Architects can assist with much of what has to happen prior to actual construction starts out. Unless you have a lot of time on your hands, you are generally better off having the architect attend to site studies and zoning approvals.
Be ready to look beyond what is present. Unlike several of us, architects think in the long term. Your present problem could be that you have a household with two bedrooms, one of which you use as a home office, and a baby coming soon. An architect will be concerned not only in this information, but also in your estimate as to whether you’ll still be living in your house a decade from now.
It’s a fine idea to visit at the least 3 and maybe as many as 5 architectural firms to look at portfolio examples of finished projects that are alike in scope and price to yours. A lot of architects can also set up for an onsite visit to their finished projects. Such visits could be helpful if you have problem interpreting two-dimensional photos and drawings into three-dimensional world.
Ask the architects to depict some of their favorite projects. This would give you a rough idea of their design philosophy. Also inquire regarding the training and background of the firm’s staff. Most cities or states demand that a practicing architect be a graduate of among the schools of architecture commissioned by your country. In the United States, it is the National Architectural Accrediting Board, which is the lone agency authorized to recognize U.S. professional degree programs in architecture. All states need an internship and a passing grade on the Architect Registration Examination, managed by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, prior to licensure.
Each architectural firm extends a unique mix of skills and interests. You’re searching for one that not only fits your project, but also possess a work style with which you’ll be comfortable. Ask how the architects will set about your project. How frequently will you meet with them? How do they decide and set priorities? What other professional people, in and out of the firm, will they include and at what points in the project?
About 30% of the more or less thousands of architects in practice are self-employed. Several firms have fewer than five members— not a big number to handle the amount of detail that is part of the design procedure. Nevertheless, unless your design project is rather complex, a good small firm can do a perfect job and perhaps give you more personalized attention and time.
Does the architect appear enthusiastic about the opportunity to work on your project? Lack of enthusiasm can readily translate into missed deadlines and a less than exciting constructing process for you.
When you inquire about cost proposals, be sure you provide each firm with the equal information, in the same detail, so that you can truly compare the figures.
Architects can give numerous services. A package of more common services might include readying of a preliminary design (called a schematic); preparation of a final design (this is typically the end product of several iterations and much consultation with the client); help in determining and negotiating with a general contractor; preparation of documents, such as building permits and variance approvals to be utilized by the general contractor; and oversight of the building process to make certain that it follows the design plans.
Architects often serve as mediators in the disputes that can happen between client and contractor throughout the construction process.