Hiring an Architect

February 13, 2009

If your dream home project has been in your head for a long time and now you are ready to move on it, the first thing you have to do is find an architect or designer who will put the plans together. Many have a difficult time finding the right person and knowing how to approach them. This process can be easier than you think if you prepare yourself with the right information.

Before going out to interview potential architect/designers, prepare yourself with the following information. This will allow you to better communicate the direction you want the designer to take.

  • Size, Appearance and Function
    What square footage are you looking for? Indicate the style of design you prefer such as, Victorian, contemporary, ranch style or territorial. What will be the function of the space you are going to create? Do you entertain a lot? Does your life style call for a formal dining room? Do you need customized space like a hobby room or computer/media room? Do you have art pieces that need room to display?
  • Your Budget
    Much of the design parameters will be governed by how much money you are planning to spend. Keep in mind that kitchens and bathrooms are considerably more expensive than other rooms. High-end fixtures, flooring and counter tops are also budget busters for many. Try to give the architect a range of costs you feel would be acceptable and within your means. It is useless to have a project design that is beyond your ability to fund the building costs.
  • Materials
    Be ready to explain your preferences in building materials. Some people want to use a lot of stone and brick. Others cannot live without wood flooring. Think about what materials you want in your surroundings and be ready to relate that information to whoever you are interviewing.
  • Time Frame
    When do you want to start and when do you expect the work to be finished? You need to know how quickly the design work can start and any time constraints you might have driven by business obligations, children’s school year or vacation plans.

Armed with this information, you will be able to answer questions posed to you and provide answers that will be needed for the architect to suggest a good design and realistic fees for the work. Be mindful that you will be spending a considerable amount of time with this person, so be sure they are easy to talk to and have an understanding of your needs and dreams.

Before committing to anyone in your selection process, be sure to ask the following questions:

  • How long have you been in business?     
  • Does your fee include job visits? If so, how many?
  • Is your firm fully insured?
  • How many people do you employ?
  • Do you have a valid license?
  • Do you use consultants? Who are they and how are they paid?
  • Can you provide me with references?
  • May I see some projects you have completed similar to mine?
  • What do you estimate the costs of my project to be?

With these answers you will now be comfortable and confident with who ever you choose to do the design work.

After 30 years experience in custom home building, Bill Trimble is offering valuable information for the owner-builder as well as those proceeding with a licensed contractor. Information can be found in his book Screw It! I’ll Be My Own Contractor. Go to http://www.maricopapublishing.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=William_Trimble

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