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Don’t make these 7 mistakes when you hire an architect

Professional advice

When you hire an architect for your home improvement you’re not only hiring someone who will provide great design, you’re hiring someone who can save you money and guide you through the process every step of the way. From initial design ideas to recommendations for trades and suppliers, your architect has a wealth of experience you can tap into.

But home improvement is a complex process, and there are many ways the working relationship can become derailed. Here are 7 mistakes to avoid to ensure you have the best possible outcome for your home improvement by getting the best out of your architect.

Make sure you share the same style preferences

Before you hire an architect, you need to make sure you’re choosing the right person or firm for your project. 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 trying to reconcile your differing points of view.

Spend time researching different firms, look at the work on their websites. Social media sites such as Instagram, Pinterest and Houzz are also fantastic resources for familiarising yourself with the work of different firms.

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Be upfront about how much you want to spend

Be honest with your architect about what you want and, more importantly, what your budget is. You might think keeping your budget secret will keep costs down, but to best advise you your architect will need to know exactly how much you have to spend. This is the only way to guide you on how best to invest your money in a way that will ensure you get optimum value for money.

Architects will be able to advise what will add value and what won’t. They will also be able to tell you where it’s worth spending on structural elements and where you can scale back, such as with finishes etc to.. ensure you stay on budget. You might find your funds don’t stretch as far as your expectations.

The last thing you want is to run out of money halfway through or discover late in the project that had your architect known you had additional funds they would have made different decisions. By being upfront from the outset you are setting yourself up for the best possible outcome.

Trust your architect to make decisions

When you hire an architect, you need to trust them to make good decisions. A good architect who is experienced in home design will help you to tease out ideas and will constructively challenge your thinking.

Resist the temptation to go looking for too many opinions. Not only will having too many viewpoints leave you feeling completely confused but you will also be undermining your architects’ position and risk damaging the working relationship.

home renovation project

Be clear about what you want

You know your home and will have ideas about how you want to change it. It’s essential you communicate these to your architect so they really understand what your vision for your home is and can offer a solution that best suits you. Don’t worry about influencing your architect by sharing these ideas.

The more information you can put into your brief the better the outcome will be. Ideabooks or scrapbooks are a fantastic way to share your thoughts and helpful in trying to describe your vision for your home.

The most important thing is to have a very clear picture of what you are ultimately trying to achieve. Whether it’s a bigger kitchen so you can entertain more, or an additional bedroom it’s essential you are clear about your end goal. Don’t get too hung up on the steps involved to reach the goal. Your architect will help navigate you through the process.

Changing your mind too far into the process

Once a decision has been made be prepared to move on. The worst thing you can do is to start second-guessing and changing your mind. Chopping and changing throughout the design and build process is a recipe for disaster. Not only will this cost you time and money but it will put a real strain on relationships. It’s essential once you’ve signed off on the design to move confidently to the next stage.

hiring home renovation architects

Making decisions without updating the architect

It’s critical your architect has a clear picture of what is going on throughout the project. Any conversations or decisions made need to be communicated with everyone on the team. Even if the decisions involve things your architect is not directly responsible for, or involved in, it’s essential they are fully informed.

All decisions are likely to have implications for other elements of the project. For example, if you are selecting specific finishes or fittings the lead time or fitting requirements may not fit into the project’s timeline, so adjustments will need to be made to the whole schedule or budget.

Hire someone you get along with.

This is probably the most important of all. 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 on a regular basis throughout this time. When you hire an architect it’s vital above all else that you get along with the person you’ve chosen to work with.

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Denise O'Connor

Author Denise O'Connor

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