If the Shoe Fits
Trying to find the right architect is similar to shopping for a really nice pair of shoes. You have to know the style you want, what kind of elements the shoes will face and how much use those shoes will be getting in their lifespan. You search tirelessly for a good brand that makes you comfortable while also feeling luxurious. The thought process is exactly the same when homeowners are in search of an architect.
In order to find the right fit, hiring an architect involves research and careful evaluation. To help ensure the success of your project, it is important to select an architect that is a good fit for you. You’ll be working with this person for an extended period of time. It’s important that you feel comfortable with the architect and trust them with major decisions and that the architect feels the same working with you.
Create A Short List of Candidates
Custom residential architecture is a reputation-driven business. The best way to identify potential candidates is to ask for recommendations from family, friends or trusted acquaintances that might have recently gone through the construction or renovation process. You can also contact the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to request contact information for architects in your area who offer custom residential design.
Interview Potential Candidates
After identifying potential candidates, it’s time to conduct interviews. To do this, you’ll need to know what to look for in an architect. First, review the qualifications and experience of the architects on your shortlist. You may also contact their references in order to get a feel of the architect’s style and gain insight into another homeowner’s experience working with the candidate.
During your interviews, don’t be afraid to be specific and ask certain questions such as these:
In the end, architects want you to be their perfect fit just as much as you want them to be yours. They understand and appreciate the detailed questions you have for them because it shows you as a homeowner care deeply about your home and what you expect from them upfront.
Discuss the fee schedule with potential candidates upfront so you know what you can expect initially and as the job progresses. In general, architects use three basic methods to determine their fees:
The owner/architect contract
Upon selecting an architect to work with, it is advisable to develop a contract that defines the expectations and duties of the architect and the homeowner, as well as detailing the fee arrangement. Contracts are available through the AIA. It is also recommended to use an equivalent contract with your contractor that outlines a compatible set of expectations and responsibilities to protect yourself throughout construction. Many architects and contractors have their own contracts, but it is recommended to use documents developed by the AIA to guide your construction-related agreements.
The time has finally come for you to make a decision. Take all of your research and spend some time with it. Think of whom you had the best connection with and whom you would trust with your future home or renovation.
Once you have decided, give your architect a ring and get ready, the journey for your Forever Home has just begun.
© 2017 Kevin Harris, Architect, LLC
Kevin Harris, Architect, LLC designs custom homes to satisfy, support and sustain our client’s best life, to be an authentic expression of their site, lifestyle and culture, while remaining rooted in history and expressive of the times. For more information on Kevin or the firm go to www.kevinharrisarchitect.com.