Questions to Ask an Architect or Designer


Whether you are renovating or building new, taking on an architectural/design project can be daunting due to the grand effects it will have on your life both during and after the process. You are going to need to be able to trust, rely on, and get along with your architect or designer so it is important to pick the one most suited to you, your project type, and your budget.

If you’re unsure of what kind of questions you should be asking in order to make your decision of who to hire, then here are a few to get you started.

Do you have a signature style?

Some firms have a signature style; this means that the overall aesthetic will be similar between all of their projects. At Placeworks, we do not have a signature style; we welcome projects of all kinds and the process of determining what kind of functions and aesthetic are required for each individual project is part of what we find exciting about each and every job that we take on. We believe that creativity should not be restricted by a style but should be allowed to guide the project to suit the client’s unique needs and to make sure the result is as functional as it can be.

Can I view some of your previous work?

Viewing a firm’s previous projects, whether in person on in a portfolio, is a great way to see the results of their design process. When you view their past work, do you feel excited and inspired about what your project can result in? If so, that might be an indicator that you are a good fit. To see the results of past Placeworks projects, you can view our work here.

What services do you provide? (Design, project management, 3D renderings)

Different projects require different design services, and what is offered can vary from firm to firm. Conceptual design through to construction, architectural and interior design, 3D renderings, builder recommendations, permitting process and administration with the city, specification sourcing and documentation, site visits, as-built drawings at the time of project completion…. At Placeworks, these are some of the services that we can offer to our clients based on their project scope and budget.

What are some of the largest obstacles on a project like this? What about this project is appealing?

By asking an architect or designer this question, you will get their creative juices flowing. It’s a great way to get them to observe your project as is, in order to give you an idea of the most difficult challenges and the most fun aspects of your project. Most likely, they will point out aspects you had not yet considered. At Placeworks, we love these kinds of questions because it can open up a comfortable dialogue with our clients where we all learn more about each other and about the potential project scope.

Will you be able to recommend contractors and builders?

If this is your first architectural or design project, you might have no idea which builders or contractors to approach because you do not have any relationships or experience with any. We, on the other hand, work with builders and contractors on a daily basis so let us recommend a few that have experience with projects similar to yours. This can keep the cost of the job down and can help the process run smoothly, if the builder and contractor are confident in the design process for your job.

How do you charge?

Client invoicing and charges can vary from firm to firm; it’s always a good idea to start talking about project scope, budget, and invoicing methods right away so that all parties are on the same page moving forward. At Placeworks, we like to offer a free consultation to discover who you are and what we can do for you and then we deliver a proposal written up specifically for you and your project which will reflect the exact scope and projected payments for the job.

Hopefully these questions have been helpful to you, if you’re about to begin the process of looking for a firm that suits your project needs.  If you have any further questions, we’d be happy to answer them. You can find our contact information here.

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