The American Institute of Architects has developed a list of 21 questions you should ask before selecting an architect for your project. Each project is unique and it is important to make sure you have the right person in place to guide you through this complicated process. Over the next several months, I will explore each of these questions with answers that should shed some light on what it means to hire an architect for your project. For your next project, big or small, be sure to ask these same questions, whether it be a designer, draftsman or architect.
1. What does the architect see as important issues or considerations in your project?
2. What are the challenges of the project?
3. How will the architect approach your project?
4. How will the architect gather information about your needs, goals, etc.?
5. How will the architect establish priorities and make decisions?
6. Who from the architecture firm will you be dealing with directly? Is that the same person who will be designing the project? Who will be designing your project?
7. How interested is the architect in this project?
8. How busy is the architect?
9. What sets this architect apart from the rest?
10. How does the architect establish fees?
11. What would the architect expect the fee to be for this project?
12. What are the steps in the design process?
13. How does the architect organize the process?
14. What does the architect expect you to provide?
15. What is the architect's design philosophy?
16. What is the architect's experience/track record with cost estimating?
17. What will the architect show you along the way to explain the project? Will you see models, drawings, or computer animations?
18. If the scope of the project changes later in the project, will there be additional fees? How will these fees be justified?
19. What services does the architect provide during construction?
20. How disruptive will construction be? How long does the architect expect it to take to complete your project?
21. Does the architect have a list of past clients that you can contact?