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As a practice, we pride ourselves on being helpful people who do what is right by our clients. In that vein we have written answers to some frequently asked questions that you might have. If you have a question that does not feature or would like to know more please do get in contact. You can jump to a specific question by clicking the list below.

When is the right time to appoint an Architect?

The right time to appoint an architect depends on the nature and scope of the project. In general, it is advisable to involve an architect as early as possible, preferably during the initial planning stages to ensure you capitalise on the value they can bring to a project.  This allows the architect to provide valuable input and guidance on the feasibility of the project, site selection, planning requirements, and other important factors that can affect the design and construction process.

In many cases, it may be sensible to appoint an architect even before the project is fully defined. They can help to determine the scope and requirements of the project. For example, if you are planning to build a new facility, it may be helpful to work with an architect during the early stages of site selection and conceptual design to ensure that the project is designed in a way that meets your needs, fits within your budget, and complies with local planning frameworks. It also allows the architect to work collaboratively with you and other stakeholders to develop a design that reflects your vision for the project. The more time an architect has to work with you the more they can understand you and your business.

In other cases, such as renovations or remodelling of existing premises, you may be able to engage an architect later in the process, after the scope and requirements of the project have been established.

Ultimately, the right time to appoint an architect will depend on your specific project needs and goals. It is important to communicate with your chosen architect to determine the best approach and timing for your project.

If you are in any doubt, then we would suggest ‘it’s never too early’ to contact an architect to discuss your ideas.  Most, like us, are more than willing to have a conversation free of charge to act as a sounding board and flag up issues for consideration. 

How do I find the right Architect?

Finding the right architect for your project can be a challenging task. Here are some steps that you can follow to help you find the right architect:

  1. Determine your project requirements: Before you start your search, it's important to have a clear idea of your project requirements, such as the project scope, budget, timeline, and style preferences. This will help you narrow down your search to architects who are a good fit for your specific project.

  2. Ask for referrals: Ask colleagues, business associates or owners of buildings who have recently completed a construction project for recommendations. You can also ask contractors, builders, or engineers for referrals.

  3. Research online: Use online resources to research architects in your area. Check out their websites, portfolio, and reviews to get a sense of their style, approach, and reputation.

  4. Check qualifications: Ensure that the architect you choose is licensed and registered with the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) and ARB (Architects Registration Board) or CIAT (Charter Institute of Architectural Technologists). You should check their credentials, experience, and portfolio to ensure that they have the expertise and skills required for your project.

  5. Interview potential candidates: Once you have a shortlist of potential architects, set up meetings or interviews to discuss your project and determine if they are a good fit for your needs. Ask about their design philosophy, experience with similar projects, and communication style. ‘Liking’ an architect is an important factor in working with them.

  6. Check references: Finally, don't forget to check references from previous clients to get a sense of their experience working with the architect and the quality of their work.

Remember, finding the right architect is an important decision that can significantly impact the success of your project. Take your time to research and interview potential candidates to find the right fit for your needs.

Why do I need an Architect?

There are several reasons why you might need an architect, depending on your situation and objectives:

  • Design expertise: An architect is a trained professional with expertise in design and construction. They can help you translate your vision into a cohesive design that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional.

  • Planning Permissions and Building Regulations: An architect is familiar with local planning policies and building regulations and can help ensure that your project complies with these requirements.

  • Project management: An architect can help manage your project, from the initial design phase through construction and completion. They can coordinate with contractors and other professionals involved in the project to ensure that everything is completed on time and within budget.

  • Cost savings: While it may seem counterintuitive, hiring an architect can actually save you money in the long run. They can help you design a more efficient and sustainable building, which can lead to lower energy costs over time. Furthermore, due to their expertise they may be able to advise on solutions that avoid additional costs or provide more value.

  • Increase property value: A well-designed building can increase the value of your property. An architect can help you create a design that maximizes the potential of your property and makes it more attractive to potential buyers or tenants.

Overall, hiring an architect can help ensure that your project is successful, efficient, and aesthetically pleasing, while also complying with regulations and potentially increasing the value of your property.

How much does an Architect Cost?

The cost of an architect can vary widely depending on various factors such as location, experience, complexity of the project, and scope of services needed and can range anywhere from 3.5% to 20% of the construction cost (the amount you pay the builder or contractor).

At this point we would stress it's important to understand that the cost of an architect's services is just one factor to consider when choosing an architect. It's just as important to consider the architect's experience, reputation, communication skills, and compatibility with your project's goals and vision.

That said, fees can be calculated in a number of ways, depending on services required and the project's nature. Some of the most common ways architects charge include:

  1. Hourly: The architect charges an hourly rate for their time spent on the project. This method is most commonly used for small projects or consultations.

  2. Fixed fee: The architect charges a fixed fee for the entire project or a specific phase of the project. This method is commonly used where the architect can estimate the amount of time and effort required to undertake the required services.

  3. Percentage of construction cost: The architect charges a percentage of the project's total construction cost. This method is commonly used for larger or more complex projects, where the architect's fee is directly tied to the project's size and complexity.

  4. Combination of the above: The architect may charge a combination of the above methods, depending on the project's specific requirements and which services the client is seeking. For example, a fixed fee may only allow for certain work and anything outside of this would incur an hourly charge.

It's always best to obtain several quotes from architects to determine a fair price for your project and we would urge you to take the time to meet with them to discuss your proposed project.  Listen to what ideas they offer and how they propose to handle the challenges they can identify.  More often than not you will find that one practice feels like a good fit, and they may not be the least expensive, but could easily offer the best value, saving time or adding value to the scheme through good design.

Having settled on a fee, make sure you have a clear understanding of what services are included in the fee.  It is essential to have a written agreement outlining the scope of services and the fee structure to avoid misunderstandings or disagreements later on.

What are feasibility studies?

Architectural feasibility studies are an evaluation of the practicality and viability of a proposed construction project. These studies are typically conducted by architects in conjunction with other construction professionals (particularly on larger projects) and involve a comprehensive assessment of the project's design, engineering, and economic feasibility.

The purpose of an architectural feasibility study is to determine whether a proposed project can be successfully completed within a set of constraints such as budget, timeframe, available resources, and Town Planning framework. The study takes into account the physical characteristics of the site, the project's scope and objectives, and the proposed building materials, systems, and technology.

During an architectural feasibility study, architects may create a preliminary design for the project and consider factors such as environmental impact, planning requirements, and building regulations. They may also conduct a site analysis to assess the suitability of the location for the proposed project.

The results of the feasibility study are then used to inform the decision-making process and determine whether the project should move forward. If the study indicates that the project is not feasible, then modifications may be made to the design, scope, or budget to improve its chances of success.

Overall, architectural feasibility studies are an important part of the construction process as they help to ensure that proposed projects are both viable and sustainable.

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We like to build a project around a team and they stay with it from conception to completion. Below are the key members of our team who could be working with you to create your dream project.

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Ayshford Sansome

6 Riverside House

Lower Southend Road

Wickford, Essex

SS11 8BB, England


+44 (0) 1268 562 266

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1422-4 London Road

Essex SS9 2UL

©2023 by Ayshford Sansome.

Ayshford Sansome Ltd

Chartered Architects

01268 562266

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