Choosing the Right Architect for Your Commercial Design Project


Selecting the right project team is critical; this cannot be stressed enough. When choosing the team members who are responsible for the leadership and direction of your project, you can’t be too particular. However, as owner’s reps, we see a lot of mistakes made when selecting the project team members. Here are some tips to follow when selecting an architect for your commercial design project.


The Basics:

You can probably guess what these steps entail:

  • Of course, do your research. Look online, ask colleagues and peers, and if needed, read design industry publications.
  • Be sure that your design team has the experience and certifications that you are looking for.
  • Interview several architectural firms and teams. Be prepared to ask probing questions about their process, past successes, and how they work as a team. The interview is important. This is where you get a sense for who exactly you will be working with.
  • Check references. Be sure to call the references provided by the firm you intend to select. Ask the right questions- is there anything that the firm could have done differently? Would they work with the firm again? How were problems that came up during the design process handled?


Select the Best Architect for Your Project, Not Just the Best Architect: 

This is where the selection can go awry. Cohesion and “fit” among the project team is often what makes a project a success.

  • Don’t just hire a firm that has a great reputation. Does the team fit your needs? Your expectations? Your company culture? The most important criteria is that the design team is a good fit for your company culture and your project expectations.
  • As mentioned above, the interview is so important. Make sure that you are interviewing the team who you will be working with. Ask who your day to day contact will be. Spend a lot of time asking that person specific questions. This way, you can get a sense of style and attitude and determine if the fit will be good with your team.
  • Don’t forget that you are the client. You can hire a world-renowned architect, but if the team is not a good fit for your project, the project will not be a success. Get a sense of how the team will work with your team by asking them what they know about your project, and if they have any experience working with clients who are similar in style (not just project type!) to your company.
Katie Craven
Katie Craven is Marketing, Communication and Brand Manager at Watchdog Real Estate Project Managers, a real-estate consulting firm that provides owner’s representation and project management services. More about Watchdog Real Estate Project Managers as well as additional blog posts can be found here.
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