No matter what kind of project you have in mind, you should speak with an architect who is a member of The American Institute of Architects (AIA) at the earliest stage of the design process.
Architects are the single participant in the building industry most capable of guiding the overall design and construction process to a successful conclusion. They respect the industry’s traditions and train themselves to be masters of technology and change. An architect listens to you and serves as your advocate throughout the project.
You will benefit by involving an architect in your project as early in the process as possible. The most popular, and usually the best, way to select an architect is by interviewing several candidates. You can also learn about reputation and ability of architects in your community by visiting completed projects, talking with clients and users, and checking design awards programs and professional design publications.
- What does the architect see as important considerations in your project? What are the challenges of the project?
- How will the architect gather information about your needs, goals, etc?
- How will the architect establish priorities and make decisions?
- Who from the architecture firm will you be dealing with directly? Is it the same person who will be designing the project? If not, who will be designing it?
- How interested is the architect in this project?
- How busy is the architect?
- What sets this architect apart from the rest?
- How does the architect establish fees? When will fee payments be expected?
- How will you be able to relate fee payments to milestones in the architect’s scope of work?
- What would the architect expect the fee to be for this project?
- What are the steps in the design process?
- How does the architect organize the process?
- What does the architect expect you to provide?
- Does the architect have a specific design style? Can he/she show examples of past design work?
- What is the architect’s experience/track record with cost estimating?
- What will the architect show you along the way to explain the project? Will you see models, drawings, or sketches?
- If the scope of the project changes later in the project, will there be additional fees? How will these fees be justified?
- What services does the architect provide during construction?
- How disruptive will construction be? How long does the architect expect it to take to complete your project?
- Can the architect provide a list of past clients with whom he or she has worked?