Choosing the right Long Beach architecture firm can be paramount to the end result of a commercial or residential building project. One of the first things clients often consider is whether to go with a large, and often well-known, architecture firm, a smaller firm, or even an architect who works alone.
You may think that a small architecture firm or a freelance architect would be suitable for a small project—like a home remodel or small tenant improvement project—and a large architecture firm would be best for a large project—like a ground-up commercial build, but that’s not always the case.
What’s more important than the size of the firm is the capabilities of the firm and the type of service you will receive from them. I’m a Long Beach architect who heads up a relatively small firm with less than ten employees, but my firm is able to take on projects of just about any size or complexity. This is because, in addition to our talented in-house team, we also have an extensive network of professionals in specialized fields who can help us complete projects with special demands. Other small firms, individual architects, or even some large architecture firms in Long Beach might not be willing to take on such projects. They might not have the capabilities either.
All of this is to say that you shouldn’t make assumptions about an architecture firm based solely on the size of the firm. Rather, you should take a look at the firm’s website. Review their completed projects in their portfolio. Read their blog, if they have one. These pages will tell you a lot about a firm’s capabilities, the types of clients they work with, and their approach to projects. Some architecture firms in Long Beach only handle the design portion of the project. Others will also take care of the permitting process on your behalf. They may also be available to oversee the construction. You want to make sure the architect you hire will meet your expectations in these areas.
Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a few architecture firms that appear to meet your needs, you can start scheduling initial consultations. I recommend doing consultations in person, if at all possible. You want to get a good sense of who you will be working with—their personality, their communication style, and their willingness to listen to your concerns and take them into account. A successful project often comes down to how well you can communicate with your architect.
In general, a small architecture firm will provide you with more personalized service. You’ll likely be talking with the same person or small group of people every time you call or come in to discuss your project. A small firm has fewer clients to juggle and has more of an incentive to keep their few clients happy than a larger firm with a long list of clients. If personalized service is important to you, a small firm is probably the way to go. However, there are large architecture firms that place a high priority on personalized customer service—they are just a bit harder to find.
At my Long Beach architecture firm, I personally contribute to every project. Although my staff is very talented and competent, I still like to be involved with all of the clients that come through our doors and oversee their projects—if not designing them myself. I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Not only is it something I enjoy, but I know our clients also appreciate my involvement and my sincere interest in the success of their projects.short url: