Neil Vesma on using an architecte...

An architect, if he is doing his job properly, will be on your side from the moment he first speaks to you.
Don’t be afraid. You can expect entirely impartial advice, and you can expect a detailed written breakdown of his services and fees before you appoint him.

In my own case my first visit to the site with the client (however far away) is entirely without obligation.

You can appoint an architect to work in one of three ways:

  1. To work with you solely to design the layout of the renovation and make the necessary applications for approval, or
  2. To continue on to detail and specify the works for tenders, leaving you to manage the project yourself, or
  3. To carry on through to also manage the project on your behalf.

The true value of an architect is to get you the best possible result within your budget. Artisans will often quote lower for an architect they know, as they will be confident that the job will be run professionally, and that their money will be paid.

Your architect will also provide you with technical, legal and linguistic muscle for those times when you just can’t find a way through the bureaucracy yourself. And he will be there at the end of the project to ensure you understand the heating controls and how to run the swimming pool.”