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How to Choose the Best Architect for Your Commercial Building

By | Samantha Higgins

You have big ideas for your new commercial building. But do you have the right architect to help you realize your goals?

As your new project begins, one of the most critical decisions you’ll make is the design architect you choose. Make the wrong choice and you could end up with a building you don’t like, that came in over budget.

Let’s take a look at some important factors to consider when you’re searching for the best architect for your new commercial building.

Experience Is King

How long has the firm or individual been doing business? What is their overall reputation? Do they have substantial experience designing projects comparable to yours? If they specialize in the type of design you’re looking for, that’s a big bonus.

You also want to know how much experience they have in your geographic location. By hiring a local architect, they’ll have a leg-up on the regulations and area-specific building codes. This will save you a lot of headaches as the project matures.

Gauge Their Style of Communication

When you hire a commercial architect you’ll be dealing with specific individuals, not the firm as a whole. It’s important to know that you connect personally with the people that’ll be working for you. If you have vastly different communication styles, your project could suffer.

Make sure that you have the same vision and that you’re mutual expectations are transparent and clear.

Certifications and Accreditations

Before you hire any commercial architect, you need to ensure that they have a degree from an accredited NAAB (National Architectural Accrediting Board) university or college.

They also need to be licensed within your state and have official certification from the NCARB (National Council of Architectural Registration Boards).

How Current Is Their Technology?

Does the firm you’re considering utilizing the most current digital resources and tools? Are they able to offer you a 3D architectural rendering of your plans?

Typically, a quick review of your architect’s commercial website will give you a good idea of how technologically-savvy they are. The more technology they bring to the table, the faster and easier it’ll to make design adjustments as things begin to take share.

How To Find the Best Commercial Architect

Now that you have an understanding of what you’re looking for, it’s time to consider what steps you need to take to find the best architect for your project.

Begin on the Internet

To get a prospect list going, run a Google search for qualified commercial architects in your region. If you have a specialized project, use that in the search as well. For example, “Commercial restaurant architects in Miami.”

Then, take your time to thoroughly review the websites of the top results to get a feel for each firm’s personality, experience, and style.

Shorten your list and start reaching out.

Ask Around

Talk to associates, friends and any peers within your field. Find out what recommendations they have. Ask if they’ve had any experience with the architects that turned up in your search.

Also consider reaching out to professionals in architecture-related fields, such as general contractors, interior designers, and engineers. Find out about their experience working with the architects you’re considering.

Find out their habits on replying to voicemails, texts, and emails. Do they have experts in your field? What’s the level of service like? Do they have a lot of repeat customers?

Interview Top Selections

Narrow down your choices to between three and five options. Then start interviewing each one personally.

Find out how often you’ll hear status updates from them. Will most communication be in person, over the phone, electronically or through video conferences? Ensure that you are crystal clear with your expectations for the project.

The interview stage is your opportunity to evaluate each architect’s intangibles. These can make or break your project.

Of course, you’ll also want to get several references. And check them.

Choosing the Right Architect Is Important

Your new commercial building will only be as good as the architect that designs it. Poor design will lead to a poor project. Great design can lead to a whirlwind of success

Follow these simple guidelines to help you find the perfect architect for your project.

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