18 July 2018

Ask an Architect: What Makes a Perfect Client?

Hiring a top-notch architect isn’t enough to make a project successful. You, the client, need to contribute and make this partnership work.
Tips for working with an architect

Truth is, hiring a top-notch architect isn’t enough to make a project successful. Designing and building a home is a partnership. It’s a two-way street. Your chosen architect can only fulfil your dream home when you participate. So, we gathered everything that we love most with our clients. You can use these as tips for working with an architect and to ensure you two have a sound working relationship.
 

Cook up a vision

Designing and building a home is an exciting journey. You probably have planned for it before you meet the architect. They would love to hear the things and ideas you’ve come up in the first meeting. It will give your architect an idea of how you want your home to look and feel like.
 
If you don’t have a solid vision of concept yet, showing us photos or sketches that you find inspirational will help. It will help us learn about your goals and style. It is the key to develop the perfect design.The role of preliminary design consultation is to know your requirements, particularly your vision, budget, and timeline. Discuss these three factors early and keep these clear at all times. If anything changes, inform your architect immediately so he/she can adjust.
 
The preliminary design consultation is also the time to talk about the possible site and council restrictions. It sets everyone’s expectation from the beginning and as the project progresses.
 
Superdraft tip: Generally, design consultations are the time to let your architect know about your likes and dislikes. When you have to co-decide with someone (your partner, housemate, parents etc.), consider figuring out each other’s tastes before meeting your chosen architect. When he/she arrives, try to present your case in an unbiased way. This way, the architect can produce a design that’s acceptable to everyone.
 
Trust us, architects have the magic. They are trained to create stunning spaces even when clients have contrasting design styles.
 
Extra Superdraft tip: It also helps when you know about the architect or architecture firm you’re dealing with. Consider looking at their portfolio to get an idea of your chosen architect’s style. Being able to see their previous work gives you a clue about their specialisation too. Check out Superdraft’s online portfolio. Click here.

Stay patient and committed — from the design to construction phase

To be honest, the design phase can last as long (or longer) than the construction stage. Planning and producing the architectural drawings are time-consuming in nature. It helps when you can wait patiently for your architect to finish the output.
 
In return, your architect should update you about their progress. A weekly email would suffice. This helps avoid panic, stress, and anxiety.
 
After the design and planning stage is the construction stage. It will be great if you help the builders understand the intent of the design. It took a lot of time for you and your architect to figure this out. A lot of work and effort was put in those drawings. Your architect will be happy to see this home erected from the ground in the near future.

Trust the architect

Here in Superdraft, we believe that your trust has so much power. We believe in clichés like “trust is earned”.
 
But, we also believe that trust is given. You have the ability to choose how you want to feel. When you want to trust an architect, you will. When you don’t want to, you won’t.
 
One reason to trust architects are their education and experience. Trust that they know what will and will not work. Believe them when they say that they know what will look better or last longer. Put your faith in them when they said that they can put all your design ideas together to create a stunning and practical home that you’ll love.
 
For us, trust is an empowered choice and it will help if you established that trust at the beginning of the project. Put confidence in your architect’s skill during the planning stage. More importantly, share your architect’s advice when dealing with the contractors during the construction phase. It makes a huge impact when you, your architect, and your builder are on the same page.

Allow the architect to know you

As mentioned earlier, it is critical for your architect to know your likes and dislikes. He/she must familiarise himself/herself to your tastes.
 
In some instances, showing your architect inspirational photos and sketches aren’t enough. When this happens, the architect starts asking about your first-hand experiences in life. He/she might ask about your old home, your friend’s house, or a memorable accommodation during a vacation. Your architect might pick bits and pieces of the things you like and find useful or sentimental in this life events. Stories and memories unlock a person’s goals and aspirations in life.
 
Your architect will also appreciate it when he/she meets the other people who will live with you. The extra details about your partner, housemate, parents, kids, and pets are valuable too. The getting-to-know-you process isn’t limited to one person. It’s for everyone living under the same roof.
 
When your architect knows you and everyone else living with you well, the more information he/she can use to create a space that’s uniquely yours. By the end of construction, you’ll feel very much at home — and that’s money well spent.

Communicate with them

You and your architect won’t meet a lot during the planning and design development stage. Your architect will be off-site, especially when drawing the architectural plans. At this stage, it is imperative that the both of you are always available by phone or email. (We personally prefer email because it’s written). Keep the lines of communication open.
 
You can also personally meet with your architect. Set quick meetings in their office, on-site, or in a nearby coffee shop. Of course, the topics of these meetings must be of high importance. It may not be wise to meet personally when the subject can be settled via call or email.
 
More importantly, don’t be hesitant when asking questions. Are you having a hard time reading the complex architectural drawings? Ask questions. Confused with the jargons used on paper or during a meeting? Ask questions. You will be informed.
 

It’s better to ask a question, than never ask and be a uninformed forever.

Immerse yourself in the process

There are clients who entrust the job to their architect completely. There’s nothing wrong with that. But, your architect will like it too when you check out his/her work sometimes. He/she will appreciate it when you give feedback on their design. They need to feel sure they’re on the right track.
 
When you’re the hands-on type of client, we suggest collating your important notes, material samples, supplier contacts, and photos. Show your choice of tile, paint, furniture, and fixture in a catalogue. Your architect will appreciate your organised approach and enthusiasm.

Prepare a contingency budget

Ensuring that your project fits within your construction budget is a challenge. Changes and delays are inevitable. There are costly problems that even we, architects, can’t predict. This is why every homeowner must have a contingency budget. This amount will keep the project rolling despite an unexpected problem. This is your Plan B. You don’t want to stop your project because a problem blew out their budget, right?
 

Smile and be optimistic

The process of planning and building your dream home is stressful. But, don’t let it get into you. Don’t let the stress burn you out. Wear a smile on your face. Smiles and good vibes are contagious. Stay positive, alert, and mentally present. Make sure that you are well-rested after a tiring day. Do not overwhelm yourself with work because all of it will eventually go away. At the end of this process, you have a new house to enjoy.

Show gratitude

When you’re happy with your architect’s work, show it. Trust us, they feel fulfilled when they see you happy and delighted with their work. You can give them compliments or write them a good online review. There was one time when a client in NSW invited their architect to their housewarming party. The homeowner invited the builders as well. Everyone who helped make their dream house happen was there — and it was a lovely experience for our architect.
 

A joy to work with

To build a home, you need to have a successful and professional relationship with the people around you. We hope this article has provided enough tips for working with an architect. We hope you find these useful in your next home project. When you do, we bet you’re a joy to work with. Building your home will be a great pleasure. Hire a Superdraft Architect today.
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