Choosing a designer

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Finding the right architect or architectural designer is easier if you have a clear idea of what you want, set simple selection criteria for and evaluate a small group of possibles.

Choosing the right architect may be the most important decision in a process that has a seemingly endless amount of decisions.

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Have a clear idea of what you want

  • Decide what kind of house you want – for a list of contemporary house types have a look at this page here…
  • Put together a scrap book of looks and designs you like. Use magazines and websites or Pinterest and even photograph homes you like. Find an architect/designer who designs in a similar style.
  • Collect brochures on the materials and fittings you like.
  • Take a measuring tape to friends’ homes so you can see how much space is required for rooms, kitchen benches and items.
  • Understand what your Needs and Wants are – use our checklists here…
  • Try to put together a clear brief, use our tool here…

Set simple selection criteria

  • Look for someone whose work you like and whom you believe you can work with.
  • Use local knowledge – recommendations from friends or contractors – or visit our list of architects and designers here, or visit our Design Guide website to find designers in your area.
  • Make sure the designer you choose has professional indemnity insurance that provides cover in case of professional negligence.

Evaluate a small group

Once you have a shortlist, the selection criteria will include:

  • scope of service required;
  • experience; and, perhaps the most important,
  • personality fit.

It’s best if you are comfortable with the way your designer communicates. Positive relationships lead to positive outcomes.

In order to get building consent for Restricted Building Work, the design will need to be carried out or supervised by a Design LBP, a Chartered Professional Engineer or a Registered Architect. More information here…

For more information on the differences between Architects and Architectural Designers and for a list of architects/designers, go here…


Compare buying off the plan

Group Home Builders (building companies who build large numbers of homes) usually have a number of pre-designed homes you can buy without having to go through a design process and often have an inhouse designer, who can either create a bespoke design or rework one of their off-the-shelf plans.

The advantage is that you can get a design that exists and you don’t need to work through with the designer, unless you want to make changes. There are now designs available that have been pre-consented and have a minimum of administrative work required. The disadvantage is that it will be something other people have and has not been specifically designed for you and the site on which it is to be built.


To find an architect or designer – go to our Architects & Designers section here

For additional inspiration, visit our Design Guide website – articles by architects for clients providing some stunning case studies, beautiful photography and insights into the thinking behind the concepts…

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