Things to Consider When Choosing a Commercial Architect

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Things to Consider When Choosing a Commercial Architect

If you are looking into building a commercial property or renovating an existing one, then hiring the right architect is key. A professional, commercial architect can help turn your dreams into reality.

Choosing a commercial architect is not a simple decision. Because, as Granite Foundation Repair explains, the person you choose will be the one to help keep the budget on track, listen to your ideas, be an invaluable problem solver, and be the brains behind your entire project.

To help improve your chances of landing the right one, you need to interview each prospect. And, during the interview, you need to have a set of questions to help you gauge their suitability for your project.

Below are 7 essential questions to ask before hiring a commercial architect:

Question #1: Can you provide some references?

Asking for references from previous clients and even other engineering and construction firms can be a significant help. It can help you know a thing or two about how your prospective architect has handled previous projects.

Your goal here should be to know crucial things such as:

  • Whether they know how to stay within the budget
  • The level and kind of communication they have with clients
  • Whether they can work without supervision
  • Proven track record of finishing projects on time
  • Ease of working with the firm

Great architecture alone won’t tell you the entire story. Asking former clients and other consulting firms about their interactions with the architect will give you a better sense of how your project will go.

Question #2: How much do you charge for your architectural services?

Commercial architectural firms, like any other design service providers, have different ways of charging for design costs. Ensure you fully understand a company’s fee structure beforehand, and avoid companies that are vague about their fees.

Also, let them know your budget early on, and find out what you can and cannot afford. A top-notch design doesn’t come cheap, and that’s why you should always inquire about any extra costs that may crop up during the construction phase.

Additionally, ask the prospective architect how frequently they are able to complete a project within budget. Make sure to refer to your references and verify their claims with their contractors and clients.

Question #3: Do you have a builder that you can recommend?

If you have a general contractor in mind, great. But if you don’t, then you may as well ask your prospective architect for some recommendations. Due to the nature of their work, a good commercial architect will have one in mind. Then ask about the builder’s costs, timeliness, and quality.

Finding a general contractor and an architecture firm that work well together is imperative for good communication and teamwork which is why it is always best to refer to your architect for their opinion on a good fit for the team and project type.

Question #4: Who will be my point of contact at your company?

It is important to know who you will be communicating with during the project whether it is the lead architect or a designer on the architect’s team. It’s best to be in frequent communication with a person that you have good professional chemistry with.

Furthermore, inquire about anyone else who will be on your team. By getting to know everyone on your team, establishing a professional rapport with all of them, and knowing who to ask questions to, you will be able to ensure your project runs as smoothly as possible.

Question #5: What potential challenges can my project encounter?

This can help you plan when it comes to budgeting. Examples of issues that may potentially lead to challenges include:

  • Your commercial property is in a special zone or must adhere to certain guidelines set by local jursidiction.
  • The style of the building you have in mind is going to create challenges due to budget, or timeline.
  • If the commercial building requires special design installations or features due to code
  • The land you will be building on or the foundation of the building you are renovating in has foreseen issues.

Often, the architect will offer some suggestions on how best to overcome any hurdles. For instance, if the design is complex, the architect can advise on how to value engineer portions to achieve the same high-end design while working within the set budget.

The architect is there to assist you to make sure your vision comes to life but also to help with the complex and technical matters for your vision that you would be unable to foresee.

Question #6: How long will the design and construction processes take?

Knowing up front what your timeline is will help prepare you mentally and financially. A good commercial architect will also advise you on how you can potentially reduce the construction timeline depending on the project type and location.

Question #7: Are you insured?

The last thing you want, is a commercial architect with little to no insurance coverage. Therefore, verify that the architect has proper insurance and find out if there is any previous clients that  have lodged legal claims against them and why.

Doing this due diligence can help you avoid potential problems down the road. So, ask these questions to pick an architect that makes the experience of designing your dream commercial building a dream in itself.

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Melissa Pasche, CFO