Selecting an architect is important to the outcome of your project. We recommend talking to several architects before you make a final selection. The selection process does not have to be very complicated–talk to colleagues, business partners, friends or family who have worked with architects in your geographic area or your specific industry. You are looking for at least three architects to determine who is the most qualified and/or the most appropriate for your project. If you don’t come up with three from within your own network, contact your local chapter of the American Institute of Architects. www.aia.org
Once you have identified three architects, learn more about them by visiting their website or talking to people who may have worked with them in the past. Contact the architects directly to determine if their skill set is appropriate for your project. If geography allows, schedule a time to meet with the architect in person. The location of the meeting can vary by project, but in most cases, we find that meeting at the project site is the most valuable to the process as it allows you to explain what you are trying to accomplish.
Explain your goals and ask the architect questions–ask about how they might approach your project and if they have worked on similar projects; ask to review samples of their work, either in photographs or through a tour (if the facilities are open to the public); ask about their professional credentials and whether or not the architect is licensed; ask about what services will be provided and how the architect is compensated. At some point during the meeting, typically at the conclusion, the architect will offer to prepare a proposal for you to review and approve. The proposal does not include design work; rather it is an outline of what, when, and how the architect will complete the work. This will be the basis of your agreement with the architect if you select them.
Keep in mind, while you want to select the most qualified architect, you also want to select an architect with whom you are comfortable as you will be interacting frequently over the course of the design. Your architect serves as your advocate throughout your project; take the time to select an architect who will serve you properly.