4 Tips for Choosing a Commercial Architect

Posted by Caitlin On September 2014

Thanks to the internet, it’s easier to find an architect than ever, whether you use it to ask your friends or to conduct research on your list of candidates. But technology is no replacement for direct communication, and many professionals are finding that all too often, it’s necessary to get to know a commercial architect before committing to do business together.

If you’re trying to find the perfect architect for your upcoming project, there are a few things you should keep in mind during your search. By utilizing the resources available to you, you’ll ensure your project goes smoothly.

Use Online Resources

A basic Google search can help you locate information on an architect, including complaints and Better Business Bureau ratings. Sites like Angie’s List are also a great resource for getting firsthand accounts of some of the experiences others have had in working with an architectural firm. This research can give you a basic list of some of the best architects in your area that you can use as a starting point. The American Institute of Architects is a great resource for finding member architects in your area.

Your research should extend beyond searching for information about firms in your area. Many architects maintain an online work portfolio that is useful for determining others in town who have worked with them. While browsing this portfolio, you’ll likely realize you have a contact at one or more of those companies who can give you inside information on that architect’s job performance.

Ask Others in Your Industry

Even with all the online resources available to you, it’s always worthwhile to talk with others in your industry about who they or their colleagues may have worked with in the past, and about how the experience was. Did the firm listen well? Were they experts in the building type? Did the firm provide a high level of service? These qualities, along with things like how invested a firm is in making long term relationships, are important qualities to have when navigating a team of professionals, builders and officials toward a successful project outcome. It is usually a good sign when an architectural firm has many long-standing, repeat clients. Other people in your line of business will likely know who those firms are and point you in the right direction.

Look for a Connection

After you’ve narrowed down your list of candidates, meet individually with each of your top choices. The goal of this meeting isn’t simply to review the architect’s qualifications and abilities. You’re also looking for a work-style fit, since the success of your project will often rest on whether you can communicate effectively with your architect. Will regular status updates be provided and, if so, how often? Make sure you’re clear from the beginning what your expectations are.

If you’ll be working with more than one person at the firm you choose, be sure to learn as much as possible about the employees and contractors who will be helping with your project. Ask to speak with the architect’s colleagues to ensure he’ll be the right personality fit for your project.

Ask Questions

As you search for an architect, don’t choose the first professional you find. You should have several architects lined up and choose the best one for your project from that group. Don’t be afraid to ask hard-hitting questions about how the architect will handle the many challenges that arise over the course of a project like yours. Make sure the firm you choose has the right insurance in place to cover any problems and get a full quote that builds in extra room for unforeseen expenses while still fitting within your budget.

To ensure your upcoming project is as successful as possible, take extra time in your search for an architect to carry out the necessary duties. If you find a professional who has the skills and experience to handle the job and also determine your communication styles mesh, you’ll already have steered your project in the right direction.

HTG Architects has more than 55 years of experience with projects of all sizes. A member of the American Institute of Architects, HTG Architects is constantly striving to put its extensive experience to use on challenging projects. If you’re looking for a great architect, contact us to find out how we can help you make your next project a success.