Architect Checklist / Questionnaire
The following checklist is based on pre and post-project discussions with past clients, as well as our own thoughts about what are important questions to ask prospective architects. This is intended to be a framework to help homeowners navigate the interview process and select the right architect for their project and personality.
1. Style. Is there a specific style of architecture that you prefer to do? What style do you think my house is and how does that fit in with your style?
Keep in mind that not all architects are as well versed/ equally proficient in each style of architecture. Some specialize in a specific style whereas others have developed an iconic style of their own (particularly true of modern/ contemporary architects). And still others design in a variety of styles (depending on their clients’ wishes, local typologies, style of existing house, etc.).
2. Design Phase. How does your schematic design phase work? Do you develop a limited number of options or do you keep designing until the owner is happy with/ has signed off on the plans?
3. Point of contact. Who will be doing the design? Are you a sole-proprietor or do you have employees? Who will I be meeting and communicating with at your office?
4. Drawings. What drawings are included in your standard construction set? Ask to see a set of drawings from a previous project.
Demolition floor plans
Door and window schedules
Electrical plan (power and lighting)
Mechanical plan (HVAC, vent fans, etc.)
Highlighted items likely to be minimum requirements for permit issuance.
5. Fees. What is your fee? Do you charge per square foot (if so, how much)? Do you charge a percentage of construction (if so, how much)?
6. Consultants. What other consultants and fees do you think will be required for my project?
7. Changes. How do you deal with owner driven changes during design? What triggers additional services (major scope changes only)? Do you charge hourly for additional work? Will you prepare a proposal/ estimate of how many hours the additional work will take?
8. Timeline. How long do you think the design, bidding, permitting and construction process will take?
9. Bidding. How do you handle the contractor bid process? How many bids do you recommend? Do you have contractors you can refer? How involved are you during this process? Do you attend contractor meetings and job walks? Do you review and compare the bids?
10. References. Do you have a list of past clients who I could contact? Do you have projects I can see online or in person?
11. Feasibility and budget. After hearing my project wish-list, and knowing my budget, do you think my project is feasible and/ or wise? Is there anything that you would propose to do differently?
12. Communication. What is your preferred means of communication (phone, email, text)?