The architect should be asked to turn your wishes, intentions, needs, aspirations, dreams and hopes into ideas, and then to unite those ideas into a vision of home.
His work should follow your ambitions, not the other way around! So do not ask, but demand. Treat him like anyone else you have hired, give him precise tasks and demand an appropriate result!
Of course, this is difficult when you are not sure yourself, what kind of house you want and what you can expect from an architect. But don’t worry, that’s why we bring you a guide that, if applied consistently, is a reliable tool to get your dream home.
What does the job of an architect involve?
Typical work activities include creating building designs around constraining factors such as town planning legislation, environmental impact, and project budget, and then liaising with construction professionals about the quality of works and consumption of funds and materials, and finally writing and presenting reports, proposals, applications and contracts.
But this is a simplified understanding. Here is an example! If a lady wants to look beautiful, she chooses a piece from her favorite brand, but if she wants to shine and leave everybody breathless, then she goes to a skilled tailor. Designing a building is a technical job, and making a home is an artistic one! The architect must be an artist.
The design of your house should be tailored to your personality and not just technical, legislation, and environmental constraints.
The comprehensive, step by step guide to hiring an architect!
Prepare in advance, follow these steps and you will definitely get the most for your money!
STEP 1: How to choose the right architect for the job?
After collecting as many contacts of architects as may be available to you, it is necessary to make a selection and decide on the right one, all on the basis of as objective factors as possible. Look for their recommendations, previous works, built objects, conceptual solutions, competition works, drawings, sketches… basically, everything in their portfolio that can set them apart and show that they are worthy of your trust. It is always good if you can get in touch with someone who has already worked with him and hear what the experiences are like.
If, based on this data, you can immediately conclude to whom you want to entrust the design, then do it. If not, then narrow the selection to two to three most acceptable and postpone the final selection until after the conceptual design has been made.
Take into account that, although interpersonal relationships and ease of communication are very important, this should not be a decisive factor in decision-making. Always give preference to professionals over human qualities.
STEP 2: How to deal with regulations when designing a house?
Local authorities define various technical conditions in the construction zones, and the architect is in charge of devising creative conceptual solutions that will be in accordance with them but also meet your requirements as an investor.
In order to do this, he must first be given all the information about the location of your plot and then about the basic purpose and approximate size of the house and ancillary facilities. Legal constraints are priority but architect must adapt the project to the specifics of the plot, local climate, budget…
STEP 3: How to come up with a conceptual house plan?
In the beginning, give the architect as much information as possible about the general features of the future home.
First, determine the purpose. Whether it is a house for resale, for rent, for a lifetime, for vacation…
Secondly, explain whether you want to do some business at home, do you have any hobbies, do you do collecting…
Then explain your lifestyle, your habits, the number of vehicles, pets…
Describe how many permanent members your family has, how many temporary ones, how many future ones… Describe what style you prefer, what accessories… Give him an “idea book”! (take pictures of details you like, download from Pinterest, cut a photo from a magazine, sketch your idea…)
At the very end, set priorities, what you can’t do without, and what you can compromise with.
Based on the total price you can pay (which includes the design price) and the limitations listed in the previous step, determine the maximum square footage and let the architect propose a conceptual solution or more of them. At this point, do not limit the architect to the number of rooms, bathrooms, terraces… only the total square footage, and let him do his magic!
STEP 4: When to incorporate the right innovative solutions and construction system?
In the construction industry every year there are innovations in the field of quick and easy construction, cheaper materials, better accessories, sustainability… Some of them are familiar to you, and others are known to your architects. All those that are technically justified and financially available should be compared with each other but also with the usual ones. The final conceptual design should be the optimal combination that meets your requirements.
STEP 5: How to choose a contractor?
Depending on the choice of construction system and the way the construction is organized, the architect should suggest several contractors that he considers recommendable. Once you have determined the best way to get the best price from them, choose the best one.
STEP 6: How to come up with a detailed house plan?
Once you have chosen the conceptual plan and selected the contractor it is time to ask the architect to make the master plan. When making this plan, the architect is certainly obliged to make it in the legally binding form and legible to professionals.
You should oblige him to make that plan readable to you as a layman and to be as detailed as possible.
This is important for two reasons. Firstly, some works you may decide to perform yourself, and secondly, only a very detailed plan allows making a sufficiently precise material specification.
STEP 7: How to include eco-friendly solutions in your house plan?
After studying the material specification in detail, find a way to achieve the maximum possible savings in procurement. You can put the money you save this way in your pocket, increase the square footage or, best of all, invest in eco-friendly solutions.
The house doesn’t have to be bigger if it’s already functional enough, the money you leave will eventually be spent, and eco-friendly technologies bring you money savings in the decades to come.
STEP 8: How to come up with a house plan that you will be satisfied with?
Revision! That is the key word!
After going through all the steps described above, you have come to the point where you are ready to start the construction. But it can happen that you are simply not happy with the project. You may not like a specific detail, or perhaps, the overall solution is not satisfactory. Don’t go any further. Ask the architect to go back to refining the existing or making a new plan. In the end, seek a separate opinion from a third party.
Remember that no matter how much it costs and no matter how long it lasts, every change on paper is cheaper and faster than the one on the construction site!
STEP 9: Whether to ask the architect to supervise the construction works?
Absolutely YES! Always! This is necessary not only because his knowledge and experience surpasses yours, but because it surpasses the constructor’s. Although architects charge for this service, if you are their client from the very beginning, negotiate that this service be provided free of charge as part of the overall agreement. This is usually the case. However, this does not mean that you personally should not visit the construction site.
STEP 10: When to start designing the interior?
It is best that the interior design takes place simultaneously with the design of the exterior. On the one hand, this approach allows maximum use of effective square footage because there is no “loss of space”, on the other hand, it provides consistency of stylistic expression and the impression of harmony in space. If you agree with the same architect to design both the exterior and the interior, then it is certain that you will get a significant discount on the price. Worth considering?
STEP 11: When to start landscaping?
It is best that the landscaping design takes place simultaneously with the design of the exterior and interior. The main advantage of the house over the apartment is the existence of its own open space. In urban areas, each square foot is valuable because the price is high and the possibility of buying large plots is limited.
Also, one of the most important requirements of modern housing is the connection of interior and exterior. All this implies the need for expert knowledge of yard landscaping and a timely start of dealing with this, because only in this way, the best results can be achieved.