Tips to Hire a Good Architect

Congo, you have taken the final decision for hiring an architect! Every architect has their own strengths, techniques, and style and whether your project is small or right, it is crucial to find one that is right for you.

Decide what will be your Project

First and foremost, there must be clarification on what are your needs and make sure your thought process must be aligned with your architect. Decide how much work you will be able to handle and the areas your architect can help. Defining the scope of your project will be helpful for your prospective architect. Make a list, prioritize and pull images of what you don’t and do like will be immensely helpful for you and the architect.

Visit your local AIA and Seek for Referrals

Your local American Institute of Architects (AIA) chapter is the best place to find qualified professionals. You will get a list of all AIA affiliated architecture companies, so you can go through their sites and shortlist the companies according to your preference. It would be much better if you can get some references from acquaintances, family, and friends. These steps can help you to find a recommended and experienced architect. The flip side is they can also steer you away from negative reviews.

Browse the Company’s Site

You must verify that their portfolio has projects similar in scope and size to your own. Look for the design style – do you like or need those designs? Do they able to provide different looks or have a signature style? If your project requires some expertise like LEED certification or historic preservation, make sure they have experience in these fields.

Contact and interview as many Prospective Architects

The thumb rule is to meet a minimum of four to five firms for making an even comparison. Always meet them in person and at their office. You will be working with them for a long period and they are likely to spend a decent time at your project. You want to click not with the core team but also with the staff of the firm. Is their office calm or chaotic – which is the best indicator of their work ethic?

Few good questions you need to ask

• What is the design philosophy of the firm?

• Do they integrate sustainable design and if yes, to what extent?

• Does the firm have LEED accreditation? (Vital if there is a requirement for LEED certification)

• What are their school/design background and the type of certifications they have? (Verify that they possess a valid license in the state where your project is located)

• Who will manage your project and how long a project according to your given scope and size will typically take?

• How the architect will be prioritizing and balancing your project with another workload?

Visit some projects that were previously build

Connect with the architect’s past clients and ask them to share their good and bad experience. Visit some projects that are similar to yours and judge the quality of the skill and design.

Find out the establishment of the fees

You should know that the fee for architects in Pittsburgh PA is always based on the percentage of your budget. It can be on the final construction cost, fixed flat fee or hourly. You must be transparent to the architect what your total budget is and what is included and also not included. Often there are additional fees for significant changes to a design, over time, 3-D models, materials, travel, etc. At the start of the project, you may be required to provide a retainer (similar to a down payment). You do not want any of these to be a surprise in the later period.

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