8 Questions to Ask When Hiring an Architect

Choosing your architect is an important decision. After all, this person will listen to you, be an invaluable problem solver, and help make your ideas a reality.

You’ll likely interview 2 or 3 architects. To help you out, here are 8 questions to ask when hiring an architect.

#1. What Is Your Design Process?

Architects have an established path for each project. Since it varies a bit between project and firm, it’s helpful to understand how your chosen professional works.

At Mitchell Wall Architecture & Design, we follow 4 phases:

  1. design,
  2. interior design,
  3. technical documentation,
  4. and contract administration.

#2. What Is the Estimated Timeline for My Project?

Know when the architect can start your project and how long they estimate it’ll take to complete. At the same time, understand that meeting this timeline is a team effort. The architect can account for their time but not for delays. So, it’s essential for you to provide feedback in a timely manner.

#3. Can You Provide 3D Drawings?

Plans could be presented on paper in 2D or on a computer screen in 3D. Reading a 2D plan isn’t easy and may not give you an accurate representation of how the design will look. Architects can use software to create 3D images that can be rotated and viewed from different angles. If you have a preference, let the architect know. Also, see if they can make a VR walkthrough with a 3D model of your design.

#4. What Are the Biggest Challenges and Attractions of This Job?

During the initial interview, ask about the architect’s vision for your project. Do they foresee any problems with this project? What’s working now, and what could be improved? This will help make sure the architect, even with a beautiful portfolio and great references, can match their design to your taste and lifestyle.

Variety in a portfolio shows the architect is adept at listening to their clients and providing a variety of design styles. If everything in the portfolio looks the same and isn’t exactly what you are looking for, then be aware this architect might not be for you.

#5. Who Is My Main Point of Contact?

When working with a large firm, you’ll want to clarify who your main point of contact will be and who will be designing your project.

During the architectural design portion, you’ll work with the principal architect and project architect. When the project moves into design development, the project architect will be your main contact. Both can answer any questions that come up during construction. Make sure the team will be accessible to you and your contractors.

#6. Do You Stay Involved During the Construction Process?

Find out to what level the architect stays involved in the construction process. Once construction is underway, unforeseen complications could appear and lead to questions. Have this conversation up front, so you know what to expect.

#7. How Do You Charge?

Before signing a contract, have a firm understanding of the architect’s fees, how this is determined, and how and when you’ll be billed. Below are the main ways architects calculate their fees.

  • A percentage of construction costs – Percentage-based pricing is the most common, with fees typically between 5% and 20% of the total project cost. The percentage varies depending on the complexity of the job and the services provided.
  • Hourly – If hired on an hourly basis, typical fees are $150 to $250 an hour for a principal architect and $125 to $150 for a project manager.
  • The square footage – While this method is uncommon, you could pay anywhere from $2 to $15 per square foot for an architect.

#8. What Builders or Contractors Would You Recommend for My Project?

While the builder handles the actual construction, the contractor oversees the entire construction project. The architect, equipped with complete plans, can help you meet with interested builders and answer their questions.

Most architectural firms work with various builders, making them familiar with their strengths and weaknesses. They can recommend reliable builders and contractors in your area, but the choice is ultimately yours.

Talk With An Expert

Set yourself up for success by asking the right questions. Mitchell Wall Architecture & Design is here to answer your questions and bring your vision to life.

Our full-service firm perfectly tailors custom homes and buildings to fit unique lifestyles, and our 3D renders help clients visualize their projects. We are there every step of the way and can advocate for your needs from inception to move-in day. You decide how much or how little you need our assistance during construction, and let us know.

In the end, you’ll have a beautiful space on time and on budget.  Learn more or get started by contacting us today!


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