Top 10 to Questions to ask an architect before you collobrate with them
1. What is your firm’s design philosophy?
Everyother architect's thinks he/she is doing phenominal work in architecture. But you should know what is their design inspirations, what they love, how they work.. and how do you percieve it. Philosophy can not be read on paper; architect needs to practice it in their work.. please cross verify their work and their words.. do they match.. and see how open they are to recieve your ideas.
2. Who will be designing my project? Who will be my everyday contact?
Yes. you should know who designs your project in detail. In many small firms the principal architects designs the project. But in a larger offices, the head only suprvises and other architects who employed will design it for you. The same person may not be their till the end of your project which will impact on your initial communications to later the construction stage. Be open to ask this question to the person you interact in architect's office
3. How Do You Charge?
Yes, you are going to pay a share of the project cost as an architect's fee. You should know the process / method of their charges, schedule of the payments. Most architects charge based on the project cost and percentage of it as their fee (like 3 to 18%) or lumpsum amount. In any cases you should know the services they will provide for their charges. Less percentage doesn't mean cheaper or better; only that they may limit their services based on scale of the project. No one will work for free in these days or any time in future; so don't expect or accept the lowest one is as a better proposal. Think twice or even twice after that.
4. How much time do I need to commit, and when?
Ask the architect how much time you need to commit for your project and no. of meetings and tentative schedule for it. Your project needs your time too know it in advance and plan for it so that you don't have to make your decisions in a hurry.
What's your fee structure and what can I expect in costs?
What are the important issues, considerations, and challenges of my project?
What will you show along the way to explain the project?
How long do you estimate the design process will take for our project?
How can we reduce the environmental impact?
What do you mean by Eco-Friendly/ Sustainable building?
Can You Provide Three-Dimensional Drawings?
Have you worked before on projects similar to ours?
What sets your firm apart from other architects with similar experience?
What is your attitude to sustainable (green) design and how do you think it applies to my project?
What is the design process? Can you outline the steps for me?