10 Questions to Ask An Architect

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Have You Done Work In This Area Before?

It’s important to ask your architect if they have done work in your area.  Every city, town, county, etc, has its own specifications when it comes to building. Some areas can be extremely strict while others are more lenient.  Ask your architect about the work they’ve done in your area, it can be very helpful if they already know the area guidelines.

What Do I Need a Permit For?

Generally, a permit is needed in most cases when building, repairing, moving, removing, demolishing, etc.  In some cases, a permit is not required, depending on the scope of work.  Ask your architect if you need a permit for the scope of work.  Your architect is responsible for knowing when is a permit is needed, as well as obtaining the permit.

How Long Does It Take to Acquire a Permit?

The time it takes to obtain a permit usually varies per job.  Many cities and towns have their own internal processes when it comes to issuing a permit.  These include anything from planning board reviews to landmark requirements.  Each of these processes can elongate the permit process. 

What Is the Architectural Design Timeline for Building a House?

There are many variables that come into play when designing and building a house.  The process can take anywhere from a couple of months, to a couple of years.  The size of the house as well as the involvement of the client plays a huge factor when it comes to the timeline.  Generally speaking, designing and building a house can take up to two years from start to finish.

Are Renderings Accurate?

Yes, renderings, for the most part, depict what your design will look like in 3D.  However, it is extremely important to remember that renderings are only showing you a digital image of what your space will look like.  During the construction process, things may change for a variety of reasons which may stray away from the original design rendering.

How Do You Come Up With a Design and What Are the Architectural Design Process Steps That Are Needed for a Project?

Beautiful designs don’t come out of thin air. There is a lot that goes into the process of designing a home.  This involves working closely with the client to bring their vision to reality.  This process can take anywhere from a few hours, to several months. The architectural design process happens in phases. It begins with finding the proper lot, obtaining permits, and then the architectural design planning begins after that. Once the client is happy with the design results after the consultation sessions, building the home is the next step to be taken.

Is It Possible to Design My Dream Space?

The answer is yes! It is definitely possible to design your dream space.  However, you must keep the budget in mind.  Your architect can design anything and everything you could possibly want or need.  The question is not if they can design it, the question is if you can afford it. To learn more, read our blog post about the costs of designing a custom home.

What Are Your Fees and What Do They Cover?

When it comes to questions to ask an architect, determining the fees and total costs is one of the most important things to ask. Make sure to do your research before committing to a contract. More often than not, there will be additional fees that may not have been spelled out in your contract.  Usually, this will consist of additional construction administration hours or amendments and changes to drawings due to unforeseen conditions during construction.  Asking clients and contractors that have worked with the architect is a good way to set a baseline for yourself.   

Will You Stay Involved After the Design Process?

Depending on your specifications, the architect may just hand over the design plans with no further involvement.  In other cases, the architect may be needed to oversee the project during construction.  Make sure to verify this with your architect. Interested in learning more about how we operate? Read our blog post on our design philosophy to see more.

How Much Time Do I (the Client) Need to Commit?

This is entirely up to you.  Architects deal with clients who are very involved every step of the way as well as clients who don’t want to get involved and just let the architect do their thing.  If you’re not sure what type of client you want to be, just ask!