Steps to Finding an Architect
Each architect has an individual style, approach to design, and method of work. So, it is important to find an architect who is compatible with your style and needs. Build a list of possibilities. Search the Member Firm Directory to find local architects.
Find out who has designed some projects in your community that you like. Get recommendations from friends, relatives, and acquaintances that have worked with architects. Check to see if the architect is a member of The American Institute of Architects (AIA). Membership in the AIA means that the architect subscribes to a high professional purpose to advance standards of practice and service to society. This includes having a Code of Ethics and access to a variety of professional and technical resources.
Call each firm on your short list.
Describe your project and ask if they are available. If so, request literature that outlines the firm’s qualifications and experience. If the office is unable to handle your project, ask if they can recommend another firm.
Interview each firm.
Interviewing a firm gives you a chance to meet the people who will design your project and to learn if the chemistry between you is right. You may be working with your architect for a long time, so look for someone with whom you feel comfortable. Allow at least an hour for the interview, preferably at the architect’s office where you can see where the work will be done. Some architects charge for the interview; ask if there is a fee.
How busy is the firm?
Does it have the capacity to take on your work?
Who will handle the job?
Insist on meeting the person who will actually design your project.
Talk about the project budget and discuss the range of fees.
View more questions to ask your architect.
Before you select an architect…
Ask to be taken to at least one completed project. Also, ask for references from past clients. These are invaluable. In addition, obtain an Architect’s Qualification Statement (B305) from your local AIA chapter. This standardized document may be used to verify an architect’s credentials and other information prior to selecting an architect for a project.
Making the final cut…
Unlike buying a new car or new appliance, you cannot see the product and test it out. The architect provides a professional service, not a product. The right architect will be the one who can provide the judgment, technical expertise, and creative skills—at a reasonable cost—to help you realize a project that fits your practical needs as well as your dreams.