What You Need to Know to Select the Right Architectural Firm

1. What exactly is an Architect and how are they different from an engineer?

Glen Stephens draws upon the comparison of the Architect as being the conductor in a Orchestra—First in determining what should be done and when, and second in directing each individual member of the construction team, with a particular emphasis on utilizing each team member to their full potential and to the benefit of our clients.

Architects bring true beauty and soul to your building, balancing the budget and other important “trade-offs” in maximizing the uniqueness of your special requirements.

Architects and engineers have dramatically different educational pathways and licensing requirements—and they should! An Architect’s education includes a thorough study of design, architectural history, art, colors, and the humanities. Engineering, on the other hand, focuses on mathematics. Think of it this way: Architects design and create and an engineer calculates the system. Both are important (and valuable) members of a team that works best when each focus on their expertise. Without Architects all building would be the same pre-engineered boxes—mathematically correct but unfortunately with boring looks!

2. Why is it important to hire the “right” Architect?

The right architect will assist you in getting it right the very first time. The right Architect will be your champion at every step in the journey. They will provide the information and knowledge essential to the entire development process.

Based on our knowledge and 30 years of hands on experience, Team SAA! begins by carefully listening to all of your requirements and needs. Team SAA! specializes in helping you compare all of your desires and your budget, and in developing practical and sound solutions that work the very first time.

The right architect prepares sketches, plans, models and other important visual tools so you can see your building take place, wisely evaluating your options and making informed quality decisions.

SAA Architecture LLC continually presents you with all your options. At Team SAA! we provide factual information so you can make the very best decision for each of your projects: What are you contract options with a general contractor, traditional contracts, design-build contracts, negotiated contracts? Which construction management is right for you? These are yet a small sample of the decisions we will help you make so that your building will be right the first time. Remember, too, that at Team SAA! a senior partner is directly responsible for every project! We’re large enough to get your project done right the very first time, and sensitive enough to all your needs to deliver a project that brings out the envy in all of your associates!

Decisions about the permit process must be carefully reviewed and evaluated: fast tracking, peer review, priority projects, express reviews, walk through permits, and what are the options for your project? These difficult questions and more are our specialty!

3. Other than now, when should you hire an Architect?

Our experience has demonstrated that sooner the better is the Right Answer. According to Murphy’s Law: “There is always time to do it over and never time to do it right the first time.” The right architect will assist you all the way from site selection and site evaluation, providing critical recommendations about securing geotechnical evaluations, flood plain review(s), to access traffic information and studies, and zoning information. Sadly, lots of clients are painfully unaware of what levels of environmental assessment are necessary with projects. And what about selecting surveyors? Who are the best ones to use for your job? All of these critical issues and important questions are just the kind of special things we do at SAA Architecture LLC for our clients.

4. Who should the Architect work for?


5. How does hiring the right Architect continue to save you money?

There are many important ways the right architectural firm will save you money. For starters, they can prevent you from selecting a project site that will require excessive capital and effort to develop, or from selecting a site you can’t develop at all! The right architect can help YOU avoid sites with hidden and expensive sub-surface problems, and help YOU in developing and selecting cost effective options.

After thoroughly listening to all of your requirements, the right architectural firm will make well-grounded suggestions and offer practical and effective alternatives, as well as uncover other requirements to get these items on the drawing board well before pricing.

The right architectural firm will prepare a quality set of construction documents. The right architectural firm will guide you through the selection process for hiring the all-important general contractor. They will be there evaluating change orders and pricing, saving your money and your time.

6. How will hiring the wrong architect cost you money?

The ways are numerous and the implications are absolutely staggering! At SAA Architecture LLC, we regret having seen so many clients who (unfortunately) had work performed by the wrong architectural firm, with disastrous consequences ranging from incomplete drawings to insufficient knowledge about local code interpretations and building practices. Some of these wrong firms have had the unmitigated audacity to not include construction administration services and important worksite observations in the scope of their work, effectively leaving YOU—the one paying for it all!—at the mercy of permit review officials and the general contractors.

7. Reasons you might NOT hire SAA Architecture LLC.

Glen has worked for years developing and our expertise in assisting client to achieve the best possible result when all things are considered. Our comprehensive list of referral replete with repeat business let’s us know, everyday, just how much our clients appreciate our critical role and successful championing in their innovative projects, which are, of course, designed to last. What we know and what we do, others readily confirm, we do very well!

However, we are not the firm to select for single family housing, hospitals, prisons, or stadiums. But we are the firm to call to get a like-minded referral for the right architect for these types of projects. And remember to leave prison work for the wrong architectural firms—just kidding!

SAA Architecture LLC will not be right for you if you are looking for an architectural firm that sits on their duff when a general contractor wants to take advantage of a client!