Hiring an architect to design your home project will be costly. However, you can get the most for your money if you do your homework and carefully choose the architect that best suits the type of project you have in mind. But how do you find one with a good reputation and the skills to create something functional from your vision? Well, there are a few factors you have to keep in mind when you are choosing the architect for your project. In this article, we will look closer at what those factors are and how each can impact the final selection.
Your First Move – Seeking Architects
There are several ways to find an architect. Here are a few ideas that should help you:
Ask For Recommendations
In your circle of friends and contacts, there may be someone who just completed a home project. If that project involved the design of an architect, ask some questions. First, get the name of that architect. Ask if the project stayed within budget and on time. If not, find out the reasons.
Search Online Sources
There are many ways to find an architect online. You can start with a basic search for “architects near me” and go from there. Check your local Chamber of Commerce for members that are architects, visit your local municipal government website and search business license holders. Search online directories, social media feeds, industry association membership lists, and similar sites. While you are searching the internet, be sure to give any reviews you find a quick look as you may discover some information that will help you to narrow down your choices.
Search Other Sources
If you don’t find too many names from your time spent online, you can get names by employing old-school methods of searching. You can check phone books, design magazines, and various other forms of printed media including local newspapers and other publications that are related to design or the region where you live. Pick up the phone and call area contractors for names of architects. Reach out to building developers and real estate offices for names. You should end up with several options after you have conducted an extensive search or contacted several sources for information.
Your Second Move – Interviewing Architects
Hiring an architect to design your home project follows much the same requirements as hiring anyone for a job. Here are some things to consider:
Look At Portfolios
The architects you are considering for your home project should have portfolios that can be reviewed by homeowners looking for something to verify the work done. An average building portfolio should include examples of many different types of projects from large to small representing various styles and budgets.
Be Candid About Your Expectations
This is where you get to talk about the job you have in mind. Even if you have sketches or examples pulled from sources such as Pinterest, the architect should understand what you are looking for. This is also where you will determine if there is a connection between you and the architect that indicates the two of you can work together in a partnership to get your job done. Will the architect listen to your feedback and respond with changes to fit your vision? Will the architect listen to what you say and provide wise solutions?
Ask For References
References are always helpful in giving you a list of contacts that you can use to discuss the finer details of a working relationship. Plus, references can tell you things that won’t show up in a portfolio, resume, or become part of an interview. Ideally, the one thing you want to learn from checking references is if the design ideas were properly executed, what issues popped up if any, and if the work was completed on time and budget.
There are going to be times when the architect you hire is going to need to consult with you on various matters. They could range from decisions that will impact the timeline to decisions that will add to the budget. Before work begins, you will need to know how involved you will be. That way, if you have a busy career, you can make provisions to fit regular meetings into your daily or weekly structure. You will also want to confirm that you will be working directly with the architect and not someone else working on the project or in the office who will pass on your concerns.
Your Third Move – Planning The Project
Finally, you reach this point, the final step to hiring an architect for your building project. Your final steps should include:
Your budget needs to fit in here. It will lead to a discussion where some hard decisions will have to be made. The architect should provide a cost for their services or a rate per hour you can factor into your timeline. If your budget won’t accommodate the rate, discuss what can be done for what you can afford and go from there. Whatever your budget is, ensure that you have a cushion available as most construction projects encounter added costs along the way.
Depending on the architect, you may find one that offers far more than just design services. This could save you money in the long run if the architect provides project management as an added service. This will save you from hiring contractors and ensuring all required building permits and inspections are made. As much as this can save you on your project, the architect still has to keep you constantly informed of progress and any issues that develop along the way.
Hiring an architect for a home building project is much like hiring any professional tradesperson for a job. There are pieces of information required to assist you in making an informed decision when the hiring process takes place. Try not to overthink what you are hoping to achieve and if you find an architect that will work with you and shares your vision, the project will be easier to complete. Keep in mind that your budget will dictate what the project will end up being, but by being as transparent as possible, the project should be well within budget and still achieve the goals you had set for it to reach.
Marina Turea works as content manager at Digital Authority Partners, a San Diego SEO agency.