Why work with an architect?
It’s the number one question that pops up when planning a renovation or construction project. It’s also the subject of great debate, among both private and commercial clients. Some of the common concerns that are raised when considering an architect: Too expensive. Too time-consuming. And even if you were to work with an architect, which one should you choose? You don’t personally know any architects. So you decide to manage your renovation on your own.
You’re imagining how to modernise your house, your apartment, your restaurant. You’re visualising your bathroom, the living room, the bedrooms… It’s your new obsession. You run through your address book looking for a friend of a friend who renovated their place and you ask them for their advice. You look for artisans, carpenters, masonry, tiles…
After 10 phone calls, 3 rescheduled meetings, 2 cancelled appointments, you’ve finally managed to book an appointment with a plumber, a tiler and a painter. You receive 5 different quotes. You break them down, compare them, try to understand each element line by line. You need to make a decision, fast. You’re scared of making the wrong decision. No turning back now.
Your renovations haven’t even started and you’re already confused, stressed. Your dream project seems a far off prospect. What if there was someone who could help you? A person who knows how to manage and anticipate problems. A person who has a trustworthy team of contractors, who knows the rules and regulations, who respects deadlines and who knows how to transform your project from ‘basic’ to ‘extraordinary’.
That’s the role of the architect. When it comes to finding the right architect, that’s our métier and we can help guide your search. Now we’re going to explain when you should work with an architect and the reasons why you should take on a professional.
When should you work with an architect?
An architect has multiple missions: understanding your desires, drawing up plans, construction administration, managing budgets and deadlines, project management, co-ordinating contractors, anticipating new developments, closely monitoring the construction process until the project is ready to be delivered.
The architect takes notes of your needs and desires. They’re there to bring a unique vision to your project. If your project requires a simple refresh, you probably don’t need to call upon an architect.
In the case of a complete renovation of an apartment, building a house, extending your property, designing a restaurant or boutique, you should work with a certified architect.
In some countries, working with a certified architect is a legal obligation. In France, for example, the law requires that you work with an architect in the following situations:
⁃ Renovation, construction, extension of any surface area equal or greater than 150 m2.
⁃ Renovation or construction in a classified zone.
⁃ Renovation or construction of a heritage listed building, requiring authorisation granted by Bâtiments de France.
⁃ Applying for a building permit.
Beyond these legal obligations, working with a renovation professional will help transform your project.
The advantages of working with an architect
A unique and made-to-measure project
You’re looking to create a unique space, led by a talented and experienced professional. Your architect adapts your project to your requirements, which means that it will always be unique to your needs and tastes. An architect studies how you inhabit your space and can advise you on the feasibility of your renovations. Each architect has an individual point of view that is developed throughout rigorous studies and professional experiences.
When it comes down to it, working with an architect is a relationship based on a common objective: breathing life into your project.
Reducing stress and delays
Remember that an architect is there to manage all aspects of the project on your behalf.
The architect draws up your plans, manages the construction administration, keeps your contractors on track and checks that the space respects construction norms. In accordance with their industry code of ethics, architects don’t earn a commission from contractors or suppliers. In the case of a hitch or an emergency, the contractors call the architect to resolve the issue. Not you.
Also, the architect sets the necessary timeframes for each step of the project, ensuring that your project respects your deadlines and your budget. In other words, it’s a way to avoid any nasty surprises.
How much does an architect cost? Generally, architects earn a commission between 7% and 15% of the overall renovation budget, a rate that depends on the complexity of your project.
Instead of thinking about working with an architect as an expense, consider an architect as an investment when it comes to reducing stress and minimising delays.
An added value for real-estate investments
Renovations should be considered as a long-term investment. Moving to another city, changing jobs, a growing family … You might find yourself selling your property for different reasons. A property that was renovated with the aid of architect will generally sell well, and quickly.
When you work with an architect, think of it as a return on investment.
Applying for government schemes
In the case of energy saving renovations (heating, insulation etc.) or to benefit from government building grants, you will need to fulfill the necessary paperwork. That’s where your architect steps in!
In France, for example, your architect can help you apply for government aid such as MaPrimeRénov or Habiter Mieux.
3 questions to ask when looking for an architect
How to choose the right architect?
Clients often appoint an architect whom they know, or who has been recommended to them.
On Modern Metier, we feature the work of certified architects, allowing you to discover and create a shortlist of those whose work you admire. Every architect is registered with the corresponding national body such as the Ordre des Architectes in France.
Discover our architects and their projects on our website.
Should I work with an architect or an interior designer?
Although you can work with both an architect or an interior designer on a renovation, they don’t practice the same métier! Architects and interior designers have different qualifications and expertise.
An architect can manage complex renovation and construction projects, from the inside out, taking into account technical and regulatory constraints.
As the name suggests, interior designers are only involved in the interior aspects of a renovation: walls and flooring, choice of colours, materials, volumes, layout and so on. Interior designers do not touch the structural elements of a building.
For a complete renovation (construction, large-scale project…) an architect will be the most qualified option.
How to prepare for the first meeting?
During your first meeting, you should describe your project in detail, your objectives, your needs, as well as your budget and any deadlines.
It’s important to understand how your architect works and their organisation. Bring to the meeting any existing plans of your house, apartment or property. You can also show designs and inspirations that you like or admire.
To help you choose an architect, we developed a Project Brief service to help you to refine your brief and create a shortlist of architects that match your needs.