ARCHIVED  August 1, 1997

How to choose an architect for a corporate facility

Word of mouth is one of the best ways to find an architect. By asking business acquaintances about architects they have worked with on designing buildings, you may find one who has experience in your particular industry.

Be sure to check with businesses that have constructed buildings in the last five years, because the construction market can shift dramatically within a short period.

Also look for an architect who has experience designing the type of building you’re planning – a warehouse, manufacturing plant or office. Different types of buildings have specific needs, and an experienced architect will more easily be able to bring in a plan that meets your budget and schedule requirements.After looking over the field, you can set up initial meetings with a few architectural firms and inquire about their history in meeting budgets and staying on schedule. Also, ask to see other buildings they have designed that are similar to the one you propose.
Architectural firms often take prospective clients on tours of buildings they have designed to give them a better feel for their talents.
Remember that the design of your building – no matter what type of building it is – should reflect a quality corporate image within the budget constraints of the project. Look at the architects’ buildings or their portfolios to see if their designs result in that type of look you’re seeking.
During interviews, you may want to ask them about their professional strengths and weaknesses. Many architects specialize in certain types of commercial buildings.
Once you’ve narrowed down the list of architects by their professional skills, you may want to meet further with the finalists. You should have a comfort level with the architect, because you’ll be working with him or her for some time.
Ultimately, you’ll have to trust the architect you select to work within your financial and time constraints.
At this point, you may want to ask two or three firms for fee proposals. These would cover the basic services of designing the building, the interior design, and space planning. With the bids in front of you, you can evaluate the proposals and make your selection.

Word of mouth is one of the best ways to find an architect. By asking business acquaintances about architects they have worked with on designing buildings, you may find one who has experience in your particular industry.

Be sure to check with businesses that have constructed buildings in the last five years, because the construction market can shift dramatically within a short period.

Also look for an architect who has experience designing the type of building you’re planning – a warehouse, manufacturing plant or office. Different types of buildings have specific needs, and an experienced architect will more easily be able to…

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