Are you thinking of building or renovating a home?
If you are, then you may be in the market for an architect to help you with your project. These professionals can make the difference between an ordinary house and the home of your dreams.
But how do you find the best architect for your work?
Each architect will have their own style and approach. Finding one that meshes well with you and your style is vital to getting your project completed.
Here are a few things to consider when searching for an architect:
Ask friends, relatives, realtors and builders if they know of any good architects. If a home or project looks similar to yours inquire as to who the architect was. Just ask around.
If your work is going to be some type of restoration work dealing with an older home, check with the local historical society or historical zoning commissions.
There are online directories that list architects and their firms. You will be able to set search parameters such as location and specialty. Remember, even one firm may have several architects with differing styles.
After you have found firms that interest you, do some research into them. You can find out a lot about many firms before you ever contact them. Get a feel for an architect first.
Check to see if there are any fees or payments for interviews and consultations.
Although architects are not required to belong to the American Institute of Architects (AIA), in the United States a great many do. AIA membership means the architect subscribes to the organization’s rules regarding ethics, continuing education and standards of practice and service. AIA members have access to a variety of professional and technical resources.
Call prospective firms and ask to talk with them. Find out as much as you can about the company in the interview and request literature from them. Ask if they can handle your project on your schedule. If they can’t, ask if they can recommend another firm.
Face to face interviews
After conducting phone interviews you should have narrowed your list down to just a few companies. Meet with these firms, preferably at their offices, so you can meet and get a feel for the people who will work on your project. By this time you should have a good idea of the individual architects you want working on your project. The relationship could last a long time. You want to be sure of your choice.
Ask to see any complete or substantially completed work by the architect and firm. See for your own eyes how a project looks and feels. An individual architect should be proud of their work and relish showing it off.
By this time you should have obtained references from each architect and firm. Check these out carefully. Ask the same questions of the references that you ask the architect. Inquire about budget, timeliness, professionalism and other matters.
Make your choice
In the end you will have to make a choice. By this stage you should have a good feel for your architect and their firm and what you can expect.
Finding an architect for your project, whether starting from scratch or remodeling, is a big undertaking. You want to find an architect and design firm that shares your sense of style and approach to the job. Following a few simple guidelines will allow you to choose the best architect for the project.