How to choose and architect… It’s not as simple as you think

If you are embarking on a property renovations project, planning is key. You need to have all the major players in place before you can break ground, including architects, interior designers, builders and surveyors. At SDA Build London, our years of experience working on high-end property renovation projects have taught us the importance of working together and managing all the components that are involved in a property renovation project. So, not only are we building contractors, but we can manage your entire build from start to finish, including helping you choose the right architects, designers and suppliers for your project.

Whilst we have worked with some of London’s most talented and creative architects and designers, we are happy to work with your architect or designer. It’s important that your builders, architects and designers work closely together as a team to achieve your vision.

One of the most important people in your property renovation project is your architect. Without him or her, there is no project. It’s vital therefore, to find an architect that shares your vision, has the necessary skills and creative flair to implement that vision and one that has a working style you can align yourself to.

7 questions to ask when choosing an architect 

(we suggest reviewing at least 3 accredited architects before taking a decision).

  1. Have you worked in the local area?

Architects who have worked in the area are more likely to know the local planning rules and regulations. It’s important that they understand the local authority planning rules and regulations and know the latest building regulations required. If they don’t, their design might be great, but if it can’t be built, your money is wasted.

  1. What are the size of projects you have done in the past?

Depending on the size of your project, you need to find out what kind of work the architect has done in the past. For example, if you need a complete rebuild of a large detached house, you don’t want someone whose biggest project has been a side extension. Make sure you see some of the work they have done first hand and speak to previous clients. Ask detailed questions on the architect’s ability to find solutions to problems that may arise during the build (they always do).

  1. Can you project manage?

It’s one thing to create designs for a property renovation project, it’s altogether another thing to manage all the aspects of the project. You need to find out how the architect works. Does he or she give your contractor all the drawings and leaves it to them to implement, or is the architect hands on, managing the various aspects of the project themselves including the builders, electricians, building control surveyors, etc.? This also depends on how involved you want the architect to be in terms of project management.

  1. Do you have any areas of specialisation?

Again, depending on the kind of work you are doing, you will need an architect who’s experienced in what you need. For example, basement conversion specialists, restoration or preservation specialists, green energy specialists or any other area of expertise that needs specialist treatment.

  1. What would you do with my project?

Whilst you may have an idea of what you want, does the architect make recommendations and suggestions? You can gauge an architect’s interest in a project by the time spent at your property in the first meeting, whether they listen to you and whether they have any immediate suggestions. Don’t expect them to give you all their thoughts before you officially hire them, but you should be able to assess their enthusiasm.

  1. Do you work with a specific structural engineer?

Architects and structural engineers work closely with each other and most architects have their own structural engineers they like to work with. Find out how many projects they have worked on together.

  1. How well do you manage timescales?

One of the most annoying aspects for a contractor is to have to chase architects and structural engineers for drawings and often projects are unnecessarily delayed because the architect has not sent the relevant drawings to your builder. Make sure the architect is responsive via email or mobile and comes back with answers to your queries in a timely manner or you will spend considerable amounts of time chasing for drawings and responses to any issues that may crop up.

Hiring an architect is one of the most important decisions you will make in your property renovation project. Make sure you do your homework by asking for references from previous clients and builders they have worked it. Make sure they are accredited by RIBA or any of the other industry accreditation bodies.

The SDA Build London team work with experienced architects that have a variety of specialisations. If you are thinking about a property renovation project, give us a call on 0208 191 7595 or email us at for a chat.

Why not book a FREE (no obligation) consultation? A member of our team will come around to your property, assess your needs, make some recommendations and provide you with a quote.