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6 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Corporate Architect

In order for a person to become an architect, he or she must pass through a series of classes and examinations that will professionalize this individual into being capable of planning and constructing houses, buildings, corporations, and even city planning. A Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch) takes 5 years to complete. In order for the professional to be recognized as a professional by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) and to get a license, the person needs 3 years of experience in the field through paid internships. After that, the last step is passing the Architect Registration Exam (ARE) and entering the workforce. To say the least, it is a long journey in order to become a professional in the field. Inside architecture, there are many subdivisions a professional can choose to specialize in, such as urban planner; restoration, lighting, political, or landscape architect; industrial designer; and many more. In this blog, we will be talking about commercial architecture specifically. 

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Corporate architects or corporate architecture firms specialize in planning, designing, and constructing spaces or environments that meet the needs of a business. It does not matter where you live or where your business is located, there is an abundance of different architects and different architecture firms to choose from. We have curated the six most important questions to ask the professional you are considering hiring before closing a deal. 

1. What do you see as a solution?

Planning involves finding the best solutions to your needs. When you bring your project to the professional, you will want to pay attention to how he approaches a difficulty. Architects are capable of their job but you also want to pay attention to their work style. It is crucial for the professional and the client to have a good relationship and be able to communicate well. Expressing ideas and addressing concerns is best done with someone that you feel comfortable with and that matches your personality on how to approach things. You might find it frustrating to work with someone that has a completely different style of doing things than you. 

2. What project management services do you provide?

Different architects have specialized in certain areas, as we mentioned before. Being aware of what your project will need is crucial when seeking corporate architecture firms. Some will offer a full-service project. You will probably want to know if they are able to hire contractors, stay up to date with the contractors’ job, review their invoices, as well as making lien waivers to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Considering that it is corporate architecture, that are many laws, rules, and regulations that must be enforced in order to open your business building. You will want to make sure that the professional is proficient in the subject – otherwise, you will get in trouble later on. 

3. How do you establish fees?

Different professionals charge their services in different ways. Some can charge per project, some may charge hourly. It might be better to get a quote for the entire project because in that way you will be able to make alterations without feeling like you are losing money. You also want to know what is included in that price and what is the price for things that are not included. If the project changes drastically, you want to ask how much will you be charged for such alterations. Remember that it is fine to ask for an estimate before making a formal proposal. It is best to do that than to have the proposal and have to refuse it because it is out of your budget. 

4. Do you have a reference I could speak with?

Checking references or a portfolio is very important to check on the professional’s working methods and end results. Contacting past clients is a great way to measure and compare projects. If you are planning to build a law firm, for example, ask the architect if he has any projects of law firms he has done in the past and can showcase you. Remember that, sometimes, the style can speak more about the client than the architect. 

5. Who will design the project?

If you are hiring a firm, you will want to know who is the professional that will be responsible for your project. Again, you should ask for past works and projects of that person. It is important to know as well how the project will be presented: animations, 3-D renderings, or 2-D images. Technology has had a great impact in architecture since with 3-D renderings you will be able to see the final result of the construction from all different angles. Nowadays, sometimes it is even hard to distinguish a picture from a 3-D project. 

6. When can we start?

It is important to check on availability. Perhaps you may find yourself in a situation where you want a project done as soon as possible but the professional is already busy with other projects and may not be able to give you full attention. That delays the project and construction, so it might take longer to find something finished. Also, when you ask that question, keep an eye on the reaction of the professional. This will give you a hint of how excited he or she is to start your project. 

In the end, when hiring a corporate architecture to work with, seventy percent of your decision should be based on experience and the other thirty percent on how you two get along. In projects like this communication is a key factor for a successful result. Touching base on possible issues, possible changes, and possible fees is something that should be done whenever necessary and this is only possible with good communication. Knowing how far the professional will go in terms of project management is also a must, as well as checking past projects in order to see if those align with your vision. 

Hopefully considering these tips, you’ll be a more informed architect or client on the processes and training involved in becoming an architect. 

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