How to Select an Architect

Before you meet with an architect:

1. Carefully assess your needs:

a. Approximate size and budget,

b. Style preferences,

c. Emotional requirements for the house. (Why are you building?)

d. Emotional requirements for the working relationship.  (What type of personality will you work with best?)

2. Commit to a written list (Program) including, at least:

a. Detailed room requirements (think furniture and use not size),

b. Magazine clippings and photos (identify what you like in the picture),

c. Survey, tree and topographical survey or plat if available.

3. Create a list of questions you’d like to ask (keep it brief), such as:

a. Who in the firm will we be working with,

b. What is the “chain of command” from beginning (sketches) until the end (contract administration),

c. What is your fee,

d. Why should we use you to design our house?

4. Create a list of potential architects to interview.  Potential candidates might be found by checking with:

a. Friends,

b. Owners of homes you admire,

c. The internet.

5. Set appointments with no more than your top 3.

The Interview:

1. What to show the architect:

a. Your program,

b. Your pictures,

c. Your site survey or plat.

2. What to look for:

a. Quality of past work,

b. Relevance of past work,

c. Probability that this architect will understand and meet your needs.

3. What to ask:

a. Fees (they’ll vary, so make sure you can make an “apples to apples” comparison),

b. Time (how long will the design process take),

c. Availability,

d. Interest.

How to get the most out of the Process:

1. Decide on your criteria (how do you rank talent, chemistry and fee?),

2. Choose carefully (the best builder in the world won’t fix a poor design and a good design is wasted if you chose a builder who won’t follow the the plans),

3. Identify design problems, don’t solve them (that’s the architect’s job),

4. Be flexible but expect a clear explanation from the architect for everything.


About More Than Architects

I’m Rick Clanton. Michael Ruegamer and I are architects and the principals of Group 3 Design on Hilton Head Island, SC. We provide architecture and interior design services for homes in the US and the Caribbean Islands.
This entry was posted in architecture, home design. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to How to Select an Architect

  1. Pingback: Finding and Architect « Longbrake Living

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s