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How to Hire an Architect by Nate Rapp

Nothing is more exciting than creating a new building. Whether it’s your home or a commercial project, nothing will affect the success of your project more than the right architect. The architect determines the design and function of a building as well as the emotional toll and financial costs involved in its construction. Finding your perfect match in an architect is not impossible and the following eight points can guide you along the way. Use these to help analyze the personality, design strategy and communication skills of your candidates. Your goal is to find the right architect for your project, for your budget and for you.


Finding an Architect

Like many other fields, word of mouth is the best way to look for an architect. Ask family, friends and professional colleagues for referrals. Is there a particular home you admire? A knock on the door can yield an introduction to your project’s potential architect. Professional organizations such as your city or county’s local architectural institutions are also great sources to find architects. General contractors, interior design studios and other trade-related personnel would also be able to furnish some referrals. Be sure to visit web sites of your candidates. Look at their previous work. Get a feel for their design style and language – is it about blending in the neighborhood, is it environmentally sound design, or is it about making a big statement? Then, start a conversation. Make an appointment for a consultation. Meeting face to face will help you decide if it is a fit.

An architect’s biggest success and largest obstacle

How will the architect approach your project? Let them know the most important aspects of your project and ask how they will be incorporated into a process. If you are doing a home remodel or an addition, start with what aspects of your home you currently like and ask how they can be improved. Typically, a remodel should try and blend seamlessly with the rest of the home. Ask how this will be achieved. Even though the architect might have an attractive portfolio and good references, you will still want to make sure their design process and approach is right for you and your project.

Signature Style: Who’s got it and do you want it?

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