Tips for finding architect

By John North - Contributing columnist

As the warmer months approach, people begin planning their summer projects. For many of these people, the summer projects involve an architect. Building projects and renovations often require the help of an architect and your BBB has some information to help you pick the right one.

There are currently 6,570 registered residential architects in the state of Ohio and 225,000 across the nation. Over the past year, your BBB has received more than 85,000 inquiries about architects across North America. In the past year, 460 local inquiries have been made to your BBB about architects.

The first question people should ask themselves is whether or not they actually need an architect. Architects can be expensive and it is important to know they offer many different services. In general, if your floor plan is changing, it is recommended you use an architect. However, if you are doing smaller projects, you might not need an architect. If you do, you may want to review what specific services you need. Contractors are often able to handle the architecture of smaller projects.

If you do choose to use an architect, here are some tips to keep in mind and important questions to ask:

• Discuss pricing early. Before you get too far in the process, make sure you agree on the project budget. Inquire about what fees might charged.

• Interview several candidates before making a choice.

• Find a good fit. Trust your gut when choosing an architect. Go with someone who shares your vision and enthusiasm.

• Ask about experience/track record.

• Build a cooperative team. When choosing an architect and contractor, it helps to have a pair that will work well with each other. Consider a design-build firm. These have architects and contractors all under one roof.

• Find out what specific services the architect offers.

• Ask about the architect’s participation in professional trade associations.

• Do research on the architect. It is important to know his/her background and track record. What have others said?

• Read the contract carefully.

• Make sure you understand and agree to all its provisions before signing.

If you have any questions regarding hiring an architect, get help from your BBB, such as a list of BBB Accredited Architects and Business Reviews on ones you are considering. Visit or call 800-776-5301.

By John North

Contributing columnist

The writer is president/CEO of the Better Business Bureau in Dayton.

The writer is president/CEO of the Better Business Bureau in Dayton.