Things To Consider When Choosing An Architect
Choosing an architect is a serious decision that requires careful thought and consideration. The architect that you select will be the brains behind your project, so you must make sure that you are on the same page with them, they are a good listener, good problem solver, and will keep your budget on track. Here are some questions you should ask when considering an architect. Hopefully these will prompt you to think along the right lines when making the choice and help guide you to the perfect selection.
1.) What are the biggest challenges and attractions of this job? It’s the age old pros and cons list. Make sure that you and your potential architect have a mutual understanding of the challenges and expectations of the project. This not only ensures that you are gaining a clear vision and understanding of what you want but it will also allow you to build rapport with one another and make sure your personalities are compatible.
2.) Do you have a signature style? A great architect should be adaptable to every project but many do have similar unique flairs or design aspects that they bring to each project. It is a good idea to talk about this with your potential architect because you will want to make sure that if they do have a specific style you can assess whether that is right for you.
3.) Ask who will design your project. Often firms split the work, etc. so make sure that the person who you meet with is the person you will be dealing with before you hire a firm.
4.) What management services do you provide? Architects can do more than just blueprints and design. They can also help manage the project, help you hire a contractor, check the contractor’s work as the job proceeds, make design adjustments as the work progresses, review invoices to ensure payments don’t get ahead of the work—site inspections and revisions should be part of your contract but many extra services are offered at an additional charge. Make sure you are well informed and understand exactly what aspects of the project are included.
5.) How do you charge? Architects usually charge a percentage of the total project cost, anywhere from 5 to 20 % depending on the services provided. Discuss pricing with your architect and when payments will be due. Architects usually bill monthly as soon as they begin but most up-front design work happens before you hire contractors and know the total project cost. The architect may charge an hourly rate or a retainer until the real numbers are known. It is important that you and your architect work this out at the start of your professional relationship.
6.) Can you provide three-dimensional drawings? Reading a two-dimensional plan is usually a bit complex and difficult. You do not necessarily gain insight into how the building will look in the real world. Most architects use three-dimensional images that can be rotated and viewed from multiple angles.