Questions you should be asking your prospective architect

When embarking on a new project, whether it involves a new home, new offices, or additions and alterations to your existing home or offices, it is vital that you select a suitable architect to assist you with the design and drawing work during the planning phase, as well as site inspection and reporting once construction gets underway.

Selecting the right architect is not as simple as it may seem, as every architect has their own combination of skills and expertise, and design philosophies can vary widely. It is important to select an architect whose design philosophy and skills-set matches your requirements, as well as the requirements that may be unique to that specific project. Here are some questions that you should ask any architect you may have approached to assist you with your project:


  1. What is your design philosophy?

  2. What sets your firm apart from other architects with similar experience?

  3. Do you have experience with the building type and size of my project?

  4. Will you share with me a portfolio of similar projects and provide a list of client references?

  5. Who from the architecture firm will I be dealing with on a regular basis?

  6. Is this the person who will design my project?

My Project

  1. Are you interested enough in this project to make it a priority?

  2. What challenges do you foresee for my project?

  3. What do you see as the important issues or considerations in my project?

  4. What is your estimated timetable for my project?

  5. What means will you use to collect information about my needs, goals, etc.?

  6. How will you help me to fully understand the scope and sequence of the project?

  7. Will you utilize models, drawings, or computer animation?


  1. What are the steps in the design process, and how are they organized?

  2. What criteria will be used to establish priorities and make design decisions?

  3. What do you expect me to provide?

  4. How disruptive will construction be?

  5. What role do you have during construction?

  6. Am I expected to work with the contractor directly?

Green Design

  1. Do you have experience with “green” or sustainable design?

  2. Do you regularly integrate low or no cost sustainable design strategies into projects?

  3. If sustainable design technologies are implemented, how will this affect the construction budget?

  4. What are the expected pay back times?

  5. FeesHow do you establish fees?

  6. In anticipation of a formal proposal with costs, what would you expect your fee to be for this project?

  7. What is included in your basic services and what services would incur additional fees?

  8. If the scope of the project changes later in the project, will there be additional fees?

  9. How will these fees be justified?How will this be communicated to me?

  10. What is your track record with completing a project within the original budget?

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