The process of designing a new building is a complex one. When initiating this, you'll want to feel comfortable that you’re in good hands. This short guide provides a framework of questions that will help you to select an architect that will serve you well.
Are they registered with the South African Council for the Architectural Profession? Go to www.sacapsa.com to check this. When you enter their PrArch. number, you should be able to locate them on the database.
Check that they have professional indemnity insurance (PI). Everyone makes mistakes, but when other people’s mistakes cost you money, that’s a problem. Make sure that your architect is adequately covered by PI in order to protect you.
Are they able to take on your project at this point in time? Do they have capacity? Can they fit you into their schedule now or later? How interested are they in taking on your project? If they’re excited about it, then they’ll be a pleasure to work with. If they seem disinterested then you need to reconsider.
Do they understand what you want? Are they asking questions around your brief, or are they bulldozing your dream in favor of their own vision? How will they keep you informed? Can they tailor updates on your project to suit you? What is their working process? How will they guide you?
What can you expect to pay? Architects can charge anywhere between 6% to 12% of the cost of your building. Fees between client and architect are often negotiated. Bear in mind that fees tend to be proportional to the effort that your professional team will apply to your project. You obviously don’t want to overpay, but if fees seem overly ‘cheap’, there may be trouble down the road for you.