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How to Choose an Architect for Your Custom Home Build

A Guide to Finding the Right Architect for You

Have you decided it's time to build your own custom dream home? You might be feeling a bit overwhelmed thinking about where to begin.

Don’t worry, we’re one step ahead of you. 

While we are highly skilled at taking your custom home dreams from the initial plans to handing over the keys, we’re also the first to admit that we aren’t design pros. Take one look at our C.O.G., Dave’s, attire, and you’ll be quick to decide you prefer a more sophisticated taste.

Previously, we crafted a guide to everything you should know before building a custom house. In this article, we'll guide you in finding an architect who can help turn your design vision into a functional and aesthetic home that we can build for you.

You'll work closely with your architect during the planning and design phase of your custom home build. Every architect has their own approach, style, values, and mission, so it's important to choose an expert who shares your vision, understands your needs, and collaborates with your home building team.

What should you know, ask, and look for when choosing an architect? Read on for NZ Builders' top tips on hiring an architect.

Understand an Architect’s Role

Let’s start with the basics. What does an architect bring to a custom home build?

An architect works with you and your home building team to design and draft renderings of your custom home. These drawings help you visualize your dream home before your builders bring it to life.

This design role includes:

  • Understanding the landscape of the property
  • Creating a custom design that fits your needs and lifestyle
  • Understanding and designing a home to meet municipal bylaws and building code
  • Collaborating with your build team to stay on budget

When building a custom home, you need to choose an architect that understands your needs as a homeowner, the current construction industry, and advanced design techniques.

Ask for Referrals

When you’re searching for a new dentist, hairstylist, or veterinarian for your beloved four-legged friends, where do you turn? Likely to your friends or family who have similar experiences, needs, and wants to your own. 

Finding an architect is no different. 

If you know someone who has built a home recently that you love, look to them for architect referrals. Of course, you always want to evaluate the architect yourself, but getting a sense of the architect’s style and how they work is the first step towards identifying if they're a good fit for you.

Asking experienced professionals for recommendations is another way to choose a reliable and trusted architect. 

For example, if you know you’re working with a team of rugged, hardworking, and innovative Kiwi builders (we know some people), then ask for their opinion before hiring an architect.

Our NZ Builders team has a network of architects in Victoria, BC, that we enjoy working with. 

Still, compatibility is the most important factor when we recommend architects to our clients. We only refer architects who understand and match your vision, so you’re guaranteed the custom home that fits your needs.

Know Your Architectural Needs

Let’s face it, while you likely have a big-picture idea of what you’re looking for and a list of essential details, you might still need help visualizing how your custom home will fit your lifestyle. 

Before you start working with an architect, come up with a general idea of what you’re looking for so you can ensure you choose the right architect who understands your concept. 

Before hiring an architect, consider:

  • How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need?
  • What interior finishings feel the most like home to you?
  • Are you interested in a solar passive design or a net-zero-inspired design
  • Are you more drawn to modern and innovative designs or an industrial and rugged aesthetic?
  • What is your overall budget, and how much have you allocated for design and materials?

When you meet with an architect for the first time, they should ask questions to get a deeper understanding of your goals and lifestyle. 

Questions about when you wake up and go to sleep help them to design a layout that maximizes light at your favourite hour of the day. 

Questions about your daily routine and family life help determine whether you need a large kitchen and dining area or if you need to allocate more space to accommodate a theatre-style family room.

These conversations are key to designing an aesthetically pleasing home that fits your lifestyle.

Scope Out Previous Architectural Work

Before choosing an architect, it’s important to have a good sense of their style to confirm it’s compatible with your own. There are a few different ways to review an architect’s previous work before you choose to meet with them. 

You can browse their online portfolio or magazine features for a better understanding of the materials they use, their aesthetics, and how they use space. Or, in some instances, you may be able to view the private or public spaces the architect has previously worked on.

Keep your own style and goals in mind when you’re evaluating an architect's previous work. Be sure the homes and lots you're scoping out are similar to your own custom house dreams so you feel confident the architect will deliver what you want.

Feel Valued and Respected

Communication and respect are critical to forming a home-building team that can bring your custom home to life. 

The architect you hire plays a critical role in understanding, drafting, and communicating your vision to members of your home build team. While they may use their experience to provide alternative or innovative ideas for your custom home, you need to ensure your hopes, style, and budget are maintained.

NZ Builders brings professional, on-the-ground experience to every project and works collaboratively with you, the architect, and other team members to ensure everyone stays on track with the budget and design goals. 

After all, building a custom home is about bringing your long-term home dreams to life so your needs, wants, and safety should be at the heart of every decision. 

Find Your Custom Home Build Team

Your architect is responsible for more than just designing your home.

Prioritize an expert who understands your vision, makes innovative suggestions that align with your needs and is an excellent communicator who works well with you and your custom home building team.

At NZ Builders, we believe custom home building should be a collaborative process from start to finish. To create a seamless, custom home experience that meets lifestyle and budgetary needs, we believe architects, engineers, and builders need to work together right from day one.

So, if you're on the hunt for an architect who understands your vision, is great at teamwork, and meets your needs, NZ Builders is happy to assist.