How To: Finding the right Architect

Need help to find an architect for your project who ticks all your boxes and shares your vision. Check out our top ways to ensure that your search for a designer is a success.

Most projects start out with the quest to find an architect who will help you breeze through the design and planning of your new build, renovation or extension. But, with so much choice out there, it may feel like searching for a needle in a haystack to uncover the right one for you.

An architect’s knowledge and expertise is undoubtedly one of the most important factors to consider, but the right architect will also be able to translate an effective design into your personal style and be someone you feel comfortable working with.

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What is an architect?

An architect plays a pivotal role in the design process by serving as the principal agent throughout a project’s stages. This involves translating the client’s ideas into a tangible three-dimensional concept, which evolves into a practical solution during construction. Beyond project oversight, architects conceptualize unique solutions, crafting an architectural identity that harmonizes with the client’s preferences regarding space, materiality, function, and natural light.

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How to choose an architect?

I’d you are thinking about building or renovating, it is important that you always consider who you are going to engage to do the design work for you very carefully. Any construction work, be it for a new project, or simply a renovation, should be seen as an investment. And the architect should be viewed asif they were your investment broker. If you were to spend R500 000.00 or more on your home, ask yourself, “Will I get maximum return on this investment by having a quick set of plans and an unregistered contractor perform the building, or, Would it be better to leave the management to a qualified and registered professional?”

Each architect brings their own combination of skills, expertise and design values to a project but, above all else, an architect should be a great listener. Only with a great ability to hear what you, the client, want can they translate your idea into a viable construction project.

Why should I use an Architect?

While you might be inclined to tackle it independently, architects bring valuable knowledge and expertise to address intricate issues during both the planning and construction stages. This ensures the creation of a satisfactory and well-executed final product. It is crucial that your chosen architect is accredited by SACAP (the South African Council for the Architectural Profession), as this certification guarantees their status as a registered professional. You can find a comprehensive list of registered architects in South Africa on the SACAP website.

What services does an architect offer?

Navigating the design of your home is a formidable task in the early stages of home acquisition. Ensuring adequate space, functional layouts, appealing interior and exterior designs, and future adaptability for your family are pivotal considerations in the home building or renovation process. An architect plays a crucial role in transforming your vision into reality, offering a range of services to facilitate the journey.

  1. Initial Consultation: In the initial meeting, your architect will engage with you to delve into your project and requirements. Discussions will center around project goals, needs, desires, and functional aspects. Upon sharing your vision, the architect will assist in evaluating material and construction costs to establish a realistic budget. Subsequently, an outline of the proposed project will be presented.

  2. Rough Draft & Concept Design: A follow-up meeting involves reviewing the rough draft created based on the initial discussion. The architect will elaborate on how the design aligns with the specified requirements, outlining the project timeline, proposed materials, and estimated overall costs. Any necessary design adjustments or budget modifications can be addressed during this stage.

  3. Design Approval: Once the architect receives approval on the original design or incorporates requested changes, a final meeting is convened to formalize and sign off on the project design. This phase often includes 3D renderings for a visual representation of dimensions. Construction specifications are outlined, and the architect assists in finding contractors for a more accurate cost estimate.

  4. Construction Documentation: A critical service provided by your architect is the preparation of comprehensive construction documents. These documents contain detailed outlines of the project, encompassing dimensions, specified materials, and precise build requirements for contractors to follow.

  5. Construction Phase: During the construction phase, your architect takes on the responsibility of overseeing the pace and quality of construction. Ensuring adherence to specifications and promptly addressing any arising issues, these services not only guarantee structural integrity but also help keep the project on track and within the initially established budget.


Frequently Asked Questions

Costs vary depending on the size, complexity and location of the project. This question is answered in detail in our article about Architects Fees.
These fees are furthermore dependant on the scope of services to be provided as well as the regulation of the fees as stipulated by Goverment. (

  • What services do you provide during construction?
  • What is your design philosophy?
  • What are your fees and how accurate are your price projections?
  • How busy are you and how much oversight can you guarantee to our project?
  • What services do you provide and how do they set you apart from your competition?
  • What do you expect from us during the process?

Architects undergo extensive formal education, obtaining professional degrees and licensure to engage in the entire architectural process, from conceptualization and design to project management and construction oversight. They contribute to the creative aspects of design, work closely with clients, and take on leadership roles in projects, ensuring compliance with building codes and regulations. Draftsmen, in contrast, typically possess vocational training or certifications in drafting and focus on translating design concepts into precise technical drawings. 

The key difference lies in the scope of work and professional responsibilities, where architects have a broader role encompassing design leadership and project management, while draftsmen concentrate on producing accurate technical drawings. Architects contribute to the overall vision and creative aspects of a project, while draftsmen play a crucial role in the technical implementation of those designs.

Draughtsman will not typically have as much design experience or creativity. Draughtsman will also not usually oversee the construction process.

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