Tell the architect what your budget is and whether it includes additional features, such as a kitchen or a bathroom suite.
> Know what services will be supplied by the architect.
> Will they take care of securing planning and building regulation approval? If there are changes to the design, are you required to secure approval and to pay additional fees?
> Don’t even consider hiring an architect who doesn’t have professional indemnity insurance.
> Make sure your architect completely understands the details of your project.
> Sign a contract with the architect, agreeing to payment terms in exchange for the services they will render.
Finding a good architect doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen if you are diligent and patient enough.