20 Questions to Ask an Architect Before They Build Your Church

So, you've decided the structure of the church you're going to build, what your budget is, and you've discussed both of these with your congregation. It's time to begin the interview process for potential architecture firms. This is perhaps the most critical part of building a new worship building. We've put together a list of 30 questions that may be relevant to your project.

Obviously, you won't want to ask your design/build firm to answer all 30 of these questions. We recommend putting together a questionnaire with 10-15 questions that you and other stakeholders have selected as the most important to your particular situation. 

Getting to Know The Firm

1. How long has your firm been in business? How many projects have you completed in that time?

2. If you have a specialization (church, commercial, residential, etc.), what is it?

3. Do you have a specific style that you work with? Does that style work with the building that my congregation is looking for?

4. What was your most recent project?

5. Are you willing to remain within the budget for this project?

6. Does your firm carry insurance? Are you willing to provide proof of insurance if hired?

7. If your firm plans to use outside consultants, does that require additional fees from me?

8. Can I see a portfolio of projects similar to mine?

9. Would you be willing to do a brief presentation of plans to the congregation, if hired?

Project Specific Questions

10. What do you anticipate will be challenging as we work on this project? How will you overcome those challenges?

11. What kind of information do you need from me (the client) and how will that information be received?

12. How closely to the project timeline can you adhere?

13. Can you explain the way that your design process works? Will I be updated as we move through the design phases?

14. How soon after hiring will the church have access to drawings and plans for viewing?

15. Can you explain back to me the goals of this project? Do your goals match my goals?

Contracts, Fees, and Payment

16. What services will I receive for the fees?

17. Do you anticipate there being additional costs? If so, why and what are they?

18. How are fees calculated? When is payment expected?

19. Do you offer a contract that allows us to walk away following any completed phase of the project without additional fees or early contract termination penalties?

20. Who is responsible for the cost associated with redesign due to unforeseen or unavoidable circumstances?

We hope that you find this list useful as you pursue your plans for building, remodeling, or adding to your worship building. Vanman Architects and Builders encourages you to consider us. Give us a call to find out more about the design/build advantage and what we can do for your congregation!

Samantha Spalding