3 YOUR ARCHITECT – A GOOD MATCH. How to find the right architect?

your architect good match


3  YOUR ARCHITECT – A GOOD MATCH. How to find the right architect?

Your Architect – A good match:  How do you find the right architect, one who is a good match for you and your project?

Finding the right architect is essential for a successful project.

All registered architects have:

  • years of university education (generally 2 degrees over 6 years)
  • practical industry experience (2 years minimum experience to attain competency in each category of professional service)
  • past written and interview exams by the NSW Board of Architects Registration to become registered
  • undertaken 20 hours of mandatory Continuing Professional Education annually to  maintain their registration and
  • hold Professional Indemnity Insurance


However, not all architects will be the right fit for your personally, nor suit your type residential project.

For a residential renovation or a new home,  find a registered architect with residential experience, a good track record and a personal approach that you feel comfortable with.

An architect who does commercial or industrial or retail work, for example, will not have the experience to deliver a residential project, which is subject to a different set of statutory and regulatory codes relating to residential building and building contracts.

Residential work is rated as the most complex type of work by the Australian Institute of Architects, and often requires detailed involvement in a project to guide typical residential clients and work with an existing dwelling.

Residential design, local planning, construction, building services, regulations and building contracts are specific and specialised fields of knowledge.

So, there are four steps to finding a good match architect:

  1. Research 
  2. Initial suitability
  3. Selection criteria
  4. Making the final choice



Some resources for finding architects in your local area are:

  • AIA (Australian Institute of Architects):
  • NSW Board of Architects:
  • NSW Office of Environment & Heritage (heritage advisory listings, if relevant)
  • HOUZZ online photo and listing site with local design practices
  • GOOGLE search “architect northern beaches” or “architect northshore” etc
  • HOUSES magazine – Australia’s leading architectural magazine dedicated to residential work
  • asking friends, relatives and other local professionals for referrals



Before you talk to an architect, consider the following criteria to establish their suitability:

  • Have they been recommended by a past client, friend, colleague or building professional?
  • Do you like what you see on their website – in terms of their message, information, past projects on their portfolio?
  • Do they specialise in the type of projects that match yours ie: alteration & additions, heritage conservation areas, sustainability, outdoor living, interiors?
  • Do they work in your area?
  • Have you seen some of their built work or seen their projects under construction in your area?
  • Do they offer any pre-design consultancy services? ie: client information, initial consultation?
  • Are they registered with the NSW Board of Architects?
  • Can you find them on social media, to find out more about them? ie: instagram / facebook / HOUZZ?



Gather basic information about any prospective architect at a face to face meeting, so you can cover your bases and compare apples with apples when considering your best fit.

Its surprising how many prospective clients we meet who do not ask any questions about our practice or experience, at an initial consultation.

Consider your first meeting like a job interview, and ask these questions to see how well your architect communicates with you and provides you with information on the questions below:

  • How long have you been in practice?
  • What is the size of the practice and the level of experience?
  • What is your ideal client and ideal project type / size (to see if you are a good fit)?
  • What are your similar residential projects (similar in type, location, size and budget)?
  • Can you show us a portfolio of similar residential projects: ie images, drawings, case studies, site visits?
  • Can you provide previous clients references or testimonials?
  • Have you worked with our council before? what are their requirements?
  • What is your process to guide us through a renovation?
  • What scope of services do you offer?
  • How do you approach building cost management?
  • What consultants do you use?
  • What builders do you work with?
  • How do you tender?
  • How do you charge your fees and what does your architect & client agreement like?
  • How do we engage your services and get started?



You will be working with your architect for about two years.  

You will be dealing with large amounts of money,  and there will be problems along the way to resolve together. 

So its important to engage someone you like and trust.  

If the architects you have met meet the above criteria and answers the above questions in a way that gives you confidence, then go with your instinct by considering these final simple, but revealing, questions:

  1. How do you feel about them?
  2. Who do you like the most?
  3. Who will do the best job?
  4. Who wants the job the most?
  5. There in lies your answer.


One final piece of advice.

Question: How to find the right architect?

Answer: It’s not by asking about the fees first.


Read on…click below on MWa’s STRAIGHT TALKING client advice articles:

1 Architects – Do you need one? Is your project suitable?

2 Your Brief: Wish List, Shopping List & Priorities List: Decide what you need, what you want and what you can spend – before finding your architect.

3 Your Architect – A Good Match: How to find the right architect.

4 Process: Strategy, Vision, Compliance, Detail & Delivery: How it all works 

5 Costs & Cashflow – Case Study: A recent renovation case study which shows you where the money goes and the cashflow from start to finish.

6 Time – How long will it take?: How to cut six months off a renovation time frame.

7 Fees – Myth vs Reality

8 Manage Costs, Save Money: 10 Ways to Manage Costs, 10 Ways to Save Money




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