There is some essential information you need when hiring an architect in Toronto – or anywhere else for that matter! Asking the right questions will ensure that you pair up with an architect who best suits your needs, your style and your budget. Although you might imagine that all architects provide the same kind of service, the truth is, every architect has their own vision and their own unique style. Knowing what to ask will definitely help when making a choice that will influence your project, your build and your future more than you would expect.
1) What is your style?
Ask to see different projects that the architect you are interviewing has worked on to see if their style of design matches your own sensibilities. If you prefer a charming, traditional style of home and the architect specializes in sleek, modern buildings, then you will not be happy with the outcome.
Architects are paid a percentage of the overall project budget. How large that percentage is will depend on the renown of the firm/architect and the services that are included with the price. Usually the total cost of a project is hard to determine up front, so many architects will charge an hourly rate or a flat retainer fee to be paid monthly. Once the project is completed, then they will adjust the fee according to the overall cost. Expect to pay between 5-20% of the project’s cost.
3) Will you be designing my project?
Unless you are working with a small, proprietor-owned firm, the person you meet with to hire the firm will not be the same as the person designing your project – this is a very important consideration. Designing is a fluid process that will require a lot of communication between yourself and the designer, so be sure to find out how accessible the designer of the project will be to answer your questions, make revisions and to make suggestions.
4) Ancillary services
Find out what kind of ancillary services your architect offers. From getting the right work permits to hiring the contractors to checking up on the work happening at the job site – some architects will do it all and some won’t. If you want someone who will take care of everything for you, then be up front about your requirements. If your architect cannot provide this for you, then you can move on to a firm that will act as project manager.
5) Can they provide 3D renderings of your project?
Some people might be able to visualize a finished project by simply looking at blueprints, but if you are not such a person, then find out whether the architect can provide 3D renderings of the finished project. Larger numbers of firms are using such software to better illustrate their plans. It is a good way to see whether you and the architect are on the same page stylistically and architecturally.
Some other information to obtain from an architect is whether they can suggest good contractors for the work you need done. Architects usually have access to a few contractors with whom they work well and who are reliable.
Finding an architect can be done by consulting Architecture Canada’s directory found here https://raic.org/members-directory, talking to local contractors, asking friends and family and looking them up online.
As long as you do your due diligence, you will find the architect that suits you best – both stylistically and financially.