Ask an Architect These 9 Questions Before Starting a Project

Ask an Architect These 9 Questions Before Starting a Project
Tue Jun 21, 2022

When you're getting ready to work with an architect, it's not as simple as choosing one, setting a design, and then getting the project started. It's a process and one that might take a while to unfold. You need to choose an architect you can trust and work with over the long term.

Questions To Ask an Architect

So, if you're in the market for an architect and you’re meeting with one, or several, it's good to have a set of questions on hand to see if they're the right choice for you. Here are several questions for architects to get you started.

What is your architecture style?

An architecture style consists of a set of qualities and/or features that define the homes that a specific architect designs. According to Arch2O, an architecture style “can be identified by forms, construction methods, or material choices, and it changes over time according to changing trends and emerging technologies.” Some architects’ styles may include sharp edges and clean lines while others may have a traditional home style. You will need to ensure that their style meshes well with your ideas to see the best results.

What is your design philosophy?

What is it that drives your architect? Why are they in the business they're in? How does that affect their designs? How will they apply their passion to your project? All of these are solid questions, but the answers to them can be summed up by asking your architect about their design philosophy. It's ostensibly the reason they're doing what they do, and you can learn a lot about how your project will look at the end by asking them about it.

What experience do you have with energy-efficient construction?

Energy-efficient homes are growing in popularity and prevalence, and you may be wondering about their feasibility for your project. Whether you're looking for an energy-efficient/sustainable new build or want to remodel a resale home to make it more energy-efficient, you want an architect who knows what they're doing. Ask about what experience they have with energy-efficient constructions and how the materials they use might help to reduce your home's energy costs.

How can you help me understand the design and construction process?

Your architect/builder may boast of 3D modeling and their advanced insulation techniques, but what does all that mean to you? It's natural to feel wary of flashy claims and technical jargon, especially when you're about to spend a lot of your hard-earned money. From design through construction, you deserve a no-frills, straightforward explanation for everything to do with your project… so, ask your architect to provide that!

What is your estimated timetable?

As a client, you have a reasonable expectation to know how long it will take for your project to be completed. So, don't be afraid to ask about the timetable. You should definitely have some patience, with the knowledge that there is always the chance of a delay (see the next question). Still, knowing from the outset when your architect foresees being able to have everything finished can help you plan for what comes after completion.

What issues or challenges might arise with my project?

The pandemic and extreme weather have caused unprecedented challenges for builders and projects in recent years. There have been wood and material shortages that have had a domino effect on construction timetables and costs. There is also the chance for permits to not be granted, or sudden labor shortages, or issues in your home that have to be worked around. Knowing the potential for all of this beforehand may not give you peace of mind but can help you manage your expectations.

What are the chances of us going over budget on this?

Like it or not, there's every chance that your project could smash any budget estimates provided to you by your architect. All of those aforementioned issues and challenges? They don't just have the potential to cause delays for your project; they could also increase project costs to a degree you hadn't anticipated or budgeted for. You need to ask about the chances of this happening, what contingencies are in place, and also how you might have the news broken to you –– and when.

What is your role during construction?

Ask your architect this, if only to give you a better sense of how involved they are once things get underway. For example, are they checking in with contractors during the build, or is someone else? Will your architect be personally in touch with you or have someone call you with updates, questions, and issues? If you, as the client, have questions, who should you direct them to? This is why you ask about their role once construction starts.

What do you need from me?

You might think that, as a client, there isn't much your architect needs from you. You'd be wrong, though; your architect/builder needs your input and involvement from day one! Of course, there could be extended periods where nothing seems to be happening, where materials and permits are being procured. Ask your architect what you can or should be doing during that time and what they need from you to ensure that the project runs smoothly.

Find the Right Architect With Cullum Homes

As you can see, it's good to have a set of questions for architects ready to go when you're meeting with them to ensure your project is completed to your satisfaction. And, when it comes to client satisfaction, Cullum Homes is fully dedicated to yours. To see what Cullum's architects can do for you, ask them the above questions and start working together. Get in touch with Cullum Homes today.

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