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Don’t Hire an Architect Without Asking These Six Questions

24 May 2016

There’s no way around it, hiring an architect can be an intimidating task.  After all, you’re entrusting the execution of your dream home to someone you’ve recently met.  A good start can be to ask family and friends about any experiences they may have had with someone that has this skill set.  It’s also wise to consult reputable review websites such as the Better Business Bureau & Angie’s List and read reviews of those you’re considering hiring.  Once you’ve narrowed down your list of candidates that you wish to interview, here are some helpful questions to help you find the perfect architect for your construction

What is your involvement during the construction process? It’s crucial to have an architect that can work hand-in-hand with your builder for the duration of your project.  This ensures that the builder is able to clear up any questions regarding the blueprints as the project progresses.  Architects have substantial experience working with builders and will be able to suggest names of those that would be an appropriate fit for your project.      

Are you personally designing my project? It’s beneficial to understand whether the person you are initially meeting with is the person drawing up the blueprints or if they’re a representative of their firm.  Insist on meeting the architect responsible for your project before signing on with a firm.

How are your rates calculated? Architects use various methods to tabulate their rates.  Some contractors charge a price per square foot or a percentage of construction costs.  Others opt to charge by the hour.  Clarify if there are services that they may need to provide that are not included in the quote.  It’s also important to understand how often you will be invoiced, as this can vary as well.

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Can I have a list of references? Verbal and written references allow you to understand the caliber of work an architect performs and how satisfied previous clients are with the final outcome.  Speaking with past clients also allows you understand how well an architect adheres to budgets and timelines.

What past project was your favorite? The response to this question can be quite telling.  If their favorite project had styling you didn’t particularly care for, it’s highly probable that your relationship with them may not be as peaceful as you’d like.  Additionally, if the architect favors a design style that differs from your personal taste, it’s wise to seek out the services of a professional that will better execute your vision.

Do you foresee any obstacles to my vision being completed? A reputable architect should be able to anticipate problems before they arise.  They can verify whether your budget and timeline are realistic.  This also allows the architect to discuss any portions of your vision that may have consequences that you hadn’t already considered.    

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