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11 Nov

Basic info commissioning an architect for domestic projects such as home alterations and extensions.

Posted By Tom Black

In deciding that you wish to engage in developing a project and appoint the services of an architect, following information should prove helpful.

Firstly, you should be able to easily discern whether or not they are an architect. In order to use the title of architect, architects practicing in the UK must be registered with the ARB (architects registration board), architects also registered with the RIBA, may use the suffix ‘RIBA’.

In being members of the ARB and the RIBA, architects are required to:

  1. have satisfied the stringent standards of educational qualifications and practice experience required for Chartered Membership of the RIBA,
  2. Be committed to the shared professional and learned values of the RIBA.
  • Maintain his or her professional standards in practice through compliance with the RIBA’s mandatory requirements for continuing professional development (CPD).

They will also have access to the extensive knowledge base of the ARB and RIBA. Members of the RIBA are required by the code of professional conduct to record the terms of their appointment before undertaking work for a client. The RIBA publishes a number of appointment agreements depending on the size and complexity of the project.

  • The Standard Agreement
  • The Concise Agreement
  • The Domestic Project Agreement

For small projects the agreement may be set out in a self-contained letter of appointment.

Once appointed, the architect will refer to a document known as the RIBA Plan of Work 2013. The plan of work describes the different stages of an architectural commission in a sequence of numerical stages, from 0 through to 7.

  • Strategic definition
  • Preparation and Brief
  • Concept Design
  • Developed Design
  • Technical Design
  • Construction
  • Hand Over and Close Out
  • In Use

The basis of the fee for appointing an architect can be calculated in a number of different ways and will need to be agreed with architect at the outset of a project. These are as follows:

  • A time charged basis
  • A fixed sum
  • A percentage of the final construction cost.

More information on the subject of selecting an architect can be found in the RIBA’s ‘A client’s guide to engaging an architect’. This easily digestible booklet provides clients with a broad range of information on the appointment of an architect, from an in depth description of how architects can bring added value to your project, to how they can help you develop your brief, to guidance on some of the legislation which is applicable to building projects such as the party wall act and CDM Legislation.


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