When you’re considering hiring an architect for your home or business project, it’s common to have concerns. How can you tell if the architect you’re getting ready to hire can do a great job with your project? Though being able to design the project is of vital importance, there are several other areas that are equally important to your project’s success. When searching for an architect, look for these three main traits common to all highly successful architects:
1. Ability to Communicate Well
Beyond simple day-to-day conversation, the ability to communicate well is vital to the design process. If you’re dealing with an architect who has poor communication skills, he or she may not be able to see where you’re coming from in terms of design and vision. If there’s a problem on the job site that requires changes to the design, it can be a real problem if the architect doesn’t understand or cannot communicate the changes that need to be made for the project to be successful.
An architect who has this skill down will ask you open-ended questions so they can get a real feel for what you need from the design. They’re able to recommend and effectively communicate changes that must be made to the design whether because of an issue on the job site or due to a change you’d like in the plans. Good communication skills means your vision for your home comes through in every detail.
2. Reasonable Flexibility
In architecture, not everything can be up for debate; if you demand that the second-floor joists be 2x4s spanning 20 feet, that’s not only unreasonable to the design, it’s downright dangerous as the boards wouldn’t be strong enough to function safely. But in areas where there is room for debate, your architect should be able to present multiple options or work with you to develop a functional plan for incorporating particular elements into the design.
If an architect is inflexible or isn’t willing to consider reasonable alternatives to their design, it could be that they haven’t had experience working with the type of project you’re putting together or that they have an overly-high opinion of their own design. You’re hiring an architect to build your custom home, not theirs, and the architect should be able to recognize this fact and work to make you happy where it’s possible.
3. Staying Up-To-Date on Industry Trends and Education
For the most part, architects who keep their licenses or credentials up to date are usually staying on top of new trends in the industry and are attending classes and seminars to broaden their knowledge in the field. For example, when the LEED construction certification process came to be in 2000 and became popular, architects began to realize that there would need to be changes to their design process to meet the growing demand for LEED-certified buildings. To make this happen, many architects across the country began looking at classes and LEED credentialing for their industry.
When an architect hasn’t taken classes or seminars over the years, not only does it mean they’re not up to date on changes in the industry, it also demonstrates that they have a certain inflexibility that may carry over to a dated design. Ask your architect about their continuing education.
Once you find an architect with these three main traits, it’s important to understand how you can help your architect design the best home or addition for your specific needs. Hiring an architect to work on your addition or renovate your home’s structure vastly improves the design process and ensures you are getting an improved home that is functional, aesthetically pleasing, and follows local building codes. Yet, the design process is more than just having an architect rely on their skills and knowledge to create the sketches. It also counts on you communicating your home dreams and desires. This will help the architect create the vision that will make you the happiest.
When you are working with an architect, take advantage of these 4 things you can do to help your architect do an exceptional job on your home design.
1. Have a few initial ideas about the design
To help the architect, it is ideal that you have a few design ideas and wishes in mind. They can take your vision and further refine it using their architectural experience and suggesting styles that will make your home look beautiful. If you have a hard time explaining the types of styles you like, you are always welcome to show photos, magazines, floor plans, and printouts of your ideas to the architect. Feel free to browse through the architect’s portfolio and point out the designs you like as well as the designs that you want to avoid for your home. Knowing both your likes and your dislikes allows the architect to move in the right direction for your project.
2. Clearly communicate about your budget
An architect doesn’t expect you to have a final budget amount set in stone. Yet they do need to understand a rough estimate of your financial resources that will be used for the project. Your budget will dictate the scale of the design, the materials that will be used, and the architectural strategies. In addition, an architect will suggest alternative methods and materials for your home design that you may not have considered that will help keep your on budget and thrill you with the design.
3. Ask questions about everything
Don’t be shy. You have to feel comfortable about the home addition, construction or renovation plan. You’re the one who will be living there, so you need to be happy. If there are details to the project that leave you scratching your head in puzzlement, ask questions. A big part of the architect’s job is to further explain the designs and plans so that you understand why things are done certain ways.
An architect is there to change and refine the ideas into a working project plan. Architects also provide information in regards to permits, zoning codes, contractors and interior design. They can work with you from start to finish on your new construction or renovation project.
4. Be flexible and trust the architect
An architect’s job is more than just taking your ideas and making them a part of your home design. They also have to consider the mechanical system aspects of the construction or renovation. This can include incorporating plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical work into the plans. In addition, an architect must always consider the structural integrity of the home when creating the plans.
At times, these things can clash with your ideas or force change to your original plans. Have an open mind about the design ideas and trust your architect. You will sometimes have to compromise looks for functionality and structural stability in order to have both a beautiful and safe home.
An architect seeks to please every client and turn the final plans into a home that you will love. Following the above tips can make the architect’s job easier, help you further understand what the job entails, and allow everybody to work in harmony toward making your perfect home. Help your architect do a great job with your addition, home construction or renovation designs as they turn your home dreams into reality.