Creative differences are bound to crop up as you complete your home remodeling project or new home construction. You and your architect may misunderstand each other, or you may find that you have different visions for the project. Most of the time, you can work through these disagreements to find the best way to move forward. Sometimes, however, you may find that you and your contractor are irreconcilably different. When this happens, it may be time to find a new professional.
Signs you should head in the other direction
If you’re still searching for an architect, you’ll want to do everything you can to find the perfect one. Run the other way if you meet with an architect who:
- Doesn’t want to sign a contract
- Won’t give you referrals from previous clients or show you portfolios
- Has a pushy demeanor
- Gives you low-ball or high-ball estimates
- Insists no permits are needed for your project
- Only takes cash payments
- Wants payment for more than 50% of the project up front
- Isn’t licensed, bonded or insured (if required by your state)
When to fire your architect
As you plan and carry out your remodeling project, communication with your architect is critical. If they’re hard to reach, difficult to talk to, or act unprofessionally, they may not be the best architect for your project. A good architect knows that they can’t operate in a vacuum; they must work with their client to find the best possible solution for their client’s needs. If you find yourself questioning your partnership with your architect, think carefully, and watch out for these sure signs that it’s time to send them packing:
Inattentive architects: As the homeowner, you have every right to be in a give-and-take partnership with your architect. If, instead, your architect is hard to reach, expects to have free reign over your project’s design, and refuses to consider your feedback or incorporate it into the final design, you may want to consider moving on. Your remodeling project should be exciting and fun, not cumbersome and unpleasant.
Too many changes: If you already have a contract, but your architect keeps adding new tasks or changing your project’s budget unexpectedly, take it as a warning sign. One or two small changes might not be a cause for concern, but constant changes to your project’s scope are unnecessary. Plus, if they are charging by the hour you’ll end up paying for all the additional revisions. Review your contract with your architect, and be firm about what is and is not acceptable. If they continue to push, look for someone who won’t.
Failure to fix mistakes: Most of the time, your architect will see mistakes and fix them before you ever even notice they exist. However, architects are human and sometimes they miss things. If your architect makes a small mistake, try not to worry too much. However, if your architect continuously makes mistakes or doesn’t fix problems even after being informed of them, it may be time to fire your architect.
Delay after delay: If you have set a timeline for completing your project, and your architect keeps pushing the deadline out without a valid reason, take it as a red flag that it may be time to find a new architect. Minor delays are acceptable and unforeseen circumstances can force a project to fall behind schedule, but your architect signed a contract and they should do everything in their power to stick to it. Go over the original contract with your architect and show them the clauses that spell out deadlines. If they still fail to fulfill their obligations, send them walking.
Making the decision to fire your architect is hard, but sometimes it needs to be done. This is your project and your money, you should be happy with the outcome.