Finding an architect in Arizona is similar to searching for a good auto mechanic, a veterinarian, a butcher, a banker, etc. Most of the time it is word of mouth if you have someone you can trust. When hiring most services, your relationship with the company or person is important. Architectural projects can last months or years depending on the scale or complexity of a project, therefore that relationship is important. Finding the right Architect in Arizona can be done with the following factors:
Architects go through rigorous training in college, learning about history/theory of architecture, design/communication, technologies, practice/management, community design, preservation and all aspects of design. Therefore, an architect has an ability to obtain knowledge for any design challenge. Architects generally specialize in either residential or commercial. Even though some architects work in both arenas, most lean towards one. Many architects start in residential architecture getting their feet wet and later design commercial buildings only.
In the residential arena, architects may specialize in single family homes vs. multi-family or apartments. In commercial architecture, an architect may become an expert in a specific type of building such as: educational, office buildings, laboratories, warehouse, manufacturing, data center etc.
When finding an architect, ask them about their expertise to determine if their experience may fit your project type. However, as previous mentioned, an architects training teaches them to gather knowledge on any project, allowing them to truly handle most projects. Ask most architects, and they will confess they can design any type of building.
Architecture is truly a team approach. An architects role is to put together a team of designers and engineers qualified for the type of project. Therefore, even if the architect itself doesn’t have the type of building on their resume, the teams gathered experiences will allow for a successful project.
Architecture can be a long process lasting months, even years. For some clients, it may be a one time project and the relationship short. Some clients have ongoing multiple projects which will foster a relationship that lasts for years. Nevertheless, the relationship between the architect and client is important. Getting along with the architect can somewhat be like a marriage. First is the courtship to determine if you have similar likes/dislikes (styles of architecture and expertise). Second, is the architect committed to the relationship to assist the client with their goals and aspirations (dedicated to making the building satisfy their needs). Third, once the honeymoon is over and the project is underway, can the relationship get through the challenges and struggles of the design and construction process. Can you communicate your likes and dislikes of the design and talk about money and project budget?
Architecture is a contextual art. Buildings are designed to relate to the environment. Architects must understand the general weather, solar aspects and orientation, site irregularities and natural disturbances from weather and even earthquakes. Since an architect, gathers knowledge on any project, proximity to the project is slightly less important. An Architect in Arizona must be registered within the State the project is located. However, hiring an architect for a desert climate like Arizona, one wouldn’t want to hire an architect who designs solely for the tropics.
When hiring local, someone from one side of town to the other, can have little effect upon a project. So finding an architect anywhere within your metropolitan area or even your state should be adequate. Most likely, the architect will travel to you to make the project easier.
Timely design is important to getting a project completed. First step is to hire a responsive architect, one who can educate that client on the process process to complete your project. The architect must determine the necessary steps to getting a permit and oversee the construction. Each site requires various approvals from local governing jurisdictions.
A time frame should be established for all the steps involved in the project. From zoning, design reviews, site plan reviews, building plan reviews to general construction durations, establishing a realistic time frame, with some wiggle room, is important. This will allow you to communicate to the architect your concerns if time feels like it’s slipping away.
Design services can vary depending upon the complexity of the project. The architect is like the ringleader of a circus. They must gather up the necessary performers (ie. engineers) to allow for a successful show. Some projects may require specialists to ensure a proper design. A required, recommended and desired team of engineers could significantly affect the overall design fee.
List of potential engineers (as needed)
Typical architectural fees for commercial projects vary, however ~8% of construction may be reasonable. However project types and overall construction costs factor into the percentage. Higher rates may occur due to complexity of the project. In general, the greater the construction cost, the lower the % fee. When an architect deals with a smaller project, the percentage is typically higher because of the basic tasks an architect must perform for any project. Typically I like to refer to “economies of scale”. If working on a renovation to an existing facility, hiring the original design team or even getting a hold of the original design documents can affect the overall design fees. Hiring an Architect in Arizona vs. outside the state will also save you time and money since the team doesn’t have to consider travel expenses and time within their fees.
Hiring the right architect is important for a successful project. One may hire an architect based upon seeing a completed building, word of mouth from a trusted colleague or a simple internet search. However factors such as expertise, relationship, Proximity, responsiveness and price factor into that selection. An architects expertise or ability to put together a team can create a successful project. Building the relationship with an architect can allow for trust. Proximity of the architect to the job site or more importantly, understanding the local area and governing jurisdiction is important for a well designed building. Responsiveness is important for a timely delivery. Architects design fee are important to allow for the project to fall within the project budget. Good luck!