Building new structures and renovating old ones is a complicated and challenging process. In a lot of cases, the job needs to be put into the hands of a highly experienced local expert who can coordinate the whole process, and that usually means an architect. If you’ve got a building project coming up, you fortunately won’t have much difficulty locating a suitable architect and building firm in St Albans.
Assessing Practice Areas
Your first job is to pick out an architect whose experience matches your needs. While most firms do work in a variety of different areas, when taken as a whole you’ll definitely see trends. The biggest and most obvious one is whether a firm concentrates more on commercial or residential building.
Within the residential field, further specialization is mainly by job size (see below). Commercial architecture is a hugely sub-divided field, though. You’ll encounter architects and companies that have built whole careers out of incredibly specific resumes, like building almost nothing but healthcare facilities. There aren’t that many examples of tightly-focused architect firm in St Albans, but if you happen to find one that exactly matches your needs you’re in luck.
You need to weigh two different questions of size. The first is how large are the past projects the architect has overseen. Many firms make this easy by providing concrete figures (e.g. budgets and square footages) on their site when discussing past work. With other companies you may have to guess about size based on photos.
The size of the architect firm itself is also important. Firms generally have to be larger to handle larger projects. Don’t assume that a big firm isn’t suited for a little job, though! A larger firm with ample staffing is actually at an advantage in most cases because it can devote more resources to your job.
Speaking very generally, it’s easier for a large firm that’s familiar with major projects to “lean down” than it is for a small firm to do the reverse. It’s worth sticking with an architect you already trust to do a great job even if your project falls outside their comfort zone, though.
Checking Qualifications And References
As with any other professional, architects need to be vetted before you make any final selections confirm licences and professional certifications are in good standing with the relevant authorities. Prior to signing contracts, verify that the firm you’re working with carries proper insurance.
When it comes to references, architects are a lot easier to evaluate than some other professionals. A building’s architect is a matter of public record; it’s not usually possible for poor firms to hide their mistakes. Take the time to speak with a firm’s former clients. Inquire not just about their satisfaction with the firm’s work but also any difficulties they experienced in working with their architects.
There are not a lot of building projects you want to tackle without professional design expertise on your side. Fortunately, the St Albans area has some excellent options to offer you when it comes to architect firms. Take the time to research different local companies carefully before you settle on one. A great architect can make a building job a lot easier; a poor choice will end up making your project more expensive and frustrating.