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How to Find a Manchester Architect

How to Find a Manchester Architect: The only guide you’ll ever need to find the best architects and the right questions to ask before you hire them.

 

You think this wouldn’t be an issue, but believe it or not, lots of people have a hard time finding an architect for their project.

Think about it for a second. . .

 

To get the home of your dreams, you have to struggle with planning permission and go through the ordeal of building. Add on top of that working with an architect that can communicate with you smoothly. It’s quite an ordeal.

I am here to tell you: you are no longer facing a silent war.

Throughout the years one thing that people always ask me is how to find an architect. So today I thought I would settle this once and for all. I sincerely want to help you make this process more straightforward.

This doesn’t have to be a tense experience, you’re allowed to have fun in the process.

 

Where to find Manchester architects?

Looking to hire an architect may seem like a scary place to venture into, I understand. It shouldn’t be.  The process should be straightforward, after all – all architects do the same thing. Isn’t it? Well… We’ll cover more on that later in this article.

What I’m trying to say is, if you are looking to extend your home or renovate it you should be able to find someone easily. In theory, all of us should be professional enough to design a functional project that doesn’t fall apart.

However, bringing a project to life and ensuring quality design are two different things. After all, aesthetics is a matter of subjectivity. So how does one choose an architect?

First, let’s have a look at the places we can find architects online.

 

Google

Google is the obvious place to go so of course it would be at the top of our list. This is a great place to start your search. One remarkable thing about Google is that you can see reviews. Studies show that 92% of consumers read online reviews before choosing a business.

For example, if you check google results for Studio Tashkeel you can see that we have a 5 star rating, you can find us easily on google maps, see our opening hours and most importantly read our customers reviews.

 

ARB

The Architects Register is the definitive record of all UK architects. It’s a quick way to check whether or not an architect is genuine or not. As stated in their website: “By checking the Register before commissioning services, you can make an informed choice about who to hire for your project.”

 

YELL

You can also try using Yell to find Manchester architects. Yell is the UK’s leading online business directory. You can search for architecture firms, understand what they do and read reviews from their clients as well.

 

Houzz

Houzz is another helpful site to find architects and designers. Houzz is the place to go for all things architecture. It is a community with over 2.5 million home professionals that are ready to help you get the job done.

The process has become easier than ever. For example, on our Houzz profile you can see the kind of services we provide, the areas served and the awards we’ve earned.

Alternatively, You can also check our site to understand a bit more of what we can do to reinvent your home.

What do Architects actually do?

So you figured out you need an architect to get started. Brilliant.

So, what is an architect? Do they just draw, do they also build? Are they involved in planning and supervising as well?

Let me clear up all doubts you might have, tell you a bit more about them and why architects matter. For starters, I’m sure the idea of an architect in your head is of a person that designs buildings.

Their job goes far beyond that.

 

Architects are skilled, licensed professionals that take care of planning and designing buildings. They work alongside contracted builders during the construction phase as well as working with budgets, and overseeing project developments. Additionally, they are also responsible for the health and safety of their building’s future tenants.

Yes, they design buildings. But, their job goes beyond the artistic element.

They also have to think of:

  • Project management
  • Create buildings that are functionally based on their client’s needs
  • Think of the electrical and plumbing situation and incorporate it seamlessly into their designs
  • Get planning permission/licences (if required) and work to laws and council approval
  • Mitigate issues or concerns to ensure a smooth process in the construction phase.

 

You should now understand how architects play a major role in the construction of any project.

 

Types of architects

Yes, architects come in different sizes, shapes and with a variety of expertise. Here are the main specialised roles you can find under the architecture umbrella.

  1. Residential Architect: Residential architects are concerned with customisation. They work with clients that want their homes to follow a particular design.
  2. Commercial Architect: As the name implies, commercial architects deal with commercial or public buildings. They prioritise functionality. Think of designing office spaces that get enough sunlight or shopping malls with ample parking space.
  3. Interior Designer: This is where lots of artistic sense is required. Interior designers think of colour theory, furniture, material and fabric to make everything pleasant to the eye. 
  4. Technical Architect: The main responsibility of technical architects is to ensure that building planning meets the required standard for optimum functionality. In some cases, they can get involved with construction management.
  5. Urban Designer: Urban designers deal with projects like neighbourhoods and cities. They’re also in charge of developing street networks and pathways (very useful if you are planning to start a city redevelopment).

 

As you can see, the possibilities are endless.

To sum it up in one nice paragraph, hiring the right architect is crucial. They can take care of all your needs. They will also provide their expertise to bring about creative solutions for your building problems. They’re ready to walk with you hand in hand and make your dreams a reality. However, to ensure smooth progress you need to ask the right questions.

This brings me to my next point.

 

Top Questions to Ask before Hiring (don’t skip)

Ok, you read till this point. Thanks!

I know that was a lot but you should essentially have a basic understanding of what do architects do, why you need one, the different specialities and where to find them.

The next step is to prepare a series of questions to ask your potential architect and assess whether or not you are a good fit for each other.

DISCLAIMER: Hiring the wrong architect or firm can cost you thousands down the line. This is why you need to hire the right architect. One who has honed his craft.

Now, this is where it gets interesting.

 

Let’s say you’ve already talked to a few dozen firms and after careful consideration, you narrowed your focus to two firms. At first glance and from your interaction with the architect it seems they can be skilled enough to deliver a project the way you want it, the way it makes you happy.

Now… how to make a choice?

Here are some questions worth asking to help your decision-making process easier.

 

Experience

This helps you see where they began in their career and how they have handled different projects. You need to ask them for a portfolio or a list of references. Have a look at ours here.

Sample questions:

  •  “What sets your firm apart from other architects with similar experience?”
  •  “Do you have experience with the size of my project?”

 

Your project

You need to know how they project manage and what things they will take care of in order to minimise any issues.

Sample questions:

  • What challenges do you foresee for my project?
  • What is your estimated timetable for my project?
  • What do you expect me to provide?
  • Do you have a solution for my problem?

 

Design

This is a very important part of your project. You want to be sure the firm you are looking to hire has the experience to take on your project. As we spoke earlier, there are a number of different types of architects, specialising in either commercial or residential projects. A rule of thumb is to pick the firm that specialises in the kind of project you want to build.

Sample questions:

  • What are the steps in the design process, and how do you organise everything?
  • How will you help me to understand the scope and sequence of the project? Will you provide models, drawings, or computer animation?
  • How disruptive will construction be?
  • What criteria will be used to establish priorities and make design decisions?

 

Services

After you have gotten the design questions out of the way and you are confident they can handle your project. You now need to know what services they provide. Some firms, like us are well rounded and provide a full range of services. This can include planning permission and building regulations – while others focus on just one aspect of the project, like drawings for example.

Remember you want to put your project in the hands of an architect you can trust and can deliver quality results.

Sample questions:

  • Do you arrange planning approval?
  • How do you assess costs?
  • Do you take care of project management?

All of these questions should be discussed beforehand as they are crucial when making a decision to hire the best architects. Our team is fortunate to have had extensive so-called ‘large practice’ experience. So if you are looking for a firm that handles residential and commercial sectors with utmost efficiency, quality and ethics look no further. You are in good hands.  You can email us today for a consultation or give us a call.

 

Fees

This is the part many of my clients always wonder about. “How much is this going to cost me?” or “How do architects charge their fees?”.

 

I know that one of the main fears people have about architects is blowing their budget. Interestingly, you don’t necessarily have to break the bank to get things done the way you want.

 

Here are some questions that will help you get a better idea:

  • How do you establish fees?
  • What is included in your basic services and what services would incur additional fees?
  • If the scope of the project changes later in the project, will there be additional fees?
  • How will these fees be justified? How will this be communicated to me?
  • What is your track record with completing a project within the original budget?

 

Before starting your project, make sure you give it a day or two to think about anything else you might’ve missed. For example, you might change your mind about where to have the laundry room, or perhaps you want to optimise your kitchen with a walk-in pantry to stack all your snacks.

 

What To Expect from Your Architect?

Now you’ve got the questions noted down and perhaps, you’ve rehearsed them before the meeting.

So what should you expect from an architect? Good question.

Most likely you will hire an architect only once in your life, to design your dream home and you have no idea what to expect.

Don’t worry. Let me give you a quick walkthrough.

I think I should remind you that architecture is a service industry. Therefore, customer service matters a lot more than you think.

Keep in mind: Your prospective architect has to have a well-rounded, service-minded personality.

Upon your first consultation, you can expect to discuss your ideas, your available budget and a timetable. You want to end the meeting feeling confident that this person will exceed your expectations. For the simple reason that you and the firm are going to spend a good amount of time together.

 

This section will help you ensure a smooth relationship.

 

Pre-Construction Phase

This is a very crucial element. Before any project commences you want to have someone who is really interested in your project and understands your vision to come up with a flawless design. This will make the rest of the project run more smoothly, saving you time, money and stress.

Things to keep in mind before the project begins:

  • How busy is the architect?
  • Who will you be meeting with throughout the entire process? Is this the same person who will be designing the project?
  • How often will we have meetings?

 

Needs and Budget

In this stage, you will talk about what you want to achieve and how much money you have available to set aside for this project. This is important since your budget will determine what can and cannot be achieved.

 

Things to keep in mind before the project begins:

  • Make sure you know how the architect establishes fees.

 

Communication

It’s safe to say that communication is key. And when it comes to building your dream home there is no exception.

 

This is why it is important to determine whether the architect will have enough time to not only walk you through the process but be present to answer any queries you might have along the way.

 

I personally think that it is crucial that you know who you should speak to when the need arises and communicate directly.

 

Things to keep in mind:

  • Get a clear understanding of how the firm is organised, who is on the team and how they handle labour.

 

Opportunity

A well-established firm should have a keen eye to help you save money and spot business opportunities. Let’s be honest, It doesn’t matter if you are just re-doing a room or renovating a whole property, hiring an architect is a big investment.

A good architect will ensure you are making the most of all existing space while still maintaining the integrity of the design.

 

Problem Solving

You should expect your architect to understand your pain points and find creative solutions for seemingly impossible problems that don’t jeopardise your idea. At any given point during the development of your project issues will surface. Your architect needs to have the capacity to come up with ideas to avoid unnecessary delays.

At Studio Tashkeel we thrive in quality, resilience and permanence. We take quite seriously the immense responsibility surrounding our role – our building users spend the majority of their day in the spaces we design.

We are firm believers of making ‘live-ability’ an important cornerstone in our work. A great architect understands your needs and puts them as top priority. They research the best materials to ensure top quality and save you on extra hidden costs.

This should be more than enough to help you make a decision, but in case you have any other questions, we are here to help.

How To Talk To Architects and Get the Best of Out of It

After the expectations have been met and you are convinced this architect understands your pain points and desires. It’s time to get going and get the best out of your experience.

To prepare you beforehand I thought of giving you an idea of how things might look like.

 

A typical interaction might go something like this:

 

You will probably share with the architect your ideas and expect them to start working on them first thing in the morning.  Before that, there’s a lot to be covered (see the section ‘Problem Solving’ above).

 

Yes, we know, we understand your project is a priority and you can’t wait for your dream house to become a reality.  Rule #1 is to be patient. At Studio Tashkeel we put to work the best practices to consistently add value to our clients.

 

Once you make initial contact with an architect, there are a few things you can do to make sure you attain a home that works well and fits your lifestyle.

 

  • Be decisive: Know what you want beforehand. If you have trouble, let your architect know early on. Like I said above, they should come up with creative solutions.
  • Ask questions: Not sure about something? Ask. You have to make sure you understand everything on paper before it’s built. That’ll save everyone time, money and unpleasant surprises.
  • Speak up: Do you feel uncomfortable with any suggestion your architect has made? Make sure you let them know.

 

Concluding Words

The more you engage with your architect, the higher the chances of a great result. You should live in a property you are satisfied and comfortable with. Finding the right person to help you achieve that vision is a great investment.

You have to be sure you are satisfied with their drawings and make sure they understand your needs and specifications before the builders get to work. Remember, it is easier to redraw a line on paper than moving a wall!

Thank you for reading. I hope you found this guide helpful in your search for an effective and professional architect.

If you’re in Manchester you don’t have to keep looking further for an architect. You can talk to us today and we can work together with you to make your dream home a reality.

 

 

Disclaimer: Our architecture practice is not in any way claiming to be ARB registered however our services, commitment and deliveries are on par with the very best in the industry.

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