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Questions for the Architect

The architect serves as the project designer and in some cases the Owner's agent during construction. Both roles are important. Choose an architect that can understand and enhance the Owner's design ideas, and who have skills for preparing realistic cost estimates, obtaining permits, and supervising a general contractor.

The following is a list of topics and questions that will be helpful in conducting interviews with an architect. The list is not exhaustive, but should provide some basic principals. Please add and revise questions based on your project.

  1. Overview of the Firm-How did you get started?

    • What kinds of projects have you specialized in?
    • What is the background of your staff?
    • How have you kept current in your practice?
    • Do you have a valid California architect's license? What is your license number?
    • Do you carry insurance? If so, what types? And what are the policy limits?

  2. Child Care Projects Experience-

    • How many Child Care Projects have you been involved in?
    • When and where were these projects located?
    • May I see examples of projects similar to my project?
    • May I have the contact information of the clients of these projects?
    • What services did you provide for these clients during the design, bidding and construction phases?
    • What problems did you run into on these projects?
    • How did you resolve them?
    • What was the actual cost vs. the budgeted cost of the projects?

  3. Services-

    • What services do you propose to provide for my project during the design, bidding and construction phases? Who will provide the services? You or your employees?

  4. Experience Working in Particular Community-

    • Do you have experience in the community where the project is located?
    • What will the permitting process be like for a project of this type?
    • What experience do you have with Historic Buildings/Historic Districts? (if applicable)

  5. The General Contractor-

    • What is the best way to select a general contractor?
    • Is construction supervision typically part of your services provided?
    • How do you keep the general contractor on budget and on time?

  6. The Fee and Cost Estimates-

    • What will the fee schedule be?
    • How will fees from my project be determined and what services do they cover?
    • How accurate are your cost estimates?
    • What other costs (permits, etc.) or services do you anticipate for my project?
    • How do you ensure the project stays within the budget?
    • If changes necessary to stay within budget, who will pay for the changes?
    • How would additional charges for design changes, which I request, be computed?

Influenced by "Questions for the Architect" Developed by Santa Cruz County Child Care Ventures, and Consumer's Guide to Hiring an Architect by the California Architects Board, pg. 5

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