Five Questions To Ask Before Hiring An Architect
If you are building a custom home, you’ll have many questions for your Seattle architecture designer? How do you know if the architects and designers you’re interviewing can educate and guide you through the entire building process? It would help if you asked about their specific design process. While there are industry standards, each professional or firm will approach things slightly differently when it comes to design and drawing preparation. These are the top five questions you should ask your architect.
What Is The Design Process Like?
Are the design team’s initial studies all hand-drawn sketches, or did they get into 3d modeling early in the process? How do they collect and incorporate the images that you might’ve pulled from magazines or online websites? What drawings or deliverables do they provide throughout the process? Most importantly, how do they involve you in the design process? Is it all over the phone or email? Is there weekly or monthly meetings in their office? Are there even more frequent meetings online via Skype or Zoom?
What Are Their Relationships With Contractors?
You’ll want to ask about their relationships with local contractors. How do they typically work with these contractors? Do they bring them on early in the process? Do they only work with select contractors, or do they wait till further on down the line? If it is further along in the process, you’re into detailed documents and then begin a more traditional bid process with multiple contractors that they may or may not have worked with before. If they have specific contractors that they like to recommend and work with, that’s a great thing to know.
How Do They Evaluate Your Budget?
You’ll want to ask about their process for evaluating your budgets. Asking “Is our budget realistic?” is an essential one to answer early on in the process. Is your budget review something that happens in-house, or do they farm it out to an outside estimator, or do they bring in a contractor early in the process to evaluate whether you’re on track to get your project done?
How Will You Select Your Materials And Fixtures?
Are they comfortable in going through a complete material and fixture selection process with you? Or if it’s a residential architect that may not have an in-house interior designer, do they have a consultant they like to work with that can help? In landscape design, are they willing to visit and stone yards with you to pick out materials? Or is that something that they would lean on the chosen landscape contractor to help with?
Can They Participate During Construction?
Finally, and I would say most critically, how willing and able are they to participate in the construction process? A good number of commercial architecture firms have construction administration built-in as part of their contract. If and when changes need to be made, you and the contractor could probably work out a solution in a renovation case. Projects often require changes due to materials’ unavailability or when your contractor finds surprises behind the walls. Your architect or designer should be involved to make the right changes to make sure that you get suitable spaces for your family.
You’re relying on your team members for accurate answers. Your architects, landscape architects, interior designer, contractor, landscapers, electricians should all be working as a team after all. This is a significant investment, probably the largest one of your life. When you’re informed about the costs, schedule, implications, and installation constraints of design choices, you’ll ultimately be able to make better choices with your team. This keeps your project process moving along and will keep your budget and your sanity in check. Those are our top five questions to ask a potential architect or designer on your next construction project. It’s essential to see if they’re the right ones to guide you through the entire building process.