Are you planning to build a fair-sized dream house but you are not sure what to do? Are you concerned about your home planning not turning out as you’ll hope? Do you want to hire someone professional who knows what he or she is doing?
For the average homeowner, architects are overbearing designers, and do not fully understand the role of an architect. An architect’s role involves a lot more than just drawing out ideas on paper or slapping a bunch of colorful lines on the computer drafting program. Architecture is virtually an art, although not in painting or sculpture, but in expressing and bringing the intricacies of building construction to life. With home design it is no different. While some geographical zones and municipalities do not require the services of an architect for home design, it may be worthwhile to research and seek advice before consulting the phone book first.
1. Search Professional Associations Or Institutions.
Homeowners overlook this many times. First and foremost, always check with an architectural association or institution in your area. There, you could check if the architect in question is still a member or the status of membership. These self-governing bodies usually belong to larger statutes that keep records to make sure all members are in good standing in the public interest. Plus architects must be a member to practice within a given jurisdiction.
2. Dig Up Their Past Projects.
A reputable practicing architect will compile a list of successful and projects. When you check the association, they usually keep records of the architects projects. If you want find out any projects designed by architects in your neighborhood, you may also visit your municipality for any of their records and even visit their acclaimed projects.
3. Sketch Up Your Plan Early.
To most homeowners, this step is a waste of time, but it helps enhance the design stage. Take the time to draw rough sketches on how you want your home to look like, no matter how long it takes. Preliminary planning helps the architect get a picture of how you want your home built and compare to his own portfolio. The architect can almost at a glance measure the feasibility of the project and what zoning and development by-laws may be affected.
4. Ask The Builder.
Just as hiring an architect, hiring a good contractor makes a difference when building a custom designed home. A good contractor normally performs in tandem with an architect meaning they have worked together on many past projects and have a good construction and professional team assembled.
5. Downsize Experience.
After years of experience in large projects, most architects like to downscale before they retire just to stay updated in their field. These architects are usually the best to hire, as they are able to take on any project they face, and willing to do the research for you.
6. Ask For A Sample Contract.
Varying architects and their respective firms have their own standard methods of contracting. It is wise to check out what kind of contracts they normally execute before making a full commitment to hiring. Keep a look-out for all clauses and conditions that may affect you during the building phase.
7. On The Job Coordination.
Find out how often the architect is involved in site visits. This is a sign of a good architect as viewing his own projects on site is even more important than just communicating paper prints. For larger homes, other professionals such as structural, mechanical, and electrical engineers are required to submit documents outlining their duties. In this case, normally the architect will be assigned as the registered coordinating professional, and keep a keen eye on the events on site which is a bonus because that provides assurance the home is being built according to plan. Even more so, the architect shall be present whenever other coordinated inspections are taking place to keep records ton the job.
8. Find Out The Costs Of Entire Project.
A practicing architect shall fully understand the construction by-laws. Sometimes by-laws in some municipalities can be vague, and the architect may try the neat tactic to get around the by-law, which is understandable to improve and promote unique design. But drawings shall be compliant as much as possible. Be aware of architects that purposely submit drawings that do not fully comply. As a result, you’ll require their design services over and over again, and will end up charging you more than the originally quoted price. Make sure to get full price breakdown to reflect your budget, including change orders and revision fees, in the quote up front to avoid surprise hidden costs later.
9. Get feedback from those who recently worked with an architect
They’ll be able to offer you some valuable information such as the problems they may have had to deal with and the solutions they found or the way they approached these challenges. Also, any other kind of advice is welcome at this point. They’ll also be able to tell you a few criteria they followed when hiring the architect and if they would do anything differently the second time around.
10. Know what to ask during an interview
When you’re interviewing an architect which you may or may not be working with in the future, you need to be prepared with a set of questions. For example, you should ask how he or she would approach the project and whether there are any visible challenges at that point. Also, you need to ask about the fees and the total cost or at least for some kind of estimation. The duration of the whole project could also be estimated at this point. And don’t hesitate to ask for examples of similar projects.
11. Communication is the key to success
Communication is extremely important when working with an architect. Poor communication can lead to disputes and your home might suffer from such an approach. Make sure you establish a budget from the start and that this detail and the architect’s responsibilities are specified in a contract. Also, you have some responsibilities as well. So don’t change your mind mid-construction and make sure you communicate your vision clearly. You can even make a scrap book or offer the architect clippings from magazines or photos.
12 .When not to hire the architect
Not everyone gets along well. So look for signs of incompatibility right from the start. If the architect you’re interviewing or you’re planning to work with doesn’t listen to your opinions or suggestions and is set on his own ideas then you might want to look for someone else to handle your project. Other signs that an architect is not the right one for you can be the fact that they don’t make any suggestions or don’t ask questions.
13. What to do when you’ve hired the wrong person
So you’ve hired a bad architect. It happens. The fact that you’ve realized this is a good sign. But now you have to pay them for their time and move on. Don’t hesitate to put an end to the collaboration thinking that things might get better. This is not the way it should be so you’d best start looking for someone who you get along with.