Questions to ask before hiring an architect

Are you building or considering renovating your home? This undoubtedly means that you require the services of an architect design your design your home building project or renovation. Naturally, you may be wondering how to go about choosing an architect. In the event that you have never worked with an architect before then you will need to find one from scratch. This is easier said than done as you need to ensure that you pick the right architect for your particular project. As with any other profession, not all architects are the same. It is also very important that you realise hat your choice of architect will have a bearing on the functionality and overall value of your home. To help you get started, I have compiled some critical questions to ask before hiring an architect.

Questions to ask before hiring an architect

1. How much experience do you have?

To start with, verify your architect’s qualifications and credentials. After all, any professional architect will be both qualified and registered. It is important that you verify and ask for evidence of their qualifications. Moreover, thoroughly research their qualifications, how long they have in the architecture business, as well as the type of projects they have previously completed.

2. Are you experienced in this type of project?

Secondly, it is essential that you evaluate if an architect has experience and the necessary familiarity with your style of project. Insist on seeing evidence of similar types of projects they have undertaken before. The truly exceptional architects will gladly share their portfolio of past projects. In addition, they will enlighten you on their goals, as well as what drives and inspires them, plus their vision for your project.

3. What would you suggest to achieve my desired outcome?

One of the biggest mistakes people make is to approach an architect with a rigid plan in mind. They will then insist on the architect simply drawing up the plan as it is. However, it goes without saying that when you are engaging an experienced and skilled architect then their input, suggestions and advice matters. Keep in mind that an experienced architect is a design expert with significant experience under their belt. As such, it is imperative that you take advantage of their expertise and knowledge.

A good architect will enquire into your lifestyle and your ultimate objectives with the project. Equipped with this information, a skilled architect will then come up with prospective design options tat aim to address your needs. An ideal tailor-made solution will perfectly suit your lifestyle and your budget. Ensure that you fully comprehend the ultimate solution and all the various implications. Moreover, be comfortable with your architect’s advice, solutions, and design suggestions.

4. Will my design be unique?

There is no question that we all draw on our past experiences for inspiration, the same is true for architects. However, it is vital that your architect’s solution is tailored to meet and suit your specific needs.

5. Will you help get my project approved by council?

Some but not all architects offer a ‘full-service’ where they will assist you get approval from council. Your architect’s assistance can be in the form of help with documentation to submit for approval. Your architect can also handle the paperwork and submit it to council on your behalf. For this reason, it is important that you fully understand the entire service that your architect will provide.

6. Will I be able to choose my own builder?

Although often overlooked, it is important that you know if you will be able to pick and use your own builder for the project. This can potentially have a huge bearing on the overall cost of the project. Most architects will have their preferred builders that they are affiliated with. This may seem convenient and efficient but it does not always translate into being economical for you. The best approach is to take your designs to several builders and get their quotations. This will help you get the best price for your project.

7. Will I be involved beyond the design phase?

It is always important to have a hands-on approach when it comes to your construction or renovation project. However, if you are not confident about dealing with various tradespeople then you do not necessarily have to be involved in the process. Your architect can take the reigns of your project and ensure that is runs smoothly and according to plan. Remember that handling your project will involve contract administration and project management. As such, managing a project can be quite complex and much more than some people would have bargained for.

8. What other services do you offer?

While some architects only provide design services, the vast majority offer a diverse range of services. In most cases you will not need all the services that an architect offers. But it is still vital that you understand the additional services that your architect offers. After all, one day you may find yourself needing these services.

9. How long will the project take?

A skilled, professional and experienced architect will accurately forecast and provide you with a timeframe of when the project will be completed. Ensure that you receive a detailed forecast highlighting the project timeframe from design through to completion.

Although not entirely conclusive, these questions are an excellent point with any potential architect. Any seasoned architect will have no reservations answering these questions.

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