You want to build your Home Sweet Home, the place where you will truly feel at home, but what criteria should be used to make the house of your dreams a reality? Often, hiring an architect is not necessarily more expensive than going through a builder. As a bonus, the project will be more personalized. Here are our five tips for choosing your architect.
1. An architect in your state of mind
Before choosing an architect, ask to see his previous achievements, through his portfolio or in the field. It is important that the architect knows how to identify your expectations and, above all, that he can meet them. Even if he must adapt his work to your desires, it is better not to ask for a rustic style from an architect who prefers the contemporary. Turn to an architect who has a proven track record in the field of individual construction or has already completed a project similar to yours. And to verify your expertise and skills, you should not hesitate to examine your past constructions or current projects.
2. Compare the different architects available: quotes, work, deadlines and budgets
When choosing your architect, take the time to compare the different architects that interest you, to request quotes in order to better visualize the scope of the work and to determine a maximum budget envelope. Remember to check if the deadlines of his former achievements have been met, so that you know what to expect. The architect should feel involved in your project, it is essential to establish a relationship of trust with him.
3. An architect near you
Proximity remains an important point in your choice of an architect. The professional must be able to follow the site assiduously so as to verify, on a daily basis, the exact translation of his sketches in the field, the conformity to his routes, the supply of the right materials, the respect of deadlines, the correct sequence of steps. The closer the architect is to the site, the easier it will be for him to get to the site and monitor progress. With a local architect, the follow-up of the works will be guaranteed and the construction deadlines will be more easily respected.
This proximity also allows the owner to communicate to his architect, in time and in writing, any anomalies that the latter could have ignored or underestimated. Establishing a good relationship between the two also makes it possible to redouble vigilance and is a guarantee of the success of the project.
4. A credible architect
It is necessary to choose an architect offering three types of guarantees: the perfect completion of the work to cover all the defects and poor workmanship noted by the owner and recorded on the report upon receipt of the work, the warranty (2 years) of the good operation of equipment items and, finally, the ten-year guarantee to cover for 10 years the repair of damage affecting structural work.
The architect must also be registered. An architect has the quality of a master builder; however, a master builder is not necessarily an architect. One obtains the title of architect after validation of 5 years of studies in architecture, and one thus undertakes to respect specific codes.
5. Creation of a written contract
To embark on a project with confidence, you must enter into a contract with your architect so that both parties knowingly commit to respecting clear and precise points. There are sample contracts available from the Order of Architects. This must contain: the scope of the mission, the maximum budget, fees and payment terms. In this way, you will protect yourself from possible disputes. For his part, the owner will ensure to include late penalties if the envisaged deadlines were not respected. Collaborating with an architect offering all the guarantees should not prevent the owner from taking out work damage insurance which has the advantage of supplementing and anticipating the ten-year guarantee.