Top 10 questions potential clients ask this Architect

questions faced by architects

                                                                                                                                                                                              image courtesy

1. How much will it cost to design an addition?

I would say 75% of potential clients call and ask this. Every job is unique so it is impossible to quote a fee without seeing the property and meeting the client. It is important for an Architect to visit the physical property to acquire an idea of the scope of services required to complete the project. It is also an opportunity to discuss the project with the potential client and discover how focused they are on what they want. After this initial visit I can determine a fee.

2. Do you work on small jobs?

The simple answer is yes! Whether it is as small as roof rafter damaged by a tree falling on it or a two foot addition to create a larger kitchen (I have done both of these), I have happily accepted these jobs. I enjoy meeting new people and helping them to solve their problems.

3. What is your design process?

It is typically a four step process:

1) Initial consult: to gain an understanding of the project.

2) Survey: measuring your home to generate accurate drawings to use as a base to create designs

3) Schematic Design/Design Development: this is the actual designing portion of determining the layout and sizes of spaces and what your home will look like on the outside. Some firms break this down into two separate phases however given the scope of services I combine them, streamlining the process.

4) Construction Documents: The production of the drawings your general contractor will use to secure a building permit and construct your project from.

4. What style of architecture do you do?

I am not bound by any “style” but if you had to pin me down I would say contextual, which to me means I want to work with physical properties of the surrounding architecture and compliment it whether that be heights, openings, angles, lines etc. I will use those items to influence the end product.

5. How long will it take to get a set of drawings?

That is a very tricky question! Some people know right up front exactly what they want and do not waiver in their commitment to a design. In these rare instances the design process is very quick however this is generally not the case. Once we start to look at spaces and options new thoughts are generated as the plan evolves. This can take a week, weeks or months depending on how often you change your mind. Obviously my goal is not to take more than a few weeks by discussing your desires up front and getting a solid handle on what you expect. After the design has been finalized the Construction Documents generally take 3 to 6 weeks depending on the scope of the project.

6. Will I be working directly with an Architect or some draftsman in your office?

I am a sole practitioner so you will only be working with me throughout the process. You will be getting over 30 years of architectural experience in your project as opposed to a large firm where your project may just be handed down to an intern or young professional.

7. I want to design a new kitchen can you help me?

Kitchens are very specialized and I would recommend you go to a kitchen designer; however that does not mean I cannot help you in other ways. If you are thinking of reconfiguring your floor plan by opening walls or moving the kitchen or adding on, this is where I can help discuss space planning and provide final documents to get your permits. So if it is more than just replacing cabinets give me a call.

8. How are you able to be so economical?

There are different methods of creating a set of construction documents to get your project built. I have found over the years that not everyone wants to spend 10% of the construction cost on architectural fees to get a full set of documents and specifications (this fee includes a very detailed set of documents which detail down to how many hinges each door should have as well as construction administration). This is why my business model is based on creating what is called a builder’s set which is a minimum set required to get you out of the ground. This takes some additional effort on the owner’s part to communicate with the Contractor as to what he shall be providing. This method does not sacrifice anything in the designing of your project. Each project is unique and treated as such taking as much time as needed to create your vision.

9. Will I have a say in my design?

Absolutely! I believe in a team approach. It’s your home and you know what works for you best. I will bring my expertise to the table by interpreting your thoughts into what I think makes the most sense and is aesthetically pleasing and hope that my experience is a valued asset in the process. But ultimately I will respect each client’s personal desires if they do not correspond with my thoughts.

10. When can you start?

After the initial consult and review of my proposal… I require a signed proposal along with a retainer. Then I set up a date to survey your home, typically within one week, in order to get started. Once the survey is completed I get to work on the initial designs for you to review. This characteristically initiates additional ideas or questions in designing your home.