|If you're considering
building, you'll want to consider hiring an architect.
While you may not need one for a small home, there are many
advantages to using a licensed architect. They don't only come up with
your design, a good architect
will walk you through every stage of the
building process including overseeing the construction and making sure
the contractor follows his plans.
Things You'll Need:
• 3 ring binder with paper to keep information in
1. Start by finding
you'd like to interview. Ask
friends, family, or business associates
for recommendations. Use the
internet or phone book to aid in your search.
2. Contact architects.
See if you can set up a brief phone
interview. Remember that architects
paid rofessionals - make
that you have a list of questions ready.
that you would
consider hiring should take the time to answer
your questions about their experience,
etc. but don't expect them to give away their
knowledge for free.
3. After contacting
numerous firms via the phone, narrow your
choices down to 3-5 architects that
you'd like to
interview. Set up a
meeting with them. Be prepared with
information about what you'd like to build, your
expected budget, &
questions that you'd
like to ask the architect.
4. When you meet
with the architect,
the following questions are important and should be asked:
• What is your experience in
building (insert project type)? You want an architect
who has had
in your type of project.
• What do your services
include? Ideally, you want an architect who offers a full range of
including schematic design, design
development, construction documents, bid assistance, and
• What are your design
principles? These should fit with what you are looking for, but
ideally, you'll find an
whose goal it is to
take your vision and put it on paper. An architect should
say that they
are willing to spend as much time as necessary with
you, the client, in order to learn about your needs and
use that information to design the best possible building for you.
• What is your fee
structure? Some architects
charge an hourly rate while
others charge a
total construction costs. If your architect
charges an hourly rate, be sure to find out if there is a
maximum guaranteed cost.
• What other services are
included in your fee? Your architect
will likely consult with
electrical engineers, and
other professionals throughout your design. Find out if any of those
covered in your fee or if you'll be billed for those separately.
• Do you have professional
liability insurance? You'll want to make sure that your architect
• Do you have experience in
environmentally friendly design and building? As this becomes more
important and more popular, you may
want to find an architect that has
experience in this field. They may
be able to assist you with getting a LEED or other green built rating on your home or building.
Do you have rendering capabilities?
Technology has allowed many architects
to offer clients photo
renderings so they can see what
their building will look like before it's even started. Some
can even offer virtual tour renderings. If you are a visual person, this may be very
5. Once you've
interviewed all the architects that
considering, take your time and really compare
them. Make sure that you
are choosing someone who you connected
with as you'll be working with this
person for a good amount of time.
6. After you've
selection, make sure that you get a
contract and that you understand all of it.
Take the time to have an
attorney look it over. Specifically, make sure that you understand
terms, what happens
if you have to put your project on hold
cancel your project. Don't sign it until
you understand and are
comfortable with all terms of the contract.
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