How Do I
Choose A Designer?
Prepare a brief
A brief is the set of detailed instructions from the client to the designer. Work out your main priorities. Consider function first, then appearance. Do you want a large family home or a compact but comfortable townhouse? Will you do lots of entertaining? Will you work from home? Will young children, older people, or people with disabilities live there? While it's important to know what you want, be prepared to be flexible, to be open to new ideas, and to listen to the advice of others.
Look at designers' work
Look at books and magazines and online to see architectural designers' work. Just browse at this stage. What buildings do you like? What ones don't you like? What ones inspire you? Why? Read about designers' philosophy and ideas. List your favourite architectural designers. Now have a more detailed look at their work and refine your choice further. Select those most likely to be able to meet your brief.
Meet and greet
Once you have a shortlist of two or three architectural designers, meet with them, and discuss your ideas. What qualifications do they have? Make sure they are members of the ADNZ. How much experience have they had, have they won any awards? Also ask to talk to some of the designer's existing clients. Ask how they found the experience. What contractors did they use? Would they have done anything differently? It's important to build a sound working relationship. Both clients and designers work better together if their ideas gel and they are on the same wavelength.
The nitty gritty
Now it's time for specifics. Ask the tough questions. Be clear about your budget. Is your project practical? Ask what backup there is should the situation changes, for whatever reason. Ask about the builder and contractors. Who will supervise the project and be in overall charge? This may be the architectural designer or an independent person. As members of the ADNZ, a standard, formal agreement is drawn up. Read it thoroughly.