20+ Questions

This handy guide will help you learn more about the architect you are dealing with and ensure your project runs smoothly.

  1. Is the architect a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA)? Architects registered by the State of Tennessee need 12 hours of Continuing Education every 2 years (7 hours Health, Saftey and Welfare). AIA architects maintain 18 hours of Continuing Education EACH year (12 hours in Health, Safety and Welfare courses). The AIA architect is committed to being at the peak of knowledge in the field. AIA architects also subscribe to a Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, and that code is very much a part of the Institute.
  2. Does the AIA architect hold any additional certifications that might be important to your project? Many AIA architects also hold certifications from related organizations which promote sustainability, project managment and more.
  3. Has the AIA architect produced similar projects to mine before? Are there any I can see?
  4. Will the AIA architect give me references that I can contact about their project and experience?
  5. How will the AIA architect gather information about my needs, goals, etc? Will I need to provide any documents, such as as-built blueprints or the location of sewer/septic lines, or will the project begin with measurements? Would the archtiect like to see pictures of similar projects that I like?
  6. What should I expect of the AIA architect during this process?
  7. What does the AIA architect need and expect of me during the project?
  8. What is my budget for this project? Do I need help developing a budget? Is the AIA architect used to working in that range?
  9. What is the AIA architect’s experience in cost estimating? Is my budget in line with my project?
  10. What will be the AIA architect’s fee?
  11. What are the steps in the design process?
  12. How long is each phase expected to take?
  13. Will the AIA architect show me drawings, models, 3-D animations? What can I expect to help me “see” the project during the design phase?
  14. How will the AIA architect establish priorities and make decisions for my project?
  15. Who from the firm will I deal with directly (project manager)? Is it the same person as the designer?
  16. How busy is this AIA architect? Will my project be given sufficient attention?
  17. What services are provided during the construction phase?
  18. How long will the construction phase last? Will construction be disruptive and, if so, in what manner?
  19. Under what circumstances might changes need to be made? How is that managed? What kind of changes would have an associated cost?
  20. How do I personally feel about this AIA architect? Do I feel understood? Am I confident in their abilities and their ability to deliver? Do I think we will have a good working relationship?