Here are some of the architectural FAQ that Picklesimer Roberts Architecture can answer for you. Please do not hesitate to call us or visit our office if you require help with a FAQ that is not listed here, as we may very well be able to assist you.

Why should I hire an Architect?

In many instances, hiring an Architect is a requirement required by law, depending upon the project type and size. Other than legal requirements, you will find that hiring the right Architect will provide you with invaluable advice, imagination and coordination skills that will help the project proceed much smoother. The right Architect could also potentially save you significant costs over the life of your project, from proper site selection, material selection, and energy and life cycle cost analysis and construction administration.

When should I hire my Architect?

Ideally, you should hire your Architect as soon as possible. Architects can assist in proper site selection which can make the difference in a successful project. (for more information, see "SITE SELECTION" under SERVICES) Architects can also help you establish the total project budget (not just construction cost) early in the process and help you monitor the budget through-out the design and construction process.

The process of designing and constructing a project is getting more complicated every year. The time to design, document and coordinate a project may not be the most time consuming process. Many jurisdictions and agencies have complex and time consuming approval processes that need to be factored into the project schedule as soon as possible. Getting a good handle on the overall project schedule can significantly affect the economic feasibility of a project.

How do I go about selecting the right Architect?

Notice that the important issue is selecting the "right" Architect. Most Architects will have the basics needed to perform the services you need. All Architects are required to maintain licenses for each State in which they provide professional services. All Architects are required to complete a minimum number of continuing education courses each year. Please do not assume that everyone who offers "Architectural Services" are licensed Architects. Especially in poor economic times, many drafting services are trying to sell their services by confusing clients with misleading claims. Don't be shy to ask for proof of Licensure.

Just as all Architects have their commonalities, they also have significant differences. Firm sizes vary from one person practices to large international office with thousands of employees. (for more on this topic, see BIG vs SMALL) Many Architects consider themselves "artists" above all else. Others care little about the aesthetic issues and focus on providing the minimum services needed for a building permit. The majority of us are somewhere in-between these extremes.

Of course, the best way to select the "right" Architect is to sit down with the potential Architect and get to know them personally. While formal presentations are common for selection committees, individuals should consider less formal opportunities. Also, be sure to talk to former clients of each Architect under consideration. They can provide invaluable insight into the interactions between the Architect and their clients.

When in a formal interview, try to focus on the specifics of your project and get a feel for how the Architect plans to work with you to achieve your goals.

When selecting the "right" Architect, make sure to ask the following questions…

In order to assist you in interviewing or selecting the "right" Architect, we have developed an ARCHITECT SELECTION WORKSHEET that you can download from this site. The form (PDF format) is public domain and available for you to use "as-is" or modify to fit your specific needs.

How do Architects charge for their services?

As a very general rule, most Architects base their fees on a percentage of the overall project construction cost. This is the time honored and most prevalent fee basis in the business. However, we have developed a more project specific method for our fees. The first step is to sit down with you and discuss the project in as great a level of detail as possible. In this meeting we will discuss your project goals, budget (if determined), project schedule, approval process and any other pertinent information possible. Based on this information we will develop a detailed itemized spread-sheet based on the anticipated tasks and services required to meet your needs. This fee will typically include other associated professional services (if required) such as Structural Engineering, Civil Engineering, Landscape Design, Mechanical Engineering, Plumbing Engineering, Electrical Engineering and other necessary services. Typically, this method has allowed us to offer our services at a cost lower than the traditional fee structure.

Are you Insured?

YES. This is a great question that is often overlooked. As a professional, it is our responsibility to protect ourselves AND our clients. We carry both general liability insurance and Professional Liability Insurance. While we do not plan to utilize either, we do have large projects and clients that require coverage for a higher level of protection. Carefully consider the risks of hiring a professional that does not provide this level of protection.

What services do you provide?

PRa is a full service Architectural firm. We provide a myriad of services from early concept design to complete design, documentation and construction administration services. We also offer one year warranty inspections, egress mapping, fund-raising graphics, etc. For a more complete list, see the SERVICES section of this website.

No project is too big or too small, so give Picklesimer Roberts Architecture a call today for more information!