4. Appointing a French Architect
4.2. Finding an Architect in France
As a general rule, the use of an architect who lives locally or who is familiar with the area is to be preferred.
Their good contacts with the local mayor and the county planning and highways department are going to be important in obtaining planning consent and their knowledge of local builders will also reduce the risk of a poor performing building contract.
As always, it pays to take your time. Do not appoint the first architect you come across. Invite at least three to discuss the project with you, examine recent projects they have carried out in the area and speak to some of their clients. These exploratory meetings are also a useful form of free advice!
Discuss with them how they would approach the project and determine if they have an interest in and experience of the type of project you envisage. Do you like them and do you think you can work with them? Speak to their recent clients and find out if they were happy with them.
If you lack an appreciation of plans and building terminology in the English language then learn about them, as you are likely to be otherwise swamped trying to understand the terms in a foreign language.
Alternatively, if language is the dominant issue then consider using an English speaking expat architect, of whom there are an increasing number in France. Make sure they are registered with the authorities and that their qualification grants them full recognition as an architect in France.
You can find architects by consult our Commercial Services pages, where you will find a number of architects listed.
Alternatively go to the Architects and typing in name of your town or city.
Whether or not you choose to use an architect to assist you in the selection of a builder and to then to supervise the works is a matter for you. There is no legal obligation to do so.
Clearly, however, on such a large project, and with so much at stake, you would be well advised to ensure you have professional expertise on board.
As an alternative to retaining your architect, you can go back into the market place and appoint a contracts manager maître d’oeuvre to oversee the building works. The maître d’oeuvre may not actually be an architect but there are many architects who also perform this role.
The person responsible for the preparation of the plans and supervision of the works is called the maître d’œuvre, whilst you, the client, are the maître d'ouvrage!
Next: Architect Contracts
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