Questions to ask before you hire an Architect or Designer

Planning on Hiring an Architect or Designer?

Hiring an Architect or Designer most likely will turn into a long term relationship. Here are some questions to ask before you hire an Architect or Designer.

According to The American Institute of Architects (AIA) these are things you should discuss with your potential future architect.


When you hire a professional to help you build your dream home, or remodel your current home, you want to know that the firm or individual you’ve hired is going to get the job done right. If we get a bad hair cut we reassure ourselves that it will grow back, but hire the wrong professional and you’re stuck with his mistakes or a costly repair job it will take to fix them.

Design Philosophy

When you start the process of looking for an architect or designer, you’ll want to take a look at the work they’ve done. Does it appeal to you? Does the style and design fit with your idea of style and design? Creating a short list of architects and designers whose work you like should be your first step in selecting professionals you’d like to work with to help make your dreams a reality. You can start by visiting their professional webpage which should provide a portfolio of their work. You can also reach out to these firms or individuals directly and ask to see samples of the work they’ve done.

Is this your style?


maybe this?


find an architect that shares your design aesthetic:



Once you have a small list of architects, or designers you’d like to visit more with about your project, these are things you should be prepared to ask and get answers to in your initial meeting. Some of this information may be provided to you before on their firm’s website, or by request.

1. What sets your firm apart from other architects with similar experience?

2. Do have experience with the building type and size of my projects?

3. Will you share with me a list of references? You should ask for at least three references from clients with projects similar to yours.

4. Who from the firm will be dealing with me on a regular basis? If this is someone not involved with the meeting, you’ll want to meet with them before you make your final decision.

My Project


1. Are you interested enough to make my project a priority?

2. What challenges to do you see with my project?

3. What is your estimable timetable for my project?

4. How will you collect information about my needs, goals, etc.?

5. how will you help me to understand the scope and order of the project? Will you use models, drawings, animation?


1. What are the steps in the design process?

2. What criteria will you use to establish priorities and make decisions?

3. What do you expect for me to provide? And when?

4. What role do you have during construction?

Green Design


1. Do you have experience with green design?

2. Do you integrate low or no cost sustainable strategies into your projects?

3. How will you determine which green options are best and most suited to my project?

4. Do upfront costs exist that may affect the budget? What is the expected return on my investment for implementing green strategies?


1. How do you establish fees?

2. What would you expect your fee to be for this project?

3. What is included in your basic services and what services would incur additional fees?

4. If the scope of the project changes, once the work begins, will there be additional fees? How will those fees be justified? How will this be communicated to me?

5. What is your track record with completing a project within the original budget?


Asking these questions will help to ensure your project runs smoothly, will save you time and money, and help you to get the home you want and deserve. Have any good, or not so good, experiences with architects, designers, or other professionals? Share them with us in the comments section below.