9 Questions to Ask your Commercial Architect

9 essential questions for any business person to ask their commercial architect.


Hiring a commercial architect for your building project means making a significant financial commitment to the build. In order to make sure that you are going ahead as safely as possible, you will want to carefully consider each architect on their individual merits before choosing the one you feel is best qualified to carry you through to completion.

What to ask a commercial architect before hiring:

  1. What kinds of insurance do you carry?The problems that can be caused by a commercial architect without the right insurance can be financially disastrous. Find out what the requirements are of architects in your area and for the kind of build you have planned, and see whether you can find an architect who meets or exceeds these requirements.
  2. May I speak to your colleagues?When working alongside any professional, their communication skills are vital. Try to speak to the subcontractors and other colleagues with whom the commercial architect is associated, and find out their views of the architect’s working style. Find someone who is thought of as fair, polite, and professional.
  3. May I see a portfolio of your recent works?Being a leader of business, you will need to ensure that the commercial architect your hire is able to maintain your brand equity. A book of completed projects or an online portfolio of works is a good reference which can aid you in evaluating an architect’s skills and design ideas.
  4. Why did you decide upon A/B/C?As you look through the portfolio of works, ask questions about certain design elements, schemes, and solutions. This will help you to understand that particular commercial architect’s working methods.
  5. How do you define quality when it comes to element A/B/C?Commercial architects, like all building professionals, should use good quality materials. Opting for cheap materials will cost you in the long term as they require replacing due to wearing. Do some research yourself and find out what the best products are for the job. When you know what is best, you can decide whether your potential architect knows what to look for.
  6. Can you show me some references? 

    When you hire an architect, you are essentially taking on an employee. Look into their working history and get some references which will help you to evaluate the professional’s work and working style.

  7. Do you provide any digital or physical models? 

    For a lay person, it can be difficult to interpret the blueprints of a design. A good commercial architect should be able to supply models, whether digital or physical, to show a client the intended outcome of their designs.

  8. How long will the project take, and what guarantees do you offer? 

    Build projects in a commercial setting can be very disruptive to business. You will want to plan around the works going on, so knowing the timeline is important. You will also want to know what your architect will do if the work goes over schedule.

  9. Are you solely a commercial architect? 

    There are great differences between commercial and residential architecture. Different processes, laws, and techniques must be observed for each. Go for a someone who practices solely as a commercial architect. They will know the processes better, and should have plenty of relevant work in their portfolio for you to get a good idea of their abilities.


Image: Ian Paterson

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