It’s always nice to know what to expect when you do something new. And for most people, working with an architect is something new. So what happens after you decide to work with an architect and find one to call. During this first phone call, the architect will ask you some questions about your project: what you plan to do, where your home or building site is located, how soon you hope to start construction. You’ll probably have some questions you’ll want to ask too. For instance, how much experience she has with this type of project, how she charges for work, and whether she will provide 3-dimensional images of the design. If it seems like this architect is a good fit for your project, you’ll want to go ahead and schedule either an Introduction Meeting or a Consultation.
The Introduction Meeting has two main goals. First, it’s a chance to see if you and the architect have good “chemistry”. Is this someone you can communicate easily with? Do they seem to share your vision? Are they good listeners? And second, it’s an opportunity for you to describe your project in more detail. For addition and renovation projects, I like to meet at the house that we will be working on. That way we can walk through the house and see the areas to be transformed as we talk. This discussion is primarily about listening to what your needs are, so that the architect can get an idea of how much time will be involved in designing your project.
A Consultation meeting has different goals than an Introduction meeting. In this case, the purpose is to give you immediate information to help with decisions about your project. For instance, sometimes people shopping for a new house will want to know if there is a practical way to get a more open plan, or add on more space. Having an architectural Consultation before making an offer on a house can help you see its potential, or limitations, more clearly. If you have a very small project, like a kitchen renovation within existing square footage, a consultation can help you to think through the possibilities and suggest new ideas. Then you can take those ideas, and perhaps some sketches to your contractor or cabinetry supplier. If you’d like this kind of information exchange, you’ll want to discuss the consultation rate when you schedule your meeting. For most projects, however, the first meeting will be an Introduction that will help you and your architect prepare to work together over several weeks or months. Part of this preparation is answering the question “how much will the design and drawings cost”? Call me so we can talk about!