How to Choose an Architect
Finding the right architect for your financial project isn’t as simple as opening the phonebook… err… performing a Google search. The overall success of your branch, which extends decades after the grand opening, is heavily influenced by the architect you choose to work with. The stakes are too high to leave things to chance. By choosing an architect with extensive knowledge of and experience with the financial industry, you’re giving your branch the best chance at success.
Here are three steps to guide you.
1. Look for Experience
When it comes to choosing an architect for a financial project, evaluating their level of experience is critical. And I’m not just talking about their architectural experience in general. I mean their experience in bank architecture. The financial industry is highly complex, and there’s a lot of knowledge that goes into successfully executing a project.
An architect without bank experience won’t be as well versed in the trends, regulations, technologies and near-endless intricacies that go into designing a bank. Plus, with experience comes the knowledge of which decisions are “make it or break it” and which ones have more wiggle room to them. The banking industry has, and continues to change. You need an architect that can tell you what those changes are.
2. Check References
Researching architects online is an excellent place to start, but it’s not the endpoint. It’s also a good idea to ask your network to refer any bank architects they’ve had good experiences with. Find out what projects they have under their belt. Once you’ve found some options, it’s time to check their references.
Most banks don’t hire new employees without checking their references, so why wouldn’t they take that step before hiring an architect? When you do connect with references, ask if the architect:
- Demonstrated expertise in the financial industry
- Understands banking operations and how design trends could impact it
- Respected the project’s budget and schedule
- Attends and supports your industry association conventions
- Has vendor connections within the financial industry
If you’re not able to get into contact with any references at this time, you can make it part of the next step.
3. Connect with Any Potential Firms
After vetting potential architects for relevant experience and checking a few references, it’s time to meet. Scheduling a pre-project meeting will enable you to connect with your potential bank architect. This is your opportunity to get a feel for how the relationship might work and find out if your vision aligns with their capabilities. Ask them to explain how their architectural process is 'specific' to bank design. Overall, a face-to-face meeting will help you determine if this architect is the right fit for your needs.
If you take these three steps before choosing an architect for your upcoming bank project, you’re going to be setting yourself, and your branch, up for short-term and long-term success.