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Hiring an Architect


Architects go beyond strict functionality to create spaces that actually enrich the quality of life. They think holistically to create a home that truly works with the land it sits on. Chemistry is key when hiring an architect since you'll not only be spending a lot of time together, but sharing a great deal of personal information during the process.

  • Follow this rule of thumb: If you're tearing down or moving any walls, or if the job involves any plans or new construction, hire an architect. Or, think of it this way: The minute you have second thoughts, or start to question your solution, hire an architect.
  • Ask friends and colleagues for referrals. Identify someone with a project similar to yours, and visit the job site or finished home if possible. Find out if there are any issues to be aware of.
  • Consult your contractor for guidance if you're building a custom home or have purchased a lot as part of a package deal. Contracting firms sometimes keep an architect on staff, or will suggest one based on your project's needs.
  • Make sure you interview several candidates. Review academic and professional credentials and awards. You're assessing whether the architect listens to your ideas and is able to offer plausible, creative but financially doable solutions to your requests, but as importantly, if the two of you click. Ask for and call provided references.
  • Bring the architect into the picture when you know basically what you want, but before you decide on a course of action. As trained problem solvers, architects can provide solutions at the front end of the process on all aspects of design and cost-effective use of building materials. Architects are familiar with all building codes and disability requirements. They also understand the importance of intangible elements such as natural light.
  • Work up a sketch or provide photos of buildings you like from magazines and other sources. The architect will accommodate your lifestyle and specific space requirements.
  • Always ask how the fees are structured. Your job may be priced as a fixed figure, a percentage of total construction costs, or on an hourly time and materials basis. You'll pay more for overtime and making changes to the plans; you'll also be asked for a retainer before work begins.
  • Make sure all elements of the contract are clearly spelled out in writing and that you agree to the terms. Required by law in Texas and other states, the contract should include a detailed description of the job, total budget and architect's fee, and schedule of completion.

Make Sure To Look For:

  • An experienced architect
  • Personalities that mesh
  • Projects that were similar to yours
  • Visit and review the material the American Institute of Architects provides on hiring an architect.

Tips & Warnings

  • Ask when the architect will be able to do your job. Depending on how busy he or she is, some architects may have to put you on the back burner for a while.
  • Be sure to ask about any issues that are important to you such as using environmentally friendly and energy efficient materials or incorporating solar power.
  • Architects provide a wide range of services: programming (coming up with a wish list), preliminary (schematic) design, design development, preparation of construction documents, managing the job together with the general contractor and securing permits and zoning approvals.

Discuss what mechanisms are in place to stay within budget and what protections you as a consumer have in the event that actual costs exceed the budget.



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10721 Jackson Lane, Frisco TX 75035

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