How to find an architect for your upcoming project In Yorkshire?

Architects are highly skilled professionals who are trained to turn your aspirations into reality.

The title of “Architect” is protected by law in the UK. It can only be used by people who have the appropriate education, training, and experience needed to join the architect register.

An excellent way to begin your search for a qualified local architect or architectural practice is to use the RIBA online database. The RIBA tool will narrow down your selection based on various criteria, such as project type (be it a new home or trendy cafe), it’s location, and whether the practice has experience working with your local planning authority.

Next, review their portfolio, which can usually be found on their website. Alternatively, examples of their work might be on Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, or Instagram.

Proceed to get in touch and arrange a site visit; if they’re local, the initial consultation is usually free!

This initial site visit will help your architect establish the scope of your ambitions, site constraints, and it’s potential! It’s not uncommon for a potential client to request a visit for a modest extension, only for their architect to inform them of the potential for an additional dwelling on their side or rear garden by implementing a clever configuration and drawing upon their wealth of experience with the local planning authority.

Making your decision

It’s important to establish at this point whether the chemistry with your prospective architect is right; first impressions are important!

Following the initial meeting, you will receive an appointment letter. The document should confirm:

  • Your project brief
  • Fee structure
  • The timescales necessary to commence and complete their services
  • Their terms and conditions

If everything clicks, let them know you’re happy to proceed on the outlined terms!

Are you on the market for an architect for your domestic or commercial project? We invite you to get in touch with us to discuss your project and how we can help you achieve your vision.

The RIBA provides also provides a handy guide for domestic projects. Click here

RIBA Plan of Work Explained

Below is a guide to the services Fining Associates provides for our clients. We can help you through every stage of your building project, from inception through completion, or alternatively, we can hand over the reigns a stage that suits you.

The RIBA Plan of Work is a versatile framework outlining the design and construction stages of UK buildings. It can be tailored for any project, serving as a valuable tool for architects, clients, and construction professionals. The current version, RIBA Plan of Work 2020, comprises eight stages.


Stages 0 and 1: – Preparation and brief

This is where you meet your architect and establish your vision, requirements, budget, and other practical considerations. This will inform whether additional consultants (such as ecological consultants, landscape architects, etc.) may be required to bring the project to fruition.

Stage 2 – Concept Design

Your architect takes your brief and produces initial sketch concepts, which will allow for discussions to refine the design and inform the creative direction you will take.

We welcome clients to communicate their desires in multiple ways, whether through meetings, written documentation, images, or a combination. Similarly, conveying dislikes is equally as helpful as providing aspirational imagery.

Depending on the scope and site constraints, a pre-planning application inquiry would be explored at this stage.

Stage 3 – Developed Design

Your architect will develop and expand on the initial concept, transforming your ideas into something that can be built. This includes coordinating the work of other consultants into the design.

Once the design is agreed upon, the combined plans and additional documentation are coordinated (such as the design and access statement, site photographs, drainage reports, etc.) and submitted to your local council for planning consent (fees apply). The process typically takes 8 weeks from registration to decision.

Stage 4 – Technical Design

Following receipt of planning approval, you may appoint your architect to produce the technical drawings and specifications that comply with building regulations. This can include details of roof structures, steelwork & foundations (coordinated with your appointed structural engineer), drainage, and finishes.

This is submitted to Building Control for full plan approval (fees apply).

Stage 5 – Construction

Following full plan approval, you may appoint your architect to put your project up for tender with prospective builders. This is a competitive process that requires further documentation and specification, including door schedules, paint schedules, decorative allowances including sockets, skirting boards, and door furniture, all of which should be established at this point in order to avoid any surprises downline. The negotiations with builders should ensure that all reasonable and foreseeable items are accounted for.

Once you select your builder based on their competitive quote and timescales, Contracts, which include payment schedules and the agreed plans and scope of work, will be signed, and hands will be shaken to this effect.

Throughout the construction process, your architect will administer your contract with the builder, carrying out site inspections, monitoring progress, keeping track of costs, and certifying payment with the builder upon agreed milestone completions.

It’s not uncommon or unexpected for you to desire small alterations to the plans or specifications along the way. It’s the role of your appointed architect to ensure that any changes you require are clearly communicated to your contractor and their associated costs are negotiated.

Architects are particularly useful in contract management as they act as mediators, assisting to prevent grievances or derailments to your project with your principal contractor.

Stage 6 – Handover and Close Out

When the project is considered finished by your builder, your architect will inspect the completed work for small defects or ‘snags’ that are to be corrected prior to you moving in.

RIBA or JCT Minor Works contacts include a negotiable timeframe, typically 6 months, in which the builder will return to fix any defects that you may spot or that arise over time.

If you would like to embark on a project to build or transform your house, get in touch!