When you’re considering hiring an architect, you may be worried about whether you’re making a good choice or not. We’ve all seen architecture that is worthy of great praise for its lofty design and amazing thoughtfulness, but we’ve also seen poorly-designed structures that have problems throughout their lifespan and fail to work well for the building’s occupants. How do you figure out whether you’re hiring a good architect or a bad one? Here are some things to look for in a great architect and signs that an architect should be avoided.
Things to Look For in a Good Architect
- Ask around. If you have family or friends who have recently done some building, ask them about their architect. If they’re happy with the work that was done and you like their style, it’s probably worth your while to talk to the architect. Keep in mind that many people, when asked about their building process, may lament about time delays in the building process or that the designer couldn’t meet completely unreasonable demands (such as a 50′ pool in a 40′ backyard). Don’t let this affect your choice of architect – they’re the ones who plan the structure, not who build it, and have to work within the constraints of the project.
- Look at their website. An architect’s website is a great place to take a look at what they’ve done in the past. A good website will include a portfolio of the work they’ve done in the past, the kind of services they offer and possibly some testimonials from past clients. If you love what they have done before, you’ll probably like what they can do for your project.
- Ask if they’re a member of an architectural trade organization. Most architects are members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Most architectural organizations have certain requirements for their members, so finding out which groups the architect is a member of will give you a point of contact within the professional community.
- Find out where they went to school. Most architects are more than happy to provide their educational credentials, as well as any additional education or related certifications they’ve picked up in the meantime.
Signs Your Architect May be a Bad One
- They won’t provide references or only a couple references. If the architect does good work, they should be happy to provide you with good references. An architect who won’t do that may have a history of shoddy work.
- The architect doesn’t have a website. If an architect doesn’t have a website in this day and age, you have to question how serious they are about their business.
- They’re not members in any trade organizations or claim it doesn’t matter that they’re not members. A bad architect may not be a member of a trade organization because he’s had his membership canceled due to complaints or not meeting the basic requirements of membership.
- The architect isn’t willing to talk about the school they graduated from. Most people are happy to tell you about their education, unless they have something to hide. If the architect wavers on the topic or try to work their way around the subject, you may want to look someplace else. They may not have finished their program or have worked with an unaccredited school that didn’t give them the education they needed.
If you’re ready to start looking at architects, keep these hints in mind to ensure you have a good experience. If you still have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us. We’re always happy to help you find the perfect fit for your project.