Search for a Firm
Each architect has an individual style, approach to design and methods of work. So, it's important to find an architect who is compatible with your style and needs.
Build A List of Possibilities
Ask around. Find out who designed projects in your community that you like. Get recommendations from friends, relatives and acquaintances who have worked with architects. Check to see if the architect is a member of The American Institute of Architects (AIA). Membership in the AIA means that the architect subscribes to the high professional purpose to advance standards of practice and service to society. This includes having a code of ethics and access to a variety of professional and technical resources.
Contact AIA North Carolina for Referrals
AIA NC offers a referral system which includes architectural firms that offer a wide range of services including residential and commercial design services, planning, construction management, facility planning, construction administration and more. We also have an extensive list of professional Affiliate members who offer products and services that may be useful during the course of your project. Whether you want to build a home, a church or a new school AIA NC can assist you with professional referrals.
Call Each Firm on Your Short List
Describe your project and ask if they are available to accomplish it. If so, request literature that outlines the firm's qualifications and experience if the office is unable to handle your project, ask if they can recommend another firm.
Interview Each Firm
Interviewing a firm gives you a chance to meet the people who will design your project and to learn if the chemistry between you is right. You may be working with your architect for a long time, so look for someone with whom you feel comfortable. Allow at last an hour for the interview, preferably at the architect's office where you can see where the work will be done. Some architects charge for this interview; ask if there is a fee.
How busy is the firm? Does it have capacity to take on your work? Who will handle the job? Meet the person who will actually design your project. What is the firm's design philosophy? Talk about a project budget and the range of fees that the architect would anticipate for your project. Before you select an architect, ask to be taken to at least one completed project. Also, ask for references from past clients. These are invaluable. Additionally, obtain an Architect's Qualification Statement (B431) from AIA NC. This standardized document may be used to verify an architect's credentials and other information prior to selecting an architect for the project.
Making The Final Cut
The architect provides professional service, not a product. Unlike buying a car or new appliance, you can't see the product and test it out. The right architect will be the one who can provide the judgment, technical expertise and creative skills - at a reasonable cost - to help you realize a project that fits your practical needs as well as your dreams.
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