Have you got a major home project on the horizon? Perhaps you’re planning to move into a house that needs renovation. Or maybe you’re desperate to add some much needed space to transform your existing home into a modern masterpiece that you’ll just love spending time in. We’ve put together this handy guide to help you choose a good architect.

Whatever your motivation or aspirations, the one thing all successful home builds have in common is a good architect. But of course we would say that being architects right? Well, yes to a certain degree, but let me outline where those architect fees go and highlight the ways in which a good architect will add value and really maximise your pound to wow ratio.

So what does an architect do? 

 

“A good architect actually pays for themselves – more than once. You will reap the reward and the building will be hugely better and deliver much better value for it.” Kevin McCloud, Grand Designs

 

1. Maximising Light & Space

Modern bungalow renovation

 

Modern house design incorporates elements like space, light and texture to a powerful effect to go beyond building just a room to creating a space that’ll fulfil its function and just feels so good to be in. There’s some pretty solid science that says good design has a measurable physiological effect on us humans. A good RIBA chartered architect understands that.

With people in Britain spending 90% of their time indoors, a good architect can make that time well spent and enjoyable. An architect will begin to understand your site inside out, developing your design to make the most of the evening sun and those key views.

It might seem obvious, but a building is pretty redundant if it isn’t functional. Theres no point in a room that looks good if furniture doesn’t fit or the room is too dark!

 

2. In-depth Knowledge of the Planning system

The planning system can be a minefield…  but local architects have got it covered! They’ll have established working relationships with the local planners and will understand whether your dream is likely to end up a reality. They will help advise and adjust ideas accordingly to do the very best they can to secure planning permission.

Regardless of whether your project is small and simple or large and detailed, it always pays to have someone on your side who is familiar with the local planning system. A good architect will know what may or may not gain approval.

At Footprint Architects we stay in contact with the planning officer throughout the process, ensuring that they have everything need and that minor issues can be resolved along the way. Finding a good architect who knows the local planning system could help save you the stress and cost of a planning rejection.

Did I mention we have 100% record of achieving planning approvals across Dorset and Hampshire?

a modern timber extension to a home in the New Forest
By understanding the local context we were able to achieve planning for this modern extension on the edge of the New Forest

 

3. Accredited by a Professional Body

An easy way to see if your architect is fully qualified is by checking whether they’re registered with the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) and listed on the Architects Registration Board ARB register. Chartered architects are subject to a statutory code of practice and have professional indemnity insurance. This offers you protection and peace of mind if something were to go wrong up to 12 years after your build. RIBA chartered practices are committed to life long learning, equality, ethical business practices and improving the environment. You’ll also be reassured to know that your architect will have spent at least 7 years studying and training craft to get their accreditation.

Choosing an RIBA accredited Chartered Practice will also give you peace of mind. They comply with strict criteria covering insurance, health and safety and quality management systems. Footprint Architects are an RIBA Chartered Practice and the director is an RIBA Client Adviser. RIBA Client Advisers are selected by the RIBA for their all-round design experience, business knowledge and track-record of delivering results in construction projects.

 

4. Cutting Edge Technology

A good architectural practice understands the need to present their ideas in a way that is clear and uncomplicated. Not everyone speaks architect right? 

New technology can really bridge the gap between the designer and you, the client. 

Our clients love that we can present designs in 3D and create Virtual Reality models that can be explored. It means you can see exactly how the space will work in a photo-real way. It’s pretty cool actually. On a practical note it helps identify changes you might want to make in the early stages before things get built ultimately reducing spend and stress further along.

We’re really passionate about new tech and are proud to be one of the only architectural practices in the south offering this service. 

 

5. A Magic Eye!

timber and brick modern terrace house design in Poole
Footprint Architects achieved more with less when creating this series of affordable modern homes at Faith Gardens in Poole

 

A good architect will be able to do more than just draw your plans on a computer. The best architects will be able to see the potential where others don’t! They will consider every part of the design, applying creative and impartial thinking to a project, whether it is small or large.

In our work at Faith Gardens in Poole we designed good quality, small starter homes on a site that was considered ‘un-developable’. The budget was tight and the site was small, but at Footprint Architects we enjoy a challenge and the chance to do more with less! We achieved planning for a series of two bedroom family homes by using our creativity and finding clever solutions.

When working in existing buildings we love creating a rich, bright and exciting internal environment that is cost effective without being compromised.

 

6. Capturing Your Brief

A good architect adds value by listening carefully, capturing your brief and turning it into something that exceeds what you had in mind. 

Warm and cosy or large and bright? An architect will not just decide what room goes where or draw up plans for you. They will apply their creativity to explore how you live and what you want the spaces to feel like. 

Simply put they’ll strive to listen and turn that wish list of light, space and modern living into a buildable solution that works for you!

 

7. Maximise Your Budget & Save You Money

Who doesn’t want to get the most bang for their buck? And where building a modern home is concerned you might feel your pockets just aren’t quite deep enough. This is where a good architect will help you really make savvy decisions that’ll help you achieve the end result you want on budget. 

Efficient floor plans, cost-effective material selections and a collaborative design process will really nail down the design avoiding costly changes needing to be made during construction. 

In the longer term they’ll save you money on utilities by designing a high performing house through expert material selection and meeting leading industry standards. 

Also factor in that if you plan to sell your home in the future good architectural design will increase its desirability to potential purchasers. 

 

Click here to see more of our residential projects, or click here to speak to an architect about your dream project.