How to hire an Architect or should I

There are few things that are more exciting than building a new home or watching your old one transformed before your eyes. And the person who will affect the outcome of your project the most is usually the Architect. There are some and builders and designers who are quite qualified and may possibly provide you with the visions you want for your family but most likely a professionally trained Architect will provide you with what you need. His or her plan will dictate the ultimate appearance and function of the home, as well as the financial costs and emotional toll involved in its construction.

Architects are not just the people who draft plans for a building or addition. When you work with one it means that you have hired them to develop a design, help you find appropriate contractors, guide the entire project through any required approval processes, and checks in on the construction to ensure that all is going accordingly. An architect’s profile or website should be full of information on previous work and should give you a feel for what’s important in his or her design practice.

An Architect is licensed and has a degree from an accredited college and he or she would have completed a few thousand intern hours under a licensed professional as with completed a series of eight rigorous exams to become a licensed Architect in whatever state he or she is performing services in. The Designer is someone without an architecture license. He or she can only call themselves a home designer or a designer. Unless they are licensed with the Department of Consumer Protection they cannot legally call themselves an Architect. Their experience might consist of a drafting class at a city college — or they might hold a master’s in architecture from a college, but for whatever reason, didn’t get their license.
An Architect can work with a client many different ways. For the most part architectural service are generally calculated as a percentage of the cost of construction with it being between 10 – 17% of the total building budget. Some Architects will also charge you either by the hour or as a fixed price for the whole project. Those prices can vary pending on the type of firm you may have contacted.

When looking for an Architect you may want to consult local General Contractors, Interior designers and other individuals in related trades. As many professionals do, architects get much of their business through word of mouth. Ask family, friends and professional colleagues for referrals. Is there a particular home you admire? A knock on the door could yield an introduction to your future architect.

They can be great resources for finding the right architect. Having a contractor and an architect who work well together is probably the single most important ingredient for a successful project.

As your process begins with the names you have come by from either word of mouth or recommendations you will want to schedule interviews with your list of candidates. It is now time to start a conversation and make an appointment to meet at the architect’s office or out on the site. There should be no charge for an initial consultation to discuss your project.
Are you wondering what to ask at the first interview? Let the candidate know what is most important to you about your project and solicit thoughts about incorporating that into the process. If you are remodeling, start with the aspects of your house you currently like or would like to take better advantage of.

Here are a few questions to get the ball rolling.
1. Can I see some examples of your work?
2. How would you approach this project?
3. What are some of the largest obstacles on a project like this?
4. How do you charge, and what are your fees?
5. How long will this project take for design, building permits and construction?
6. Can you give me referrals for contractors you like?

Most importantly don’t forget to discuss your budget. Whether you plan to spend $10,000 or millions, it’s important to be up front from the get-go. First of all, you need to make sure what you’re proposing is possible. Construction costs can vary considerably, and just because the guy who fixed a leak in your attic says the project can be done for X dollars doesn’t mean it actually can.

A good architect will be able to get you the best design for your buck, recommend trustworthy and experienced pros, guide your investment, protect your interests during construction and save you time and money during the whole process.

Lastly a good architect might cost a little more than an average one, but the amount of value added to your project could be substantial.