Choose a Professional

Make initial enquiries between several different service providers if desired. By comparing them, you will get a better idea of who offers what level of service, what their costs are, what previous experience they have in their portfolio, what level of PII cover they offer and how they might meet your needs. Compare it to buying a designer label or perhaps budgeting for a new car - what make and model are you looking for? References and testimonials from clients and others that have used the service are often a vital source of information in making your final choice.

Choosing an Architect

A good Architect will able to bring out the best in your aspirations, adjusted to suit your budget and anticipated build cost. Using an Architect is more creative and engaging than using a workaday drafting service, and should make you feel you are able to influence your design, explore alternative options, and realise its full potential.

The use of the title 'Architect' itself is protected by law and may only be used by registered persons; provision of a general 'architectural service' is less clearly defined and may be provided by others such as technicians. A professional Architect will be expected to:-

i) hold appropriate degree level qualifications

ii) be ARB Registered as a statutory minimum, usually being a RIBA member as well

iii) hold an appropriate level of Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) cover and

iv) will maintain personal CPD (Continuing Professional Development) training.

Typically an Architect will be required to have taken seven years of degree level training before the final Part III examination and professional registration. The ARB and RIBA websites offer further guidance on the benefits of using a registered Architect, but a creative professional approach that searches out the client's real needs in more depth might be the key advantage in using an Architect over others who simply offer to draught building plans.

With the addition of specific legal Health and Safety duties now placed upon every Client and Designer, there is an ever more compelling need to seek professional advice over the unqualified, uninsured, cut-price plan drawers that offer superficially similar services elsewhere in the marketplace.