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Question DetailsAsked on 10/19/2011

Thank you SO much for your response. It was the kind of common sense I needed!

I saw your company is in VA. Can you recommend an architect in the central, NJ area?

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We do not have a partner team in NJ. I would recommend you visit the American Institute of Architects (AIA) website (below). They have an 'Architect Finder' at the bottom of the website; you put in your zip code and they will show you the licensed architects in your area.

From there you can check out their websites or call them to confirm they can do facility (building) assessments and are willing to take on your projects (some architects specialize in specific areas, so they will not be interested in your project if it falls outside of their expertise). From there I would schedule a meeting with the architect to interview them; this is at no cost to you and usually happens at their office. The purpose of the meeting is to make sure you and the architect can work together (IE like each other) and to ensure both parties understand what you are asking for. You may want to bring pictures and any drawings, examples, etc that you have about your project.

If you feel comfortable with the architect, and they appear to listen well to you, you can discuss the scope of work you will need from your architect and at what rate of pay or flat fee they will charge. The architect will draft up a contract (Usually an AIA form that is prefilled in; all the architect has to do is put in the specifics (address, rate, problems to address). This may happen at the same initial meeting, or at a follow up meeting. If you do not feel comfortable with the architect, or they appear to talk down to you or not listen well to you, thank them for their time and interview another one. Find a good fit; they will be in your house and communicating with you a lot until the project is complete so don't settle.

Also make sure you are talking with the professional who is going to be handling your project; if the archtiect is going to assign a project manager to your job, be sure to meet this person also. If you do not feel comfortable with this person, inform the architect so a replacement can be offered. I am not an architect, but I am a production manager for two, which means I often do the inspections and review the construction as it goes on. I typically will come into a meeting after it is agreed that the client will work with our firm but before a contract is written; this way they are not surprised when I show up at their project or run a meeting with them.

Be specific with what you want. If you only want the architect to investigate and pinpoint the problem, make that clear. Do you want drawings and details, just a written report or both? If you want them to also help you create a solution to that problem, that is additional work to negotiate, but will make your job easier. If you also would like them to recommend and/or review the bids (estimates) you get from builders, that is an additional service. If you want them to oversee the construction (repair) work while it is going on to ensure it is done correctly, that is another service. Each one of these items can be as a separate contract as the time comes up, or can be negotiationed from the start. (It is generally cheaper if it is all the same contract, because the architect can schedule for these services longer ahead of time).

Good luck with your project. Check back in if you have further questions.

Source: http://www.aia.org

Answered 7 years ago by Kenny Johnson




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