I hesitate to write this post. It feels a bit obvious. However, there are many people who are not in this industry who might feel a bit more confident reaching out to an architect knowing they have read this. So, for those people, I write this.
Step 1: You have a question about a possible project.
Step 2: Make initial contact with the possible architect. This can me made through email, the architect’s website or over the phone.
Step 3: Have a telephone conversation and arrange a meet. Ask for references if they are not on the Architect’s website.
Step 4: Inquire references about the architect you are meeting.
Step 5: Meet the architect to converse about the project. The architect may also ask at this point how the client intends on paying for the design fees and construction. There is no obligation or commitment at this meeting. The possible client is only obligated to see if working with this architect is a good fit. The client should request a proposal from the architect at the end of the meeting if the architect seems like a good fit.
Step 6: Upon the client’s request, the architect will then generate a proposal for the client. This could take 1-3 days.
Step 7: The client will decide if they want to accept the proposal and then return it to the architect.
Step 8: After the proposal is accepted, most architects go a step further to generate a contract. The contract can include terms of service, a description of the scope of services, services that are considered additional and indemnity clauses. Along with this signed contract, the client will be asked for a retainer. The retainer is applied to the bill for the first phase of work or to the last billing at the end of the project. Every firm is different, but the amount of the retainer is usually between $1000 and 10% of the proposed services. A 10% retainer is necessary in my practice to initiate the Discovery phase and is applied immediately to that work. A retainer is necessary for architects because we invest significant time developing proposals and contracts before any client commits. The architect will also often have to turn down other work to take on your project and this requires the architect to know that the client has “skin in the game.” Once this contract is signed and the retainer is accepted by the architect, get ready, your project is “a go.”
Until next time!