HOW TO START WITH THE RIGHT ARCHITECT

Architecture is a complicated profession to say the least. Not only does an architect have to create a timeless design, but they have to achieve this goal while ensuring the functionality of the space for the clients based on their lifestyle, know the specifications and limitations of the materials used in the structure they are designing, and know the environmental and geographical characteristics of the area they are designing the home in. This may seem like a daunting task and, rightfully so, as it takes years to acquire the skills and capabilities needed to create and successfully construct a beautifully designed home. As a result of these factors, many architects feel entitled to charging high service fee's (up to 15% of construction costs) that can significantly reduce your return on investment. Regardless of this fact, there are several more areas of the architectural design process that consumers must be aware of along with the possibility of price gouging. 

Throughout the architectural design process you want to ensure that you are well informed of your respective obligations, rights, and expectations. This process is usually most effectively accomplished by conducting a thorough review of: 

• The Scope of the architectural services

• The projected time period for the work to be completed

• The final amount for the architectural design fees

• The method of payment for the architectural design fees

Once this step is complete, request a written contract from your architect outlining all of the above terms after they have been agreed upon. A general template for these documents can be found on the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada website (www.raic.org). Throughout this process your architect of choice should keep in mind the cost to build the structure you have developed along side them, the time it will take to construct it, and the quality and the level of detail the drawings need to possess in order to ensure a smooth construction process. You also want to confirm that the architect of choice has experience with the common geographical characteristics of the area that the property is located. In addition to this you, as the property owner, are responsible for hiring investigative sub-consultants including: 

• Land Surveyors

• Geotechnical Engineers

• Environmental Analysts

• Hydrologists

• Civil Engineers

• Landscape Architects

• Interior Designers

These sub-consultants bring special expertise to the project and can greatly benefit both the design and functionality of the space. Its best to work with a firm who provides all of these services under one umbrella in order to ensure a smooth design process for clients without leaving them to source these consultants themselves.  Also ensure that your architect provides clients with problem solving services, feasibility studies, high quality 3D graphic rendering, and project management services.

Selecting the right architect is the difference between the functional, aesthetic, and financial success or failure of your project. Your architect can provide you with some great ideas and solutions while keeping your best interests in mind by ensuring a quality build. It is for this reason that you should choose and architect who's work you admire, and who you feel most comfortable with.