While most of us would agree on the importance of hiring a professional architect to take care of a new construction, the first challenge for many is where to look and how to choose the right architectural practice to handle the project. After all, unless you are a property developer, building a new home is more often than not, a one-off experience.
So how to begin to look for the right residential architect in London? In the past, the first port of call would probably have been the local area Yellow Pages; today, it is likely that a search on the internet will be the starting place to look for a qualified architect. After all, any professional architect should have an informative, quality website show-casing his work. Other than personal recommendations, a good starting point would be to visit the website of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) at www.architecture.com. RIBA is the governing body for professional architects. It is here you will find a directory of qualified architects who work to the governing rules of the Institute, and you will be able to select an architectural practice from a list representing RIBA qualified practices all over the country.
Once you have identified a prospective architects practice in London a visit to the website should mean you will see the images of past projects. Looking at these will give you an idea of the type of work the practice typically takes on and their design style. You will also be able to check if the practice specialises in the type of construction project you have in mind. This is an important factor to consider, for if a practice promotes that it is a specialist in the design of say, commercial office complexes, they will have less interest in taking on a residential design project.
Remember, you should also find a local architect. For they will have the local planning knowledge as well as contacts with the local planning authorities. This will help greatly in obtaining any planning permissions needed. You will also be paying for their time, and time and mileage will be charged for travelling. Thus to narrow your search findings, be specific in your search critera. For example, if you are searching for residential architects, don't search for architects, but search for 'residential architects'. This way, you will have quicker success in finding the right architect for you.