Preparation for Interviewing an Architect and Initial Process
When interviewing an architect to determine whether he or she is the one for your project, an owner must be prepared to discuss the nature, scope, and special requirements of the proposed project. Of course, a timetable for construction, availability of the proposed site, and ﬁ nancing arrangements should also be addressed.
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To assist in helping prospective clients to better understand the role of client and architect during this initial interview, the AIA prepared a list of 20 questions to ask during the interview process:
1. What are the important issues the architect sees in the program you have described, and what challenges does it present?
2. How will the architect approach this project?
3. How will the architect extract enough information from the owner’s team to meet the requirements and their goals?
4. How will the architect establish priorities and make decisions, particularly when it comes to the owner’s budget?
5. Who from the architect’s ﬁ rm will be dealing with the owner directly, and will this person remain during design and into construction?
6. Does the architect appear to be very interested in this project, or does the owner detect an attitude of indifference?
7. How busy is the architect? If he or she is too busy at the time the owner wishes to commence design, will this impact the quality and/or delivery of the design?
8. If prior interviews have been conducted with other ﬁ rms, what sets this ﬁ rm apart from the others?
9. How does the architect establish fees, and what method does he or she sug-gest for this project?
10. What would the architect expect the actual fee could be by using one or more of the preceding methods?
11. Has the architect explained the steps in the design process?
12. How would the architect organize this process?
13. What does the architect expect you, the owner, to provide?
14. What is the architect’s design philosophy? Can you see some projects for a similar use that they recently completed?
15. What is the architect’s experience and track record of cost estimating? Have previous estimates previously followed the results of the contractor’s bids?
16. What will the architect provide in the way of sketches, drawings, models, and renderings along the way to deﬁ ne the project?
17. If the scope of the projects changes, will there be additional fees? What constitutes a change requiring additional fees, and what would these fees be?
18. What services can the architect provide during construction?
19. How long does the architect expect the design and construction phases to take?
20. Can the architect provide a list of past clients with projects similar in function to the one now being proposed?
Once the selection of an architectural ﬁ rm has been made, the owner must now decide what services will be required of the design team, and this depends on a number of variables, such as the number and types of other design consultants on the ﬁ rm’s staff.
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