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Working With Architects


Residential Architects > Hiring an Architect • Glossary

architect reviewing plans with client So you've decided to work with an architect.  Excellent!  The first thing you'll need to do is meet with your potential architect in person.  Meeting your architect in person will ensure that you have good chemistry, and will also allow you to see some of the architect's past work.  You should leave the meeting with a good idea of whether you and the architect will have a good working relationship.

First of all, ask the architect whether he or she will be charging you a fee for the initial meeting.  While some architects do charge a fee for that first meeting, many others do not.  You can meet with the architect at your home or at his office.  If you choose to meet with the architect at your home, be sure to ask him to bring along some samples of past work.

This first meeting is the ideal time to ask plenty of questions.  If you ask a question but don't understand the answer, don't be afraid to ask the architect for some clarification.  The architect you choose to work with should have no problem listening to and responding to your questions.  After all, you will have plenty throughout the project!

In addition to looking at past design work to ensure that the architect's style matches your own, you should ask questions like:  Why are you different from other architects?  Does my project interest you?  How will you determine my needs and goals?  What are some of the project's challenges and how do you foresee dealing with them?  How do you organize the design process, and what will I see along the way?

If you like the architect, it's time to discuss fees.  Find out what the fee for the project is, and whether, if the project changes, those fees will be adjusted.  You'll also want to find out whether the architect will revise the design if it exceeds contractor budget, and whether or not a fee will be charged for that.

The final step in hiring an architect is to check his references.  Ask your architect for the names of several people he has recently worked for.  People love talking about their home projects, so in most cases you'll have no trouble getting people to open up about their experiences.

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Hiring an Architect - Choosing an Architect