L-R: Sabrina Patel, RA, Cher Anderson, Rachel Burton, RA, Lisa Tryssesoone
ARE THEY QUALIFIED AND REGISTERED?
Unlike building designers, architects cannot practice without a specific level of University education -usually 5 or 6 years followed by 2 years of post-graduate, on the job training. Architects are also required to carry professional liability insurance, register with the Architects Registration Board in the state in which they work and are also bound by the Architects Code of Conduct.
DOES YOUR PROJECT FIT THEIR SCALE AND SPECIALTY?
Like most professionals, architects work best on projects that are of a scale and type with which they are familiar and have the most experience. For example, Rachel at Swallowtail has extensive experience in residential projects -particularly larger scale renovations and custom-designed new homes.
HAVE YOU SEEN THEIR WORK AND/OR CONTACTED REFERENCES?
It is important to understand the range of projects your architect has completed and also how past clients and others feel about working with them. This will help you to know what to expect from them on your project. As you can see from the portfolio on the website (www.swallowtailarchitecture.com), Swallowtail is proud to display an extensive gallery of completed projects. References are available from clients, other professionals and also from builders who have enjoyed working with Rachel.
ARE THEY AVAILABLE AND ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT YOUR PROJECT?
Before you engage an architect, discuss your preferred time frame for the project and be sure that they are able to accommodate you within their workload. Also, satisfy yourself that your architect is as interested in your project as you are and that their enthusiasm won’t disappear once you have engaged them.
WHO WILL MANAGE YOUR PROJECT?
Often larger practices will assign a Principal Architect to your project who is responsible for meeting with you and communicating your ideas and comments through to another architect or draftsperson back at their office. As the client you may rarely, if ever, speak directly to the architect working day to day on your project. However Swallowtail is different – Rachel runs a small, sole-practitioner practice and every communication about your project is with Rachel. It is also Rachel that is responsible for both the design and the documentation of your project.
CAN YOU COMMUNICATE WITH THEM AND WILL THEY LISTEN?
Working with an architect, particularly on the design of your new home or renovation, can be a very personal experience. Your architect will need to know how you and your family live your day-to-day life in order to determine how to make your home work best for you. Make sure you engage and architect with whom you can communicate and one that you feel will always listen to your needs.
HOW EXTENSIVE AND/OR FLEXIBLE IS THEIR LEVEL OF SERVICES?
Not every project, or every client, for that matter, requires the full range of architectural services. You may even want to sample the architect’s service and then engage them on a stage-by-stage basis. You should look for an architect who is prepared to tailor their services to suit your needs. For example, do you need an architect that offers design and documentation as well as contract administration services during the build? Is your architect able to help you with the detailed design and specification of the interior components of the building, such as bathroom and kitchen design? Swallowtail is very flexible with the services offered; talk with Rachel about your specific needs.