Selecting an Architect

To begin, you will want to obtain the names of several architects from more than one source. You can ask for recommendations from someone you know who has worked with an architect. You can also look in the yellow pages of the telephone directory or visit the find an architect section of this website.

Basic Criteria

Prior to selecting an architect, you need to develop basic criteria for your project and provide this to the architects being considered. The basic criteria for your project should include, but not necessarily be limited, to:

  • the services you expect the architect to perform;
  • the size, appearance, and functional requirements of your project.
  • what you intend to spend for construction;
  • what materials you wish to use;
  • anticipated starting and completion dates of your project; and
  • how you intend to construct the project.
Request for Information

You should request information on qualifications and experience from several architects. After reviewing their qualifications, you may want to interview a number of architects to determine their understanding of your project and their compatibility in working with you. During the selection process, you may want to ask some or all of the following questions:

General Information
  • Do you have a valid California architect’s license? If so, what is your license number?
  • Do you carry insurance? If so, what type(s)? How long have you carried each type and what are the policy limits?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • How many persons are employed by your firm?
  • Do you intend to use consultants for this project? If so, whom do you propose to use? What are their qualifications and your experience with them?
  • What percentage of your practice involves the type of structure I intend to build?
  • May I see examples of your previous projects that are similar to my project.
  • When and what was your most recent project?
  • May I have the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the clients whose projects you are using for these examples?
  • What was the actual construction cost versus budgeted cost for these projects?
  • What services do you propose to provide for my project?
  • Who will provide these services, you or your employees?
  • What will the fee schedule be?
  • How will your fees for my project be determined and what services do the fees cover?
  • Will you provide probable construction cost estimates for my project?
  • If consultants are necessary, are their fees included in your basic fee?
  • What additional costs or services do you anticipate for my project?
  • How do you establish your fees for additional services and reimbursable expenses?
  • Will there be a charge for redesign if it is necessary to meet the construction budget?
  • Will there be additional charges for changes required by the building department or other government agency?
  • How are additional charges computed for design changes requested by me?