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experiences with Architects? novice here (SW London)

(11 Posts)
smilesandsun Sun 03-Dec-17 09:03:32

Were looking at doing some work to our place and need an architect.

What are the key questions to ask when looking around for an architect?

What should I expect in fees?

& is it at the end of the project all the way through like a direct debit? Need to budget accordingly.


PurpleWithRed Sun 03-Dec-17 09:07:06

One experience, doing a self-build. Apart from the obvious stuff like do you like the work they've done for other clients, do you feel they will listen to you but come up with ideas too, make sure they also have the technical backup to put their grand designs into action. Our architect designed the perfect home for us but was rubbish on the boring technical stuff like detailed roof spec, caused lots of delays.

smilesandsun Sun 03-Dec-17 11:39:59

thanks. Any other views?

BrandNewHouse Sun 03-Dec-17 11:42:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Archipops Sun 03-Dec-17 20:52:59

Ask how do they charge their fees. What agreement will they use? will it be Riba’s Domestic Project Agreement which will contain within it the Conditions of Appointment for an Architect, Small Project Services Schedule & The Fees and Expenses Schedule. These three documents together with a standard letter of appointment will form the agreement between you and the architect.

How much the fees are for different architects can vary a lot. As a very rough guide, it can be anything between 6% to 15% of the construction cost plus add VAT on top of that. Now, that is for the full scope of services from the definition & preparation of the brief to end of construction stage. The percentage above is just a rough guide, it can still vary greatly, but hopefully assist you in determining how much an architect would cost. For a straightforward house extension, you may not need the full scope of services that an architect can offer and provide.

In the RIBA small project services schedule 2013, there are eight defined stages within the project; Stage 0 - Stage 7. Just to give you an idea, Stage 2 is the concept design stage, and Stage 3 is Developed Design Stage. The planning application is made at the end of Stage 3. An architect will have to specify the scope of his services, identifying not only which stages he will provide his services for in relation to your project but also what his services will cover within those stages.

Each architect’s scheduling of his proposed fees will differ but hopefully this will give you a general guide. You will have to ask your architect specifically on these matters.

Good luck!

smilesandsun Sun 03-Dec-17 21:27:22

thanks all very helpful

smilesandsun Tue 05-Dec-17 07:07:17

what about when you pay your fees do you stagger it over the job or pay at certain points through hence larger bills but less of them?

JoJoSM2 Tue 05-Dec-17 08:17:28

OP, like Archipops explained above. You pay at the end of every stage and will have a schedule of payment from the architect beforehand.

We’ve only ever used an architect for smaller stuff like conversions, extensions etc and only for drawings and planning but not for overseeing the built so we’d pay a lump sum when they sent us the drawings.

Sarahsea1 Tue 05-Dec-17 18:22:00

OP, if you're in SW London and have a standard terrace do you defo need an architect? If it's the usual side return/loft then plans could be done by tech and a (very) good builder with knowledge of the area can build without architect's plans. You'll have additional costs with building regs though without building regs plans.

Doublechocolatetiffin Tue 05-Dec-17 18:40:22

Our architect usually charges 10-12% of the construction costs as a fee. We had a standard RIBA contract iirc. We didn’t pay that all up front though, it was billed to us in stages through the contract with the final amount being due after completion of the project.

I’d see at least 3 different architects, ask them about their experience, what level of service they offer, how involved they get in the project day to day (i.e. will they help you source materials etc), how often the do site visits and rough ideas for the project.

Some architects will literally just do some drawings and that’s it. Ours were much more involved and helped us source most of the materials, spent ages researching best ways to insulate our old building and did loads of revisions to the original plans without adding to the original cost.

I’d very happily recommend them if you’d like to know who they are, they are London based so I’m sure will cover SW.

Good architects all have a network of builders they have worked with too, which helps massively in trying to find a decent builder.

smilesandsun Mon 11-Dec-17 07:55:46

thanks all that is really helpful

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