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 August 1, 1999

HOW TO SELECT A COMMERCIAL ARCHITECT

Professional references are one of the best ways to find an architect. By asking business acquaintances about architects they have worked with on designing buildings, you may find one who has experience in your particular industry.

Be sure to check with businesses that have constructed buildings in the last five years since the construction market can shift dramatically within a short period.

The American Institute of Architects, with the Colorado North Chapter representing Boulder County and much of the Front Range, is another excellent source of information. Each year the AIA recognizes innovative new designs — including both residential and commercial projects — as well as historic renovations, and you may want to review which architectural firms have been honored for their past work. For information on the AIA, call (303) 446-2266.

Also look for an architect who has experience designing the type of building you’re planning — a warehouse, manufacturing plant or office. Different types of buildings have specific needs, and an experienced architect will more easily be able to bring in a plan that meets your budget and schedule requirements.

After looking over the field, you can set up initial meetings with a few architectural firms and inquire about their history in meeting budgets and staying on schedule. Also ask to see other buildings they have designed that are similar to the one you propose.

Architectural firms often take prospective clients on tours of buildings they have designed to give them a better feel for their talents.

Remember that the design of your building — no matter what type of building it is — should reflect a quality corporate image within the budget constraints of the project. Look at the architects’ buildings or their portfolios to see if their designs result in that type of look you’re seeking.

During interviews, you may want to ask them about their professional strengths and weaknesses. Many architects specialize in certain types of commercial buildings.

Once you’ve narrowed down the list of architects by their professional skills, you may want to meet further with the finalists. You should have a comfort level with the architect since you’ll be working with him or her for some time.

Ultimately, you’ll have to trust the architect you select to work within your financial and time constraints.

At this point, you may want to ask two or three firms for fee proposals. These would cover the basic services of designing the building, the interior design and space planning. With the bids in front of you, you can evaluate the proposals and make your selection.

Professional references are one of the best ways to find an architect. By asking business acquaintances about architects they have worked with on designing buildings, you may find one who has experience in your particular industry.

Be sure to check with businesses that have constructed buildings in the last five years since the construction market can shift dramatically within a short period.

The American Institute of Architects, with the Colorado North Chapter representing Boulder County and much of the Front Range, is another excellent source of information. Each year the AIA…

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