In case you are building a new home or renovating an old one, you may need the services of a professional architect. But to find an architectural agency is a challenging task.
To begin with, it is good to know the difference between a design firm and an architect. Design firms combine the task of designing and building services in an in-house project. As for architects, they are licensed by the state to design buildings and offer advice on their construction. This license indicates a certain level of proficiency, experience, and education.
Following are some tips to locate the right architect for your project:
Visit Government Websites
When you conduct a simple search on a search engine for a local architectural agency, it may yield far too many results. It is better to search government websites like the Council of Architecture (COA) in India, AIA (American Institute of Architects) in the USA, Architects Registration Board (ARB) in the UK, and the RAIC in Canada. These have online databases for thousands of architects.
Narrow the search on such websites by building type and location and the review profiles of firms as well as their sample projects. Such websites have comprehensive information on architectural firms.
Talk To All Possible
It is good to cast a wide net. Enquire from family, friends, neighbours, or your realtors (real estate agents) if they can endorse the services of a good architect. Have you spotted a good ongoing construction work? Ask the owners of such premises about who their architect is and how good their experience with the latter is. Gaining recommendations from people who have experienced the services of an architectural firm is possibly the best source of information.
Go On a Tour
Many cities host design ‘weeks’ or festivals for showcasing the accomplishments of the community of local designers. A common feature of these events is the house tour. Usually, they are held on a particular date where a selected group of homes is open for public viewing, at a stipulated price. Don’t miss the chance of such house tours in your area.
Scan the Internet
There are numerous internet-based sources for information on architectural agencies. But search these sources with a pinch of salt, noting that reviews may not be fact-checked, and listings can cost money.
In case you don’t have the option of talking to neighbours, there is the source of private social networks for thousands of neighbourhoods. Seeking recommendations of architects via such forums is like canvassing the neighbourhood without making small talk.
Present a Brief
Aim at meeting at least 3 architects for your project. Give each architect a brief of the work you want to be done, making a rough budget. Enquire if they do projects like yours and if they are available to serve your project. The more precise and clearer is the brief is for the architect, the lesser is the chance for disappointment. Else, you can download from the net, a free form that will help you in consulting the architects and ask them clever questions. Request the architect for their portfolio and visit their websites. Ask for an upfront quote on the project.
These are all some tips to find an architectural agency for your project.