To begin the selection process, start by building a list of architects you may want to consider. You could open up the Yellow Pages, but we would suggest you start by asking family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors for references. Searching on the Internet is another great way to familiarize yourself with local architects because you can quickly get an idea of their experience and usually see projects they have completed. The local American Institute of Architects (AIA) Chapter will also provide listings for many local architects. Keep in mind that there are many good licensed architects that choose not to be members of the AIA.
After selecting a few architects, you'll want to call them to see if they are interested and available to take on your project. Set up a time to discuss your project as well as see examples of the firm's previous work. You may choose to set up this interview at the location of your project, or at the architect's office. Usually there is no charge for the interview, but you may want to inquire about any costs when setting up the appointment. Allow for approximately one to one and half hours for each interview.
During the interview ask questions. You'll want to ask questions not only related to the practical aspects of getting your job done, but also questions about design and philosophy. Does the firm have the capacity to take on your job? Who will actually be doing the design work and drawings? Talk about your budget and the range of fees you can expect to pay. How does the firm charge for its services? How will they approach the design of your project? What is the firm's philosophy? Discuss specific issues that may be of concern to you, such as air quality, accessibility, or sustainable design (sometimes called "green design"). Ask what experience the firm has with your specific issues. Don't hesitate to request examples of drawings that represent the various phases of services. Remember that there is no concrete standard for the number or quality of drawings and documents you should receive for each phase. Even a novice will be able to see different levels of quality and detail. We always recommend comparing drawings and documents when fee becomes the sole deciding factor.
If during the interview you don't understand something, ask for clarifications. A good architect will explain clearly what he or she meant. If you feel intimidated by the architect, or you don't understand the answer, perhaps he or she is not the architect for you. We believe that an interview process is a 50/50 proposition. 50% of the time the architect should be listening to the owner, and 50% of the time the owner should be listening to the architect.
Choosing the right architect can be difficult. Unlike buying an automobile, which you can test drive, you won't be able to see the final product until the end. The right architect will possess a balance of good technical knowledge, strong design skills and will have the ability to communicate in a clear, open and honest fashion.
If you'd like to set up a time to discuss your project with us, give us a call at (206) 545-9100, or send us an email.
Call us! 206-545-9100
We believe that an interview process is a 50/50 proposition. 50% of the time the architect should be listening to the owner, and 50% of the time the owner should be listening to the architect.