A few notes on interviewing architects

Here are a few pointers that we learned in the process of meeting with architects which may help you with your process. As I said before, I think we met with 6 architects, 1 of which was a design/build firm (although we didn't know that when we first contacted him) and 1 also did some of his own design work although he was not an architect. Although time consuming, meeting with each of the architects was fairly enlightening because we learned a lot about how they work and their general thoughts and ideas for the project. We had all of the interviews at our house so that we could give them a tour of our house, tell them our ideas, and they could get a feel for space.

Here are some questions that we asked the architects:

1) How many projects do you work on at one time?
2) When would you be able to start working on our project?
3) Have you done other projects like this?
4) How many years have you been doing residential design?
5) Do you generally work on new or old houses?
6) Do you have experience with Arlington County?
7) How often do you like to meet with clients?
8) How involved are in the building phase? Do you regularly visit the build site?
9) Do you have builders who you work with regularly? (Side note: You may want to get builders' references for your architect as well. We did not, but it wouldn't be a bad idea.)
10) What types of projects do you like working on the most?
11) Do you charge a flat fee or by the hour?
12) Do you have other employees who may work on this project?
13) Do you work with an engineer to confirm structural details?

Feel free to post additional questions which may be helpful to ask architects. Since we found all of these architects by referral, we found that we did not know quite a bit about how they worked, so we were really just assessing personality and compatability.