An essential part of any home renovation project is working with an architect. In addition to providing you with a great design, a good architect who specialises in home design can also save you money and guide you through the entire process. From initial design ideas to recommendations for trades and suppliers, your architect has a wealth of experience you can tap into. To help you get the most from this valuable working relationship, here are four of the most important questions to ask your architect for your home renovation project.
What should I prepare for our first meeting?
Before you meet with an architect, it’s essential that you have a general sense of what you are trying to achieve from the redesign of your home. Having a clear and well-thought-out brief will help save time and eliminate any confusion in the early stages of your project. To help firm up your brief, start by examining the functionality you need from your home. Are you planning to have large family gatherings? Do you have young children who need extra space to play? Make sure you are future-proofing your home when planning your redesign by looking as far ahead as possible.
Don’t worry if you struggle to describe different design styles or details. Inspiration images are a great way to communicate your ideas. They will help to give your architect a sense of what you like, especially when it comes to fixtures and fittings like windows or kitchens. At the first meeting, your architect will ask questions to understand your needs and preferences. Preparing for this first meeting will help you feel more confident and clear about your needs so you can share them with your architect.
Is my budget realistic?
When meeting with your architect, it’s essential to know what kind of budget you have for the project. Having a clear idea of your budget will also help your architect narrow down your options and help you make choices that will work within your budget. The architect will also be able to give you an estimate of how much the project will cost. This will help you determine if the project is feasible regarding your budget and timeline.
Do you share the same style preferences?
Before hiring an architect, you must be clear about what kind of style you are looking for. Architects have different styles, from traditional to contemporary and everything in between. It’s essential that whoever you choose shares your style preference; otherwise, you’ll have an uphill battle to reconcile your differing points of view. Spend time researching different firms and looking at their websites. Social media sites such as Instagram, Pinterest and Houzz are fantastic resources for familiarising yourself with the work of different firms.
Who will I be working with?
Different firms have different ways of running home renovation projects. Find out who will be leading your project. Is it going to be one person or several? It’s important you understand who your main point of contact will be as it may not be the same person you first spoke to. You should feel comfortable that the person you will be dealing with is experienced and used to liaising with clients regularly. A full-scale home renovation and extension can intake up to two years from the day you appoint your architect to the day you move back into your home. You will be communicating regularly throughout this time, so it’s vital that you get along with the person you’ve chosen to work with.
How long will my project take?
As a rule of thumb, typical timescales for a small project such as a bathroom refurbishment renovation is approximately 4-8 weeks. For a mid-sized project such as a kitchen renovation, plan for 8-12 weeks. And a larger project, such as a house refurbishment and extension, can be from 8-18 months. Your architect will be able to advise on how long your project is likely to take and help you to put a realistic deadline on the work. It’s also advisable to let your architect know about the lead times on items like windows and doors to ensure they are all factored into the timeline. Nobody likes deadlines, but they’re vital for keeping projects on track. By placing a time limit on your home improvement, you’ll ensure your project moves along swiftly and you’ll find it easier to make decisions.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Managing Director Optimise Design, B.Arch. RIAI RIBA
& Senator’s Expert Design Consultant
This blog post is sponsored, but the views expressed by the author are her own.