How to Work Remotely With an Architect

Remote technology is brilliant at keeping us connected: we can work and learn from home, stay in touch with friends and family and, yes, even start work on a renovation project. We asked four architects on Houzz how homeowners can consult with a professional without leaving the house.

How much information should I provide before our first meeting?
Information is key when it comes to working with an architect, and this is just as vital before an initial remote consultation.

The professionals suggest providing information about the location of your property with notes from an estate agent’s brochure or similar. Angus Eitel recommends you think about what you’re looking to achieve, your total budget, your ideal deadline – including anything that might affect it – and whether you have any sustainability goals you’d like to aim for.

From this information, Angus says, the architect will be able to undertake some research into the location and the property, “to gain a greater understanding to ensure the remote consultation is as effective as possible”.

What else does the architect need to know?

“The more information clients can provide the better,” Angus says. “Images of what you like and don’t like are really helpful, and this can be achieved by sharing a moodboard or Houzz Ideabook.”

What happens during my first remote consultation?

Technology makes it relatively simple to conduct this first meeting remotely, particularly with video apps such as Zoom, WhatsApp and FaceTime.

“Zoom is particularly easy to use and the share screen function is effective to allow the homeowner to draw specific attention to particular points on floorplans,” Angus says.

How can measurements be taken remotely?

What happens after the first meeting?
After these initial meetings, your architect will need to gather some more detailed information. “We can use estate agents’ plans, or historic planning application plans, as a means of preparing initial ideas,” Angus says. “Some surveyors will undertake digital measured surveys, as long as they’re satisfied they can adhere to the government’s social distancing guidelines.”

Can an architect provide a quote remotely?
An experienced architect will be able to put an estimate together with the information you’ve provided remotely.

“Some clients have a very clear idea of what they’re after, so we can provide a quote before starting the design work,” Angus says. “Other projects require an options study to consider various options and, therefore, varying costs.”

Can I apply for Planning Permission?
Planning officers can also work remotely, say our experts. “During the lockdown, planning officers have been working from home and communicating effectively,” Angus says. “So it’s an excellent time to submit a planning application and get the ball rolling.”

“It’s worth considering that some planning applications will require additional reports, such as flood risk assessments, Heritage Statements and biodiversity reports,” Angus says. “Many of the relevant specialists can undertake this work, as long as they are satisfied they can adhere to the government’s social distancing guidelines.”