What To Know Before Meeting With An Architect
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- architect meetings, budgeting, design decisions
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Find out what you need to know before meeting with an architect. We look at the questions to ask and information to find out before you sign a contract.
Bob Trimble is a chartered architect registered with RIBA with 30 years experience in the industry. Trimble Architects work throughout Hounslow, Twickenham, Richmond, Kingston Upon Thames, Teddington and the surrounding areas of London.
What to prepare when meeting an architect
Understanding Who You Are
Before working with an Architect, the client must know who they are, what their style preference is, and how to communicate this with the designer.
Architects are likely to make many decisions on behalf of the client based on initial meetings, mood boards and discussions. It can be difficult to predict the number of decisions the Architect will make during a project, from larger structural choices down to detailed finishes.
The designer must be given relevant information and guidance from the client to avoid unwanted disagreements or mistakes. The points listed below can portray your style preference and lifestyle to the potential designer.
- Who you are?
- Who is in your family and home? (any changes over the coming years?)
- How do you spend your time?
- What do you enjoy doing together and separately?
- Why you are renovating or building?
What Lifestyle Do You Envisage
Renovations or redecorating your space suggest you want to change the current way you live, and upgrade it to a different vision, maybe with more style, efficiency or comfort.
How do you envision your new space? What new lifestyle do you see for yourself? If a bigger house is needed with more space, then question why? T
his can be for various reasons, and it's beneficial to inform your designer, so they can prioritise the same aspects you do and highlight suitable ideas. A bigger house could be needed because...
- Your family is growing
- Your kids are active and need to be outside with safe supervision
- You don't all want to be on top of each other - but you also want spaces and places you can enjoy being together
- You're busy and need to do multiple jobs at once as well as watch the kids
- Need a space for family and friends to stay in, so you can entertain and spend time with people
How Big A Home Do You Want?
You could start with the basic expectation of the number of rooms or bathrooms you envision, not forgetting to mention favourite parts of the home to accentuate, or maybe old furniture you want to retain.
The Architect will ask you about specifics to determine the size and type of home you desire. But remember, bigger isn't always better; allow your experienced designer to create the best space based on budget, lifestyle and location. Architects can create dynamic, compact and flexible designs that meet your demands whilst managing unrealistic expectations.
How Much Do You Want To Spend?
This is a key consideration for any renovation or redesign. The budget should always be given to the Architect during initial meetings to ensure it can be maintained throughout the project.
Being unclear with your budget can cause time-consuming problems and disagreements down the line, so make it clear. The designer will meld your needs and wants with the given budget to develop an economic plan that encases the vision you imagined.
If you have no idea how much it's going to cost, then it's best to do some research before meeting with an Architect, just so you have some independent knowledge.
Ask a friend who recently had some renovation, or speak to various companies to get some quotes. If you still aren't sure, then speak to your selected Architect, they will be able to help with planning and creating a strategy for the project.
Everyone has a different preference for their home's style, which ultimately comes down to personal taste. People are drawn to various things they love; these objects, patterns or designs can help create a client mood board.
Often a designer is chosen based on their style and previous works, as this is something the client relates with. However, it's always best to give more detail as previous clients may have to lead the designs.
A statement like "I like French style" is incredibly obscure; this could mean anything from 1930s French Parisian style to modern-day French chic. To resolve any misunderstanding, create a scrapbook, Pinterest board or simply bring in reference pictures. Having a collection of inspiration is a powerful and effective way to quickly communicate your vision.
Information About Your Property
Before creating an initial plan, the Architect must know basic information about the space and land.
Survey drawings, existing plans and service information can provide the relevant information to your designer. The previous homeowners may have passed on some of this info, or more recent surveyors may have created reports.
Once the Architect has suitable amounts of information, they can create a plan based on the house design and existing structure.
This information can help determine the need for planning permissions and other council or government-required forms.
Ideas You May Have
As stated above, mood boards and drawings are a great indicator for the Architect to determine your personal style and vision.
This could be a collection of photos, quick drawings or detailed sketches on more professional programmes. The designer will use these ideas as the catalyst and further expand on ideas to create a compressive plan.
However, most Architects won't directly use these images and instead use them as a reference for the design.
But don't fret if you lack drawings as you can verbally describe your vision or even tell a story of the magical garden at the Airbnb you visited that you dream of in your home. It all comes together to define your envisioned home and create the structure for the project.
Tips for Meeting With An Architect
Preparing For The Meeting
You may be anxious to meet with a professional Architect for the first time, as it requires you to figure out exactly what you want and how to communicate this effectively.
The information you need to put across includes needs, wants, budget, time and style preference. Although Architects are trained to easily catch onto your vision, they aren't mind-readers, so be fully prepared for the initial meetings.
Organise Your Ideas
Before meeting the Architect, spend time finalising your priorities; this can be done using a scrapbook, flash drive or another form.
Regardless of the size of a project, there will be obvious elements, layouts and styles that you're more drawn to.
Determine your wants and save them so that you can present them to the Architect during the first meeting. The designers' job is to get an overall sense of "you" and your tastes; having organised ideas speeds up this process and minimises potential misunderstandings.
Seek Expert Input
You chose to work with an Architect for their knowledge and experience, so trust them! They can develop fluid and workable plans that suit your demands whilst remaining realistic.
Many people may have tunnel vision when it comes to their ideal home, but ensure you're open to valuable insight and advice. Working with a reputable company that has vast experience gives security to the client. The chosen designer will have developed a multitude of plans and be able to offer great tips from window placement to future furniture layout.
Be Forthcoming About Your Budget
Your budget should be at the centre of planning, and although your Architect may have some exceptional ideas, they may not fall within your given budget and could waste your time.
Being clear about your budget from the first meeting will make following meetings easier and more effective. Stating something is too expensive is absolutely fine and nothing to feel anxious about as your designer will be able to provide alternative solutions.
Don't be too shy or nervous to ask your Architect important questions.
Although you may not know exactly what you're talking about, a good designer will be able to guide you through the process to develop efficient, comprehensive plans.
It's unlikely you'll have looked at blueprints, so ask for clarification to stay informed and confident with the project.
Ask About Past Projects
After selecting the right Architect, it's a great idea to check out their previous projects as they're likely to have worked on some similar to your vision. Similar elements and styles can be pulled out of these previous plans to help provide a clear direction and develop your unique plan.
Our Architects and Designers being professionally trained and having vast experience. Our services can also be applied to both residential and commercial projects, with no job too big or too small. Many elements are needed to make a project work.
We offer a comprehensive building project management service at an affordable price. So contact us today for a friendly and trusted service.
Architects Near Me
If you are looking for architectural services throughout Hounslow, Twickenham and the greater London area, then get in contact with our team today. We can offer advice and begin guiding you towards making the right decision.
Bob Trimble is a chartered architect registered with RIBA. Bob Trimble has 30 years of experience working with residential and commercial property projects. For 4 years, Bob Trimble has worked from his housing association and private architectural practice for clients throughout Hounslow, Twickenham, Richmond, Kingston Upon Thames, Teddington and the surrounding areas of London.