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Considerations When Hiring an Architect

Having spent a significant portion of our careers with hard-hat hair, MNCLS knows how important collaboration can be to a construction business owner. While you might consider yourself a jack of all trades, there’s a good chance that you’ve got one skill set that stands out as your strongest — and has allowed you to succeed as a contractor and a business owner.

Construction isn’t a single-skill industry, however, and construction professionals will often have to partner up with outside support. In many cases, an architect can be a valuable tool for a construction project — but there are several considerations professionals need to make when hiring an architect in order to maximize the potential of the partnership.

In the interest of ensuring you make the most out of this valuable tool — and get the most bang for your buck — here are some things to keep in mind when hiring an architect.

Timing

While you can never hire an architect too early, any contractor will tell you — along with an anecdote or two to prove it — that you can hire an architect too late. An architect can be an instrumental tool in the planning, design, and construction process, but when not fully leveraged this tool can become cost-ineffective. To get your Minnesota construction project started on the right foot, loop your chosen architect in sooner rather than later.

Qualifications

Just as your clients and customers will want to ensure you have attained the proper licensure, it is in the best interest of all construction professionals to make sure that their chosen architect is up to snuff. Architecture is a heavily-regulated industry, but beyond licensure you will want to be sure that the prospective professional/firm has experience with a project of this nature and size. It may be in your best interest to consider many different firms or architects, in which case you can send your chosen collaborators a Request for Qualifications (RFQ). Not only will this narrow down a potentially lengthy list of professionals, but it will also allow firms to demonstrate why they are the right fit for your project. Think of it like online dating, but for construction professionals.

Fees

While you shouldn’t base your hiring decision solely on who has the most economical rate, cost is still an important consideration when hiring an architect. It will be difficult for an architect to quote you a fee without understanding the full scope of your construction project, so it is possible that financial responsibilities will not be discussed until after an RFQ has been submitted. At this stage, fees can help narrow down the last remaining candidates — but remember that cheaper isn’t always better, and a steeper rate is no guarantee of quality. With a wide breadth of capable Minnesota architects, you’ll be able to find a professional that benefits your bottom line without being the bottom of the barrel.

Documentation

Like any business relationship, having a contract to outline the responsibilities of each party will be vital. When bringing an architect into the picture, it will be the duty of the contract to ensure that the chosen professional accomplishes what they agreed to (at the agreed-upon rate,) and a contract can also account for redraws or other on-the-fly adjustments.

No matter the terms of the agreement, it’s crucial that you get the contract right — and MNCLS can make sure that your construction documents protect your investment. Contact us today to ensure that your bases are covered when it comes time to hire an architect.

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