How to get an architect to say yes to your home addition projectEveryone has their own reasons for hiring an architect. Perhaps it’s because they want to trust a licensed professional’s expertise or there are rules in their town that require professional drawings of the project. Maybe they simply adore a certain portfolio, or want their home to stand out from the rest. Of course, once the right architect is selected, there is still the hurdle of pitching the project in hopes they will take the job.

So, what can you do to get an architect to say “yes”?

Know What You Want, Then Be Willing To Compromise

Having a solid idea of what you want gives a great foundation when working with an architect. Take the time to highlight specific features you would like. If you have any references, such as photos or sketches, share them during the negotiation.

While brainstorming what you want for your addition, consider how you plan for the new space to be used. (An indoor basketball court in your new “man cave” is nice, but only if you have a lot of square footage to spare.) This is a change that is going to last, one that effects your property value, so give it careful thought.

Once you have a general idea of what you want, be prepared to compromise. The architect may have a more efficient, aesthetic, or overall beneficial idea of how to make the addition work for you. They may see features you may like as being detracting, or maybe even detrimental, to the overall structure of the home or just a mistake considering your budget and your current house. A professional will try to accommodate your plans, and you in turn should take their ideas and concerns into account. The plan the architect comes up with might even be better than you thought!

Budget Your Money, And Time, Beforehand

Home additions take time to be done right. An architect makes sure all of their plans are perfect, all materials are accounted for, and all permits are acquired before work even begins. Prep work like this may seem aggravating at first, but in the long run it will actually save time, and money.

That being said, be prepared to set aside a lot of time to get the project done. Most architects will put together a timeline of how long a project could last, but it’s wise to plan your own time a little longer in case something goes awry. (Bad weather, for example, can impede large construction.) Likewise, your architect’s schedule may place the time they can begin your project later than you expected. This is another facet where flexibility comes handy.

This brings us to finances. Clients and architects generally agree on a basis for compensation during project negotiations. Depending on the architect and type of project, compensation could include professional fees plus expenses (such as contractors insurance), stipulated sums for an architect’s personnel, or reimbursable expenses (such as travel, cost of documents, or overtime). Most of these costs will be discussed during your project negotiation process.

Clear Communication Is Key

Your relationship with your architect is a professional one. As with most professional relationships, one of the first things to do is establish clear communication lines. You wouldn’t want your boss calling at 3AM on a Saturday to tell you what you should do next Monday afternoon, and neither does your architect.

Define appropriate communication methods and times early on. If there are certain days or times that you are unavailable, make this clear from the beginning. Take note of your architect’s preferences as well and abide by them. Agree on a set of standards for “emergency contact”; what qualifies and an emergency and what number to call.

Following these simple rules will show your architect that you are prepared for the project at hand. By demonstrating that you are responsible, knowledgeable, and flexible, your architect will be more willing to make your new home addition a reality.


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