How to brief an architect

You will already have a good idea of what you want from your new home, but it’s important to make a list of requirements to present to your architect.

The first step is to put together a project brief.

The project brief is a list of everything you need from the self-build, including a rough design, your specific needs, an idea of your budget and any potential problems you have identified.

This is where the architect is most valuable. Taking a project brief to your first consultation with an architect allows them to guide you through each stage of the project – from design to cost, to planning, and finally, construction.

They will then do some basic appraisals to see if the project is feasible and give you a clear idea of your options. This can range from a sketch design solution to a full feasibility study and will enable you to decide on the best way forward.

Most importantly, they will identify the need for any approvals and other consultants, such as structural engineers.

The architect will then produce early concepts for you to look at, suggesting tweaks to your chosen design as necessary.

Minimalist room with chair

The final design brief should – within reason – meet your expectations and ensure your home will increase in value.

If you are on a tight budget, make it clear to your architect that you are happy with conventional design solutions as opposed to tailored features.

From here, the architect can further refine the design.

If you commission them to submit the design for planning approval, they can prepare technical drawings, plan the construction and invite tenders from building professionals.

It’s completely your choice how much of the process the architect undertakes on your behalf.