How Do I Brief My Architect?
There are no hard and fast rules to this as each project is different. However through experience with many projects and Clients we have drawn up the following list that should help you get started:
1. How much new building do you need?
This can be expressed as square area, or as a percentage of your existing building. It is helpful to measure of the spaces in your existing building to get a sense of scale.
2. What spaces do you need?
Usually expressed as a list and should include all the key rooms and areas as well as ancillary spaces such as utility room, store cupboard, boot room or other support spaces. Remember it is usually areas such as stores that are left out and often needed most of all!
3. What capacity are those spaces?
This can be a useful way to express your requirements. How many people should it seat? How many chairs should be able to fit into it? How many cars/bikes?
4. Are there any existing constraints/ elements to be retained?
This can include obvious elements such as existing trees/shrubs but could also include any existing treasured furniture or fixed fittings.
5. What is your budget?
Sometimes Clients can be hesitant to discuss this. Generally though your consultant will be able to deliver a better, more tailored service if they have some idea of what your budget is. You can refine this further by giving a sense of what your expectation of finishes are as this can have a large impact of the total budget available for construction.
1. What look should your building have?
Should it match what is around it or are you after something different? Is it traditional, contemporary, modern, rural, more urban or styled (Arts and Crafts, Georgian etc) Your consultant may come up with other suggestions but at least you have a common starting point. Don't be shy about sharing your views. Your consultant may be an 'expert' but they are not going to be the ones using the building every day!
Be aware though that there may be limitations on what you can do depending where you are located. Buildings in Conservation Areas, areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, National Parks etc, will have additional limitations on what the exterior can look like.
2. What should the different spaces feel like inside?
You need not be specific about this for every space but there will be some that you might have a strong view on. For example a living room could feel dramatic or cosy, airy, light, simple, comfortable, warm, cool, open, formal or casual. Think or a word or words that best describe this. Alternatively you could use images (see next section for more on this).
3. Are there any materials/styles that you particularly don't like?
Share these to make sure that they don't show up in the first sketch drawings! This will obviously avoid any embarrassment and wasted time.
Just click on one of the questions to go to that section or download the whole guide here.