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Questions to Ask As You Start Your Project

AIA Architects maintain a commitment to continued professional development, and adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct that serves both the client and the built environment. When embarking on a building project, it is the AIA architect that meshes the need for quality design construction with time and cost-effective methods.


Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Get Started

  1. Describe your current home. 

  2. What do you like about it? 

  3. What's missing? 

  4. What don't you like?

  5. Do you want to change the space you have?

  6. Do you want to build a new home?

  7. Why do you want to build a house or add to or renovate your current home? 

  8. Do you need more room? 

  9. Are children grown and moving on? 

  10. Is your life-style changing?

  11. What is your life-style? 

  12. Are you at home a great deal? 

  13. Do you work at home? 

  14. Do you entertain often? 

  15. How much time do you spend in the living areas, bedrooms, kitchen, den or office, utility space, etc.?

  16. How much time and energy are you willing to invest to maintain your home?

  17. If you are thinking of adding on, what functions/activities will be housed in a new space?

  18. What kind of spaces do you need, e.g., bedrooms, expanded kitchen, bathrooms, etc.?

  19. How many of those spaces do you think you need?

  20. What do you think the addition/renovation/new home should look like?

  21. If planning on a new home, what do you envision in this home that you don't have now?

  22. How much can you realistically afford to spend?

  23. How soon would you like to be settled into your new home or addition? Are there rigid time constraints?

  24. If you are contemplating building a home, do you have a site selected?

  25. Do you have strong ideas about design styles? 

  26. What are your design preferences?

  27. Who will be the primary contact with the architect, contractor, and others involved in designing and building your project? (It is good to have one point of contact to prevent confusion and mixed messages.)

  28. What qualities are you looking for in an architect?

  29. How much time do you have to be involved in the design and construction process?

  30. Do you plan to do any of the work yourself?

  31. How much disruption in your life can you tolerate to add on to or renovate your home?

  32. Once you have answered these questions, you will be better able to talk with an architect. The more detailed information you give, the easier it will be for the architect to address your needs.

20 Questions To Ask Your Architect

  1. What does the architect sees as important issues or considerations in your project? What are the challenges of the project?

  2. How will the architect approach your project?

  3. How will the architect gather information about your needs, goals, etc.?

  4. How will the architect establish priorities and make decisions?

  5. Who from the architectural firm will you be dealing with directly? Is that the same person who will be designing the project? Who will be designing your project?

  6. How interested is the architect in this project?

  7. How busy is the architect?

  8. What sets this architect apart from the rest?

  9. How does the architect establish fees?

  10. What would the architect expect the fee to be for this project?

  11. What are the steps in the design process?

  12. How does the architect organize the process?

  13. What does the architect expect you to provide?

  14. What is the architect's design philosophy?

  15. What is the architect's experience/track record with cost estimating?

  16. What will the architect show you along the way to explain the project? Will you see models, drawings, or sketches?

  17. If the scope of the project changes later in the project, will there be additional fees? How will these fees be justified?

  18. What service does the architect provide during construction?

  19. How disruptive will construction be? How long does the architect expect it to take to complete your project?

  20. Do you have a list of past clients that your firm has worked with?

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