What Questions to ask when Engaging an Architect…from an Architect’s Perspective.

Selecting an architect is an important decision. Most people interview 2 to 3 architects before making a decision. We’re all familiar with the basic questions to ask, such as to view references and portfolio examples – but in order to help you dig a little deeper, we’re here to give you an insider’s perspective as architects…on the important questions to ask when hiring an architect.

  1. How does the design process work?

The architectural design process is normally divided into 4 phases: programming, schematic design, design development and construction drawings. We all manage our timeline in varying ways, so it’s always best to have a clear understanding right from the start.

  1. What is the estimated timeline for the project?

Setting realistic timelines for architecture and construction is more important than ever for your project to run smoothly. Find out when we’re available to start on your project, and how long we estimate it will take to complete. It’s always important to understand that every project is a team effort and meeting the timeline is dependent on many factors and roles to play.

  1. Do you have experience working in this area?

Each city, town and even subdivision can have their own zoning and design guidelines. Permitting processes and the length of time needed to get a permit can vary greatly depending on the area. Certain subdivisions have strict design guidelines and new homes must be approved by a design review committee before being built. We are here to assist in wading through the process. A local architect is also equipped with knowledge on climatic, possible land restrictions and cultural responsibilities.

  1. How do you charge and manage the budget?

It’s very important to understand the fee structure before signing a contract. There are 4 main methods that we normally use to calculate our fees: time spent (hourly), stipulated sum, percentage of the cost of the work – or based on the project’s square footage. 

Don’t ever be afraid to ask questions about how we will manage the budget. Managing the budget is always a team effort, so find out what measures we will take and how we can best work together to be sure we stay within your allocated budget.

  1. Do you stay involved during the construction process?

Find out if, and to what level, your architect will stay involved during the construction process.  Depending on your needs, the architect will have varying degrees of participation while your project is being built. Here at RUBI Architects, we have a background and experience within the construction management phase to better support our clients and to stay close to the project, all the way through.

  1. Who is my main point of contact?

Throughout the architectural design portion of your project, you will work with an architect and project manager. We will be your main point of contact during programming and schematic design (SD). Once your project moves into design development (DD), your project manager becomes your main point of contact for the remainder of the design process. Both your architect and project manager will be available for any questions that might come up during construction. It is important to make sure that your team will be accessible not only to you, but to your contractors. 

  1. Do you have reputable builders and contractors to recommend for the project?

An architect’s recommendation can be particularly valuable in narrowing your search, to save on stress and added expenses and time. We work with a variety of builders, and we’re familiar with their strengths and weaknesses and we take any recommendations we make very seriously. 

In closing, clear and consistent communication is essential to the success of every project. It’s important to feel comfortable to ask the questions…and to be answered in a manner to build understanding, as architecture is a collaborative relationship from start to finish. Prioritising the communication channels through to the completion of our projects is a responsibility of the highest importance for our team at RUBI Architects.

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