A Checklist for Hiring an Architect for the First Time

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Any new experience can be a little exciting and a little scary. Hiring an architect is no exception. Vanman Architects and Builders wants to get you off to a great start with a checklist that can help you get through the process of hiring an architect.

1. Speak to your friends and neighbors, especially those who have worked with architects before. Often, they are a great resource and are more likely to be candid with you about the experiences they've had with different firms.

2. Use what you already know. Most likely, there are buildings in your area that you admire or even want to model your project after. Speak to building managers, business owners, and receptionists to gather information about who built your favorite buildings.

3. Once you've got a few great prospects, line up interviews. You should interview at least 3 firms before you make a decision. Check out our other posts on the right questions to ask your architect for a little help in the questioning department.

4. Make sure that you perfectly understand the fee schedule before you put your signature on anything. It would be a detriment indeed to find that you owe more than you had budgeted for, and carefully reviewing financial matters beforehand can help prevent that.

5. Check that the firms you’re working with have architects with the proper licenses and affiliations. While not always the case, most architects will be members of and participate in professional communities. You can search through the database of the Better Business Bureau or the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards to make sure that all professional licensure obligations are fulfilled.

6. You have to make sure that you’re comfortable working with the architect on a personal level. Both of you will have vested interest in a project for many months. While working with someone who challenges your notions of great architecture is well enough, too much clashing of ideas and principles will leave you feeling defeated. Make sure that there’s chemistry before you sign your contract.  

 

Samantha Spalding