Finding a green builder or architect is a lot like hiring any other kind of professional -- you have to know where to look and what questions to ask before you commit to a green architect. Though sustainable architecture isn't exactly new, the construction trades have been notoriously slow at integrating sustainable practices into the building process. And, like in many other fields, there's a lot of greenwashing in green architecture. Here's how to get started in finding a green architect.
Architect or Builder? The nature of the project will usually determine whether a green architect or a green builder or contractor is called in.
Meeting Your Green Architect. There’s a saying in the construction trades: It's a good project when the client talks a lot at the beginning, but it's a bad project when the client talks a lot at the end. In other words, speak up about your ideas, hopes and requirements before work starts, and save yourself from a lot of complaining, expense and heartache after the work is finished.
Choosing an Architect. Once you're ready to go, how do you find a good green architect or builder in your area? Word of mouth can be invaluable in your search, especially since you'll want to talk with former clients and visit other projects that your green builder or architect has completed.
What to Ask a Green Architect.
Again, remember to speak up at the very beginning of the project to ensure that your priorities are understood and addressed.
1. How many green buildings or sustainable projects have you worked on in the past?
2. What are your professional credentials?
3. Who in the firm will I be dealing with on a day-to-day basis? Maybe your architect has sterling green credentials, but in many firms, the bulk of the work is turned over to a junior staffer. Get to know all the team players, determine their green credentials, and find out who your main point of contact will be in the event of any questions or problems.
4. Can I talk to your prior clients and other references?
5. What kind of contractors and sub-contractors will be used?
6. What kind of cost savings will be achieved?
7. What's the overall design/bidding/permitting/construction schedule?
8. How will site work be made sustainable?
9. Will all these green issues be written into the contract?
10. Are there any other questions or considerations that we should include in this project?
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