Why Should I hire an architect? What does Architect do?

When ready to make the big step of starting a project whether this is a renovation, a house extension or a new building, it is always advisable to ask for an architect consultation.

Whilst they are mostly recognised for spatial and representational knowledge, architects are highly skilled and trained professionals responsible for advising, guiding, and supervising construction projects throughout the various phases of their development.
The resourceful spectrum of services covered by an architect spans indeed across the spatial arrangement, technical detailing, planning strategy, quality control and even dispute management. A job that requires effective multilateral thinking transversing many fields while bringing the client reliable support through the project.

Early consultations with such experts will help to organise thoughts and ideas, and to understand all the steps necessary to achieve your goals. This will significantly smooth the expected stress when embarking on new projects!


Choose the right architect.

Early one-off consultations are often offered by many architects as praxis to meet the clients and discuss new projects – however, this time is generally not charged, and you should expect to pay for it. Take this short meeting as an occasion to ask questions, express your worries and discuss your ideas. Choosing the right architect that possesses the right experience and that matches your aspiration is important, sometimes more than a fee comparison. Thus, take your time to research a qualified and registered architect, to get to know their practices and past projects, and to ensure you have a compatible line of thinking and approach. And remember to always refer to the Architecture Registration Board (ARB) website to verify that the professionals you are dealing with are fully qualified.



Having a written agreement between the two parties safeguards a positive working relationship. One of the common worries of involving an architect in a project is linked to the costs being too expensive against the benefits. However, not many consider or know, that the engagement can be tailored to your needs and offer the type of service you require.

The architect’s role can cover – depending on the terms of the appointment – many aspects that are often overlooked or not taken into account, but that can become critical while the project progresses.



The key to a successful project starts from the beginning with a good quality brief.

Already with an initial conversation, an architect can give you many informative insights regarding the process as well as different solutions to consider and possible methods of operation and management. By asking the right questions and collecting all your requirements the architect is able to develop a solid brief which considers holistically the set brief against the budget, building regulations, timings, and construction process.

A good quality brief is finally quantifiable and valuable giving you the details for a comprehensive esteem of your investment, and an assessment of the long-term value and running costs.


Advising on feasibility, also in relation to budget control.

Especially when working with a specific budget or spatial constraints, an architect is able to estimate the costs and possible issues while efficiently combining your requests with budget-effective and creative design solutions. An expert eye can also spot right away possible issues whether planning or construction related and help you with developing different design proposals to reduce the risks or prioritising specific aspects of the scheme.

By having a thorough conversation together about your specific concerns and goals, architects are able to advise on the type of contract, services and fees that will direct your budget towards the right objectives. Indeed, while fees and services depend on the location and complexity of the project, the duration of the engagement can be as long as you would like; from just producing the right documentation up to the planning submission, to preparing the technical drawings, supervising the tendering process, and following the construction development up to the handover.
On the other hand, if the management aspect is what causes distress, a clear plan and timeline can inform you ahead of the project timing projections with scheduled reviews and progress reports to document the project's advancement.



Once discussed the possible risks and transformed your ideas into an actual scheme, the architect will advise you on the correct process to pursue to achieve the project completed successfully.


  • Will give you up-to-date professional advice/expertise.

    As a professional, architects have up-to-date knowledge of products, technologies, safety measurements and regulations. Moreover, they are required by the professional body, to keep their knowledge up-to-date, whether through CPDs or seminars.

    Therefore, their knowledge of the latest health and safety regulations or innovative materials and current sustainable practices is constantly on top of the current applications.

  • Reliable Framework

    Usually, architectural practices have a network of reliable and tested contractors and other professional collaborators (engineers, planners, etc.) that can offer their specialised service integrated and tailored to your project gaining the maximum quality and value from your investment.

  • Contract Admin

    When employed as a contract administrator, the architect’s notable site experience will provide you with trustworthy knowledge that brings quality and time control over the build. Progress on site is consistently tracked and evaluated against the agreed timetable by carrying out regular site inspections, any unanticipated issues can be quickly picked up and solved, and any necessary alteration will be executed with informed capacity.

    As contract administrators, architects also would be able to mediate and help with any unfortunate contract dispute arising between the parties, having the knowledge to investigate and the professional duty of issuing an impartial judgment.

  • Building regulations

    Architects’ main duty is to keep up with all the newest revisions of the Building Regulations and to integrate them into any design scheme they produce and approve. It is essential that you have this professional guidance to ensure your building, big or small that is, is compliant. Not meeting the regulation could cause you to either have to rebuild what just completed or not receive the sign-off from the building control which will make your property unstable for habitability and insurance, worthless.

  • Problem-solving.

    In the translation from the design to the actual construction phase there are always adjustments and corrections to be made, especially when working with an existing structure. Having the architect's expertise during the construction phase is a valuable advantage. An experienced architect can pick up unforeseen variations before they become a problem and provide prompt practical solutions.

  • Health and Safety.
    According to the CDM (Construction and Design Management) regulations updated in 2015 introduced the obligations for both commercial and domestic clients to appoint a Principal Contractor and a Principal Designer as duty holders of this management role. Having already an architect on board that has knowledge of the project's details can help to fulfil this position as part of the project appointment ensuring that the construction runs safely and appropriately.



In conclusion, although there is an asserted value of having a professional on board who brings good quality and limits the risks of something going surprisingly wrong down the line, today many clients find themselves to reach out an architect only if and when complications arise to solve the complex situation of practical and legal stains.  And this stands especially for small and domestic projects.

Indeed, whilst relying on lavish consultations from other professional figures (doctors, lawyers, etc) is fairly acceptable, there is still hesitation, especially for smaller and domestic projects, when having to make this type of investment again the many benefits aforementioned.

Partially, this comes from cultural bias provoked by the historical record of the architects during the last century which was dominated by artistic, ambitious, and fanatic figures, archetypes of the current “Archistar” denomination. Additionally, there has been a significant undermining of the architect’s role when other parties within the construction industry have the tendency of taking over the design and construction duties for a lesser price but with many lousy results.


The main and more diffused apprehensions in making this step are often linked to the expected high costs and the level of imposition that architects could have over clients’ wills when running a project. There is still difficulty to pinpoint what an architect really does, and possibly the versatility of tasks that can (and need to) be covered during a project disorientates the effectiveness of this role. However, as the service variety is significant, the engagement can include different conditions, services, and fees tailored to each project and does not have to be throughout the full duration of the project. The best way to approach this is to start an initial consultation that can help to express your concerns and understand which type of support you require, the possible criticalities, and make a plan of costs against a budget, to grasp your actual investment.