Hiring an Architect: The 4 Most Important Questions You Can Ask

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Every architect that you seek out during the hiring process is going to have their own particular set of skills, just as every project is going to have its own requirements. The key to making the perfect match is asking the right questions before you decide on an architect. Neglecting to do so can result in an end-result that doesn't feel fulfilling to either party. 

Question #1- What is your design process?

One of the most basic requirements for hiring your architect is understanding exactly what their process looks like. A design-build firm is going to function much differently than a more traditional firm. If part of the design process doesn't appeal to you, ask if compromises can be made. For example, if they usually only show clients progress twice during the the process, but you'd like to be more involved, don't be afraid to request reasonable accommodations. Most firms are happy to work with their clients. 

Question #2- Would Your Client References Hire You Again?

Most firms are going to automatically answer yes, whether it's true or not. The real purpose of this question is the follow-up: Why? Ask for specific reasons that a client would hire them again. Ask them what their clients are going to say when you call for references. If they seem confident in their work and in the satisfaction of their past clients, you're likely in good hands. 

Question #3- What Challenges Do You See Arising with My Project?

While it's impossible to know the scope and span of a project from one meeting, architects with experience will already have some ideas of challenges that come along with any type of project. It's important to understand that no architectural project is without its challenges, so expecting anything less is only going to lead to disappointment. Working with an architect who recognizes this and is ready and willing to work through it is your best bet. 

Question #4- How Will Fees Outside the Scope of the Budget be Communicated to Me?

The best firms are going to do their absolute best to stick to the agreed-upon budget, but sometimes plans change. Whether it's you deciding that some design element needs enhancement or the architect coming upon an obstacle that requires more work or resources than previously expected, there needs to be some system of communication and justification when fees are tacked on. 

Vanman Architects and Builders hope that these questions help you narrow down your search for an architecture firm that fits your needs. Have a wonderful holiday season!

Samantha Spalding