5 Tough Questions to Ask Your Architect During the Selection Process

When selecting an architect for your project, it’s important that you ask each candidate tough questions to gain a better understanding of the qualities they would bring to your project.

Every architect has his or her own set of skills, expertise, and values, and your job is to select one that aligns with your project goals. To help you in your architect interviews, we’ve listed five challenging questions that you should ask your candidates during the early stages of selection, courtesy of The American Institute of Architects (AIA).

#1 – What does the architect see as important considerations in your project?

Every project will have challenges. Ask your candidates to identify some important consideration in your project and to describe some potential solutions. It wouldn’t be fair to expect an architect to have all the answers at this stage, but an architect with experience will be able to pull in examples from past projects.

#2 – How will the architect gather information about your needs, goals, etc.?

For your project to turn out well, your architect will need to gather information about you, such as your needs, goals, and design ideas. He or she will use that info to make informed decisions about the design. Having a detailed and systematic way of gathering that information is a good sign.

#3 – What is the architect’s experience/track record with cost estimating?

No one has an unlimited budget, so establishing a firm project estimate is important. While it may be too early to ask a builder for a cost estimate, it does help to know what experience the architect has with cost estimating and how reliable his or her past estimates have been. A solid track record says a lot about the architect’s skill and expertise.

#4 – If the scope of the project changes later in the project, will there be additional fees? How will these fees be justified?

During the architectural design process, changes in the scope of the project are possible. You may change your mind about an aspect of the design, or the architect may run into an unforeseeable obstacle. It’s in your budget’s best interest to plan ahead and ask the architect how he or she handles fees in those situations.

#5 – Can the architect provide a list of client references?

Last, but not least, you should ask the architect for a list of references from past clients. And be sure to follow up with them. These will, undoubtedly, be people who have had a positive experience working with the architect, so you’re unlikely to hear much negative criticism. But it is helpful to know what they appreciated about the architect. If the qualities they point to are important to you, you may have found the right architect.

We hope you will find these five tough questions helpful during your selection process. For additional questions, check out this guide from AIA. And feel free to contact us about your project. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.