The relationship between client, architect and builder is going to be one of the key factors to the success of your project. So how should you go about selecting an architect?
Going with the recommendations of people you trust, people who have been there and done it, is always a good way to get started. If there's a particular style you desire, make sure that this is work that is frequently carried out by that particular architect. Although architects may claim that they design all styles, what does their portfolio tell you?
You also require an architect who is competent. The best way of assessing this is to check out the quality of the architect's previous projects. They should be happy to oblige and if you can talk to some of their past clients you should get unbiassed feedback about the architect's services. If you are meeting the boss or owner of the company, it might be worth checking who will be designing your house and meeting those members of the team.
Of course price is going to play a central part in your decision-making process. In the UK there is a set fee structure but deals can still be done and it is worth spending that extra time trying to negotiate one.
The timescale will be important to you, so make sure it is a consideration when choosing an architect. If the architect is too busy, this may lead to delays. What guarantees are there that you will get the building in the time you want it? Again, this could be a question to ask the architect's previous clients.
Overall, you need an architect who you can trust and get along with. It can be a fairly close relationship and they will be making a lot of decisions on your behalf.