How to Choose an Architect

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A great architect can turn your dream into reality, however, it is about finding the architect that can do this for you.

Loving an architect’s past work is not the only consideration when choosing one to renovate your home or new building project. There are other just as important factors to consider also. Things like qualifications, experience, integration of style and if you could work comfortably together throughout the journey.

Here are some tips where to look for a great architect, what to ask, and how to go about choosing the right one for your project.

One or two of the biggest mistakes people make when selecting an architect are these:

Not choosing an architect who is compatible with their needs. If you are passionate about contemporary architecture and they are not will be a problem. There will be clashes of views for sure.

Opting for the cheapest fee when choosing an architect. You need to compare apples with apples, like are they actually producing the same service?

Don’t underestimate the amount of work involved in the contract documentation. To get an idea of the level of detail required, ask your architect to show you a previous client’s set of working drawings and specifications. Then compare them with what is shown by other architects you are considering. Its worth noting here that it is not worth the risk to save money on an architect’s fees by carrying out the contract administration and managing the on-site part of the job yourself. Nine times out of ten it’s a very expensive learning experience all in the endeavour to save a few dollars. 

Make sure you chose an architect that has proven experience, not only in the design process, but also overseeing the project during construction. They will act as your agent during the build to answer all the builder’s queries, issue instructions on variations needed or that you may want changed, and making sure you get the finished building that was designed in the approved plans.

Who should you ask for recommendations?

Family, friends or work colleagues who have previously used an architect is a good starting point, as they have first hand experience of them and you trust their thoughts if you are asking them.  You can also look up The Royal Australian Institute of Architects register of professions in good standing with them. 

It’s also important to not choose the architect who tells you they can build to your project to budget, when every other architect or quantity surveyor has told you it cannot be done.

When interviewing a prospective architect, ask them to clearly state the boundaries of their expertise and what is and isn’t included in their fees. Your budget should include an allowance for additional contingency amount for expenses such as permit fees and other consultants’ fees.


In the final stage of your selection process, we strongly recommend that you ask for referees you can contact that have done similar projects that you are doing. This should also include builders and other consultants such as structural and civil engineers. You’ll be able to gauge by their feedback if the architect is capable of providing the standard of design and oversight that you are looking for.  

What should you look for on an architect’s website?

The description of services they offer is a good starting point.

If you have a particular style in mind, see if the architect’s work aligns with your vision.

Make sure the architect has the ability to delivering what you want. For example, if you want a brand new home, don’t choose an architect who specialises in clubs and retail complexes

Read testimonials and references online and check the reviews on their Google my Business listing.

See if you can ascertain whether their work is built to budget, or if there is a common theme running through their portfolio and referees that their final design was too expensive to build and had to be cut back.

The blogging team have had personal experience with The Quinlan Group, Architects Sydney Residents trust. They have extensive experience and awards in residential home design. To learn more about them visit their website here: www.thequinlangroup.com