"We are planning a building project. Do we need to use our
THERE CAN be reasons for employing another architect, and it is perfectly
permissible. Perhaps construction will be innovative, and you want new ideas.
Sometimes a new vicar is looking for change. But there are good ways of going
about the search.
interview more than one
Make your own list of architects and ask the Diocesan Advisory
Committee secretary for recommendations. If your project is repairing a listed
building, you may want a conservation specialist. If you are planning to build
a new hall or extension, select architects with public-building experience. If
you’re changing your church interior, select a creative architect who
understands liturgy in a multi-use space.
Your invitation to an interview should say a little about the church and its
aspirations, the type of function for which you want to build, and times the
candidate can visit the building before the interview.
Select an interview panel of three or four people from a cross-section of
the church. The panel should be the same for each interview; so hold interviews
successively on the same day. Plan for each to be 30 minutes followed by a gap
in which the panel can complete notes of what they have just heard, preferably
against pre-agreed key points.
At the interview, invite the architects to explain their approach, as well
as talking about similar work they have undertaken. Ask all the architects how
they will calculate fees for the work. Most are likely to say "within the RIBA
guidelines" (Royal Institute of British Architects), as this is the industry
If all the candidates are pretty equal, choose the one with whom you believe
you can work most easily. The decision will need ratification by the church
As soon as the appointed architect does any work on the project,
he or she is entitled to be paid fees. Before you ask for any work, ensure you
are ready and have the money to pay. Often architects do preliminary design
work on an hourly rate; once they sign a contract for the main project, they
move to a percentage of the value of the building project, payable at times,
again in line with the RIBA guidelines.
You should not get an architect started on the work unless you have first
prepared a brief. Many doubtful and abortive designs become the subject of
dispute with architects, because a church does not fully decide what it wants
Questions you should ask yourselves: What is the new building for? How many
people will use it and when? What kinds of use? What special needs? What
quality of design and materials? How much money do you have available for the
work, or how much can you realistically raise?
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