The best way to choose an Architect is to meet him personally, and discuss your project. Most architects will be happy to meet with you at no charge , and to meet with you at either his office or onsite.

Things you need to do when selecting a short list of architects:

  1. Check out his Web site. This is a great snap shot of his best work!
  2. Call him and have a casual chat over the phone. Note whether he is listening to your needs and whether you feel comfortable with his approach.
  3. Ask about the level of service he provides. Some architects will not offer Contract Administration      ( i.e. Architect’s involvement during the construction process). Many will only do the Design and Documentation and then bow out of the project.
  4. Ask how busy he is with other projects and approximate time he would anticipate to complete the documentation stage.  Some architects specialise in Commercial or Residential, If you are looking to build a new home then make sure the architect’s main body of work IS Residential.




  1. Meeting a person face to face is the only way to really get a feel for whether you can work with him on a project that could take over a year to complete. It’s a long and challenging process, so make sure you like his personality, and that he comes across in a professional manner.
  2. Make sure you have done some homework and prepared a list of requirements for your home. If you have any images of things you like, then bring them along. Every little bit helps in trying to convey your needs. It also gives the architect an understanding of your expectations.
  3. Check how well he listens to your requirements, and then sit back and let him explain his thoughts on your project. He should be able to give you a mental image of what he proposes…. Sufficiently to get you excited!
  4. Discuss his experience in similar projects.   Town Planning issues, Time lines, Construction Costs. Potential problems he has experienced and how to avoid them.
  5. Ask to see a standard set of drawings and specifications that he has completed for a similar project. Note how detailed they are. A tender set of drawings should also include, all joinery details, electrical drawings, special details and a detailed specification. This is in addition to the standard plans and elevations required for a permit. Sometimes clients ask’ How Much”? when referring to fees without really understanding what they are getting.
  6. When asked by the Architect what your budget is, don’t hold back on being honest! It is very important to be upfront. If your budget is unrealistic for what you want, its best you know up now!
  7. When asking about the Architects fees, Explain what involvement you require, whether you want the Architect involved fully throughout the project, or a lesser service. The fees will vary from Architect to Architect, and may range from 8-15%  of the construction cost, depending on the size of the project. Typically Architects will charge a percentage of the construction cost, which means the fee is not fixed. If there are variations along the way during the construction process and the total cost of construction goes up, the architects fee will also be charged on the additional construction cost. This is obviously done to compensate for the added time associated with the variation. If you are not comfortable with the percentage approach. You could try and negotiate a fixed fee. There is no harm in trying!






  1. Once you have chosen your Architect, and wish to engage him, he should prepare a fee letter outlining his services and the respective fees payable at each stage.
  2. Review the fee letter and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ring and ask him. Once you are happy and understand the agreement fully. Sign a copy and return to his office.


Congratulations you have engaged your Architect, and are on your way towards the completion of an exciting project!