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How To Find An Architect

Every architect has an individual style and approach. Here's how to find the right architect for your project.

1. Ask friends, neighbors, and co-workers about their architects. Also check with Realtors and builders in your area. Find the names of architects who designed projects similar to the one you plan.

2. For restoration projects, check with your local historical society or historic zoning board.

3. Search through online directories. Most will let you search for architects by location and by speciality.

4. Call prospective architects. Find out whether they would be interested in your project.

5. Ask whether there is a fee for an interview.

6. Request literature that describes the firm's qualifications and experience.

7. Meet with several prospective architects.

8. Confirm that the architect you are meeting is the person who will actually work on your project.

9. Determine your architect's design philosophy.

10. Ask how long the project will take.

11. Discuss fees and anticipated construction costs.

12. Ask for references from past clients. Find out how past clients feel about their new home.

13. Visit at least one project by your prospective architect. Ask the owners about any problems that may have been encountered during the design and construction of the project.

14. Verify your architect's licensing and other credentials. A licensed, registered architect (RA) will have different education and training than a certified building designer (CPBD).

15. Find out the professional affiliations of your prospective architect. An architect who joins an organization is not necessarily more highly qualified than a non-member. However, by joining a group such as the AIA (American Insitute of Architects) or the ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architects), the pro indicates indicates a committment to the values and standards of that organization.

Below are a few tips to help with your search:

1. You may be working closely with your architect for many months. Choose someone you can communicate with.

2. Interview prospective architects at their offices, if possible.

3. Plan to spend at least one hour on your first meeting with a prospective architect.

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