Whether your construction or design aspirations are small or large scale, deciding whether or not you need an architect or what to look for when you have decided you need on can be daunting for a lot of people. Many people choose to hire an architect when they know that there are limits to what they can do personally, or they simply want to be assured that their project is in the hands of a professional.
Keep these eight factors in mind when it comes time for you to work with an architect:
1) Understand the value an architect brings
First and foremost, it’s worth reminding yourself why hiring an architect is worthwhile. The list of contributions they’ll make to a build is endless. Architects are trained professionals who have spent years studying building codes, interior, and exterior design, structural integrity, etc. Architects are hired on with a wealth of knowledge to contribute, so be willing to listen and take their expert advice. Having a clear understanding of what you want for final results will only help, but being open to professional suggestions will create a smooth path to a successful project completion.
2) Do your Search properly
The search process for most people can be tiresome but choosing the right professional you are comfortable working with is essential. A good place to start may be to ask friends and family who may have worked with or know architects in the past to recommend.
Check out the history of the architect and get to know who you will be working with. To get a sense of whether you like the sort of work an architecture studio puts out, simply look at their current portfolio. It might seem like a superficial place to start but allowing yourself to be instinctively and aesthetically drawn to an architect’s work is probably a solid foundation for narrowing down a long list of potential options. After all, you’re going to have to live with the end result.
One thing to bear in mind, however, is that when looking at images of completed work, try to see past things like furniture and art as they are most likely out of architects’ control
Typically, an architect who is versed in a wide range of architectural styles will be capable of providing the best design solutions for you. Versatility allows the architect to tailor the design to reflect your desires; the preferred design and style is one that delights you, the client
4) Determine your budget beforehand
This cannot be overemphasized. Hiring a professional on any project does cost money, so it is essential that you at least have an idea of how much you intend to spend and your budgetary requirements before calling a professional. Discuss your budget with the architect and ask if he/she can work within those constraints. It is also important to be very clear about where you draw limits and how the project will be paid out. Remember, keep realistic expectations about the time the project will take, as this can affect the budget, value, and flexibility for the future.
5) Team Approach
Any building project usually requires team effort one way or the other, as collaboration will always be the key to the success of any great project. Look for an architect who is a team player and fosters a cooperative atmosphere.
Depending on how involved your assignment is, the architect you hire may also require more minds and hands to help accomplish the final goal. This means hiring more than one person or possibly an entire architecture firm—in turn costing you more money. Don’t be surprised by the team effort that might be heading your way in the near future if you decide to hire an architect. This idea makes it especially important to hire someone you trust, as they often choose their own team of experts.
6) Open Communication
Make sure the architect is willing to not only listen to your needs and desires but has the ability to translate them into the design. While it is important that you be opened to take the professional counsel given by your architect, you also need an architect that will consider your preferences and not one who forces their ideas down your throat. There really is no point in hiring an architect who is going to spend the entire design phase trying to persuade you to choose Venetian blinds if you’ve already decided on curtains for your window treatment.
7) Define Clear Lines of Communication
Clear communication is key to the success of any project. When it comes to any investment, I always tell clients “never assume”, be sure you are able to establish a clear line of communication with your architect. Understand and define acceptable times to be in contact and to create a regular schedule for updates, so as to keep the project on track and your working relationship successful. This helps to also reduces stress between you and your architect.
8) Past Works
While asking questions is obviously a very good way to understand the different firms you are considering, a better way for you to figure out the team that is most compatible with your vision is to ask to see some real samples of their work.
Being able to see these samples will not only demonstrate what a prospective firm is capable of, but it will also help you be more confident in your decision by knowing they have the experience necessary to get the job done. Additionally, taking the time to look at samples can also help inspire you and help you understand the range of options you have available.