How to Choose an Architect

How to Choose an Architect

Commissioning architectural services

The aims and contents of architectural services are difficult to determine in detail in advance. The aims take final shape only during, and as a result of, the architectural design work. Architecture bears heavy responsibility for our society and the architectural design is heavily dependent on the personal skills of the service provider, so commissioning architectural services requires from the client a different kind of knowledge than, for example, purchasing goods. The selection process of an architect effects the preconditions on which he or she will be working and, thereby, the entire quality of the building project.

Much of the architectural design work is searching for alternatives, comparing them and making choices. All this takes time. Price competition is, in short, about minimising the selection of different alternatives and, thus, taking a planning risk. Competition between architects and existing services can benefit the client and the end user if the selection and commissioning process is carried out appropriately. The scope of co-operation can be either limited or more comprehensive, even to the point of expanding the customer–architect relationship into a fully-fledged partnership.

Choosing an architect is evaluating their project-specific performance

Architectural design is essentially creative work, and a large part of the design process is such that it cannot be anticipated or calculated in advance. Therefore, a mere price competition is ill-advised. In selecting an architect, the evaluation system should provide a systematic method of ranking the tenders according to both price and quality without discriminating against any bidders, so that the clients can be confident of getting the best possible value for their money.

It is in the interest of anyone engaging in a building project to employ an architect capable of dealing with the challenges posed by the project at as early a stage as possible.