what to look for in an architect

What to look for when hiring an architect

Hiring an architect is a crucial step when embarking on a construction or renovation project. Choosing the right architect can significantly impact the success and outcome of your project. We’ve put together a list of top ten considerations when hiring an architect.


Extension pictured above is by Yoko, architect in Richmond. See her full profile and shortlist her for your home project here.


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1. Find a Good Match for your Brief

Think about the main challenges or features of your project. For example, do you expect planning permission to be tricky? Are you keen to use a particular building method or material? Do you expect problems with the neighbours? Do you want the architect to focus on the exterior while you design the interior yourself? All of these questions will inform which kind of architect is suitable for your specific needs.

On Design for Me, you can attract interest from suitable candidates based on your brief. If you’re looking for an expert in a certain field – say so. Architects in your area will be sent your project post and will put themselves forward if they think they’re suitable.


2. Experience and Portfolio

One of the first things to assess when hiring an architect is their experience and portfolio. Look for an architect with a diverse portfolio that showcases a range of projects similar to yours. Examining their previous work can give you an idea of their design style, expertise, and versatility. A reputable architect will have no issue providing references or examples of completed projects.


3. Communication Skills

Effective communication is vital for any successful project, and it starts with your architect. During the interview process, pay attention to their communication skills. A good architect should be an attentive listener, understanding your vision, needs, and budget constraints. Clear and open communication will help avoid misunderstandings and ensure that your ideas are accurately translated into the design.

Architects’ proposals can be difficult to understand, and it’s all too common for a client to end up with finished results they weren’t quite expecting! Technology plays a significant role in modern architectural design. Inquire about the architect’s proficiency with design software, 3D modelling, and other technological tools that aid in the visualisation and communication of designs. However, it’s not a bad thing if they prefer to present their proposals in another way, e.g. hand sketches or physical models. Make sure you see some examples from their previous projects, so you can feel happy with how their proposals are presented.


4. Your Compatibility

Building a strong working relationship with your architect is essential since you will be collaborating closely throughout the entire project. Consider whether your personalities and working styles are compatible. An architect who values collaboration and respects your input will create a more enjoyable and productive experience.


5. Check their credentials

It’s crucial to do some background checks on the architect, including experience and portfolio. The ARB holds the register of qualified architects in the UK, and you can search for any architect on it here: https://architects-register.org.uk/.

Also, check that they have professional indemnity insurance.


6. References

Obtaining references from previous clients can provide valuable insights into an architect’s professionalism, design capabilities, and work ethic. Don’t hesitate to reach out to these references and ask about their experience working with the architect.


7. Budget management ability

Managing a project within a specific budget is essential. Ask the architect about their experience with budget management and how they ensure design decisions align with financial limitations. Their response will provide insights into their ability to balance aesthetics with practicality. Beware of architects who propose designs that significantly exceed your budget, as this could lead to financial strain during the construction phase.


8. Sustainability

With increasing environmental concerns, sustainable design practices have become a priority. Inquire about an architect’s commitment to sustainability and their strategies for incorporating green elements into their designs, such as energy-efficient features or the use of eco-friendly materials.


9. Their fees

Discuss the architect’s fee structure upfront to avoid misunderstandings about costs. Some architects charge a percentage of the overall project cost, while others may have a fixed fee or an hourly rate. Knowing the fees and payment schedule will help you plan your budget effectively.


10. Availability and timeframes

Lastly, inquire about the architect’s availability and their estimated timeline for completing the project. This will help you assess whether their schedule aligns with your project’s deadlines and ensure they can commit sufficient time to your work.



Hiring the right architect is a crucial step in turning your vision into reality for any construction or renovation project. By considering the architect’s experience, communication skills, compatibility, credentials, and budget considerations, you can make an informed decision. Avoiding common mistakes, checking references, and understanding the fee structure will further aid in the selection process. Remember, an architect-client relationship is a collaborative one, and finding the perfect fit will result in a successful and gratifying experience for both parties.



Design for Me helps homeowners find the best residential architects for their home building or renovation projects, all over the UK.


Once you register your project, we’ll match it with the best architects in your area and beyond, and you can see who may be available and eager to work on your project straight away.

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