Choosing an Architect or Designer

  1. Honesty, integrity, knowledge and passion for the art. You know when you see it, or feel it!
  2. Check References, then go out and actual visit the reference project.
  3. Certification and accreditation  - Use only a Certified Professional Building Designer (CPBD),visit, or a registered Architect.  From what college of Architecture did they "graduate"! We hear many attended college but never actually complete it.
  4. Body of Work - Portfolio, look for how much diversity in styles, and is that designer capable of designing basically any style home or does most of their work look the same or tend to fall in one style or another. 
  5. Years in Business and typical annual quantity of projects over the last five years. (2008-2009 excluding but how did they fair) 
  6. Clarity and Detail of Construction Documents and Computer drafting and design capability
  7. Work process, personal interaction, communication, company standards and practices, and full time staff / team members 
  8. Peer reviews, what do others you interview comment about another designer or architect.
  9. Which Custom Builders (with the best reputation) you know repeatedly use or refer that Designer or Architect and how fast do their homes sell over plans from other competing designers. Also inquire what top realtors say about the plans from one designer compared to others.
  10. Go out and walk current homes under construction or completed, and if possible talk to sub contractor who frequently build off the designers plans, how well do the go together?
  11. Remember, it is never too late to hire someone else. Once you contract with your designer and receive your first draft you can evaluate their problem solving ability,  responsiveness and listening skills in how well they execute the design options when addressing your critical needs first, and secondly your wants, wish list and desires checklist, how are these items prioritized. If your first draft is so off base, it probably want be getting much better the second or third pass. Make sure your not designing and all your getting is a gloried draftsman!!  It is never too late to change mid stream, its a lot of money at stake, don't start off with a bad plan!!