An image of a house
Vernacular Reimagined by Patrick Lynch MRIAI (Initial consultation, RIAI Simon Open Door 2013).

Get Involved

Building is complex and RIAI Registered Architects are professionally qualified in design to maximise the potential of a project. RIAI Simon Open Door allows clients to have an initial discussion about their project with a Registered Architect – who will be able to give you some advice and outline next steps. Most consultations take place in the Architect's office or online.

The campaign for 2022 has closed. Check back in April 2023 for the new campaign!

RIAI Simon Open Door

supports those engaged in retrofitting, extending or building a new home by providing access to a Registered Architect for some initial advice

Find an Architect

Book your Appointment

Check back in April 2023!

The campaign for 2022 is now closed.

How to make the most out of your one-hour session?

Then, when planning for your consultation, it can be useful to have the following:

• Photos of the elevations of your property (front and rear) and adjoining houses.

Photos of both interior / exterior of your house / apartment.
The full dimensions of the rooms, perhaps using the auctioneer's floor plan if available. Links from myhome.ie or daft.ie or aerial images from Google Maps showing the neighbouring properties for context and the property in question at a larger scale. Note: photos from first floor windows often help give a clearer understanding of boundary conditions.

For extensions and new build projects - general site dimensions and the approximate area for the proposed development. This is especially important if you want to have building work done in back and side gardens. Note:  Pinterest.com may have images useful for quickly communicating the feel / style you like.

• Consider any other issues regarding access, land ownership or rights of way that might be a problem. Note: www.landdirect.ie may be useful in clearly identifying boundaries.

• Any information available related to similar building works carried out in the immediate area.

To make the most of your consultation, include the following information in your Project Description:

Describe your property type:  Apartment, Bungalow, Cottage, Conservation/ Protected Structure, Detached, Semi detached, Terrace, End of Terrace or Flat.

Add a brief description of what you want to achieve. For example, the space and additional rooms required. Special facilities for those with disabilities? Also, confirmation of the space’s orientation - where is north/south/east/west

• Provide a rough idea of your budget (it should include VAT, fees, furniture and landscaping if applicable)

• Mention whether the dwelling has obtained planning permission or been previously extended?

• You can include a link to, for example, Dropbox, with further information.

A stylish and well-design house exterior. An image of a group of people consulting.
Top Image: Farmhouse Extension by Studio Red. Bottom Image: A typical RIAI Simon Open Door consultation.

What to expect from your Consultation?

Due to the time constraints, it won’t be possible to receive specific planning advice or an actual design from the Architect. What you can expect are:

• General ideas and advice on your project
• Advice on Architect’s fees and services
• Information on building costs including VAT
• The Architect may provide you with a rough sketch plan 
• Discussion on building materials likely to be used
• Brief discussion on planning requirements or if you are exempted from planning permission
• Brief outline of documents that will be used for planning, tenders, and building contracts

Useful RIAI Resources

• house + design Magazine - For ideas and inspiration, our RIAI magazine house+ design features a wealth of architect-designed homes, complete with top tips and professional advice.
• Working with an Architect – Your Home
  - Download our handy guide.
Working with an Older Building - Old House New Home – Do you own an older building? Old House New Home is an important online resource for the owners of existing properties, including protected structures. It provides best-practice architectural advice and beautifully illustrated case studies to support and inspire homeowners in reimagining these buildings.
RIAI Building/Construction Cost Guidelines (2019)
Useful Questions Before you Start  - it can be useful to ask yourself a number of questions prior to getting started a project.
Top tips from Architects
Find an Architect  - Use this online tool and search by name, location, area of expertise, or services to find an RIAI Practice Member.
Check the Register  - Use the REGISTER FOR ARCHITECTS to check if an individual is authorised to use the title 'Architect'.
Home Energy Upgrades - SEAI provides a wide range of grants that help you to upgrade your home, making it warmer and more energy efficient.