When you’re ready to have an architect create the blueprints for your home, you’ve likely got big questions about how to find the right one for you. Interviewing potential architects will help you get a feel for what it is like to interact with the architectural company and decide whether moving forward is a good fit. Here are some vital questions to ask when interviewing an architect.
What Questions Should I Ask A Potential Architect?
What Awards Have You Won? What Professional Affiliations Do You Have?
There are many prestigious awards Toronto architects may win. Awards from the “Best of Canada” design competition, the Ontario Association of Architects People’s Choice Award, NOW Magazine’s Toronto’s Best Design Firm Reader’s Choice, the Canadian Architect Award of Excellence, and more signal that a potential architect does exemplary work. Residential architects in Toronto must belong to the Ontario Architects Association and usually have other professional affiliations to stay current on industry knowledge and uphold professional standards.
Where Can I View Examples of Your Work?
Your architect should have a deep portfolio of past work to demonstrate their style and prove their skill. Examine their web page for a glimpse at their showcase projects, and don’t be afraid to ask for more examples. Look for projects like the one you have in mind and make notes of elements that catch your eye.
What is Your Process?
A clearly delineated process is vital to good communication and collaboration. Your architect should be able to explain their process and help you understand what to expect from them, what’s needed from you, and your shared goals at every step of your work together.
What Will I Receive?
Not every architect produces the same quality or number of documents as a finished product. Often, asking about what’s included in your final set of plans from your architect will help you identify the sub-par plans budget or generic designers will produce. Beware of the 5-page package that does not provide enough information for a builder to execute your project or estimate its cost. Detailed architectural plans can be 50 pages or more and involve many work hours from your dedicated team.
Who is the Point of Contact for Our Work Together? Who is on the Team?
Meeting your team is vital for establishing a good fit. Be sure to meet with the person who will be your primary point of contact. Finding out about the cadence and method of communication will help you ensure you’ve got the right architect. Need up-to-the-minute updates? Ensure you’ve picked a firm that highlights their project management. Hoping for weekly emails, need old-school phone chats, or face-to-face problem-solving sessions? Find out how your architect plans to communicate.
What Contractors and Construction Professionals Do You Recommend (and Avoid)?
An established architect is connected to community construction professionals. Even with perfect planning, collaboration between your architect and builder is required before and during your construction project. Choosing a builder your architect recommends or vice versa, provided you do your homework, is a good idea to set your project up to benefit from a team that works well together. Finding out whom a local architect doesn't recommend might also save you trouble. A budget architect may tell you that collaboration with your contractor is a separate price or not possible.
What Concerns and Potential Problems Do You See in My Proposed Project?
Many people are hesitant to mention any potential issue they spot if you haven’t committed to working together yet. Giving your architect a platform to voice any concerns is a good idea. They are experts in the architectural requirements of your area and project. Architects aren’t engineers. Architects are high-trained professionals who focus on creating attractive structures with intentional light, flow, and function. Knowing this early is vital if your design requires an engineer due to your location or vision. Discussing potential problems during your first meeting makes your project better by identifying and addressing roadblocks early. It shows you what it will be like to problem-solve together.
How Do You Charge For Services?
There are a few ways that Architects create a fee proposal Some charge an hourly rate based on the time they work on your project. Others establish a flat fee upfront. Some architects derive their final rate from a percentage of the cost of the build. Your best bet will depend on your preferences, situation, and how much involvement you expect to require from your architect after your project is underway. (Hint: It will almost always be more than you expect.) Understanding how fees are calculated, what’s included, and what’s extra will help you compare your options on a more equal playing field.
What Suggestions Do You Have for My Project?
Your architect may have awesome ideas you haven’t considered. Inviting their insight is a great way to get a small taste of what collaborating with them will be like and result in an even more perfect home than you’ve dreamed up.
SevernWoods has partnered with many fantastic Toronto architectural firms. As a custom home builder, we have a vested interest in matching potential clients to the perfect architect for their projects. We’ll be the ones making it real.