Choosing an architect is not simple, but doesn’t have to be stressful. Remember that the person in control is ultimately you, and you should choose someone who makes you feel comfortable and who guides you through the process with care.
A well designed project is the ultimate reward to patience and persistence. So here are nine main things you should know before you hire an architect in Costa Rica:
- Make sure you architect is a local, licensed architect, and that is an active member of CFIA, the local architects and engineers professional association.
If you already have a design, you will need to ‘nationalize’ your blueprints with a local Costa Rican architect. They are the only ones who know local codes and are able to legalize your project within these codes. This is the only way you get a construction permit in Costa Rica.
- Choose 3-5 architects in Costa Rica that friends or business associates have recommended you, or that you have found on the web, to bid on your project. Set a meeting with them and ask about their fee structure, expected budget and explain your project type.
- Check for his/hers team of structural and electromechanical engineers, also interior designers and landscape architects if needed. An architect will likely consult these professionals through out your design.
Find out if any of these costs are covered in the fee or if you’ll be billed for those separately. Commonly in Costa Rica, electromechanical and structural consultancies are included in the architect’s fee for blueprints.
- If possible, try and visit your architect’s previous projects. See and feel the spaces he/she created by yourself.
- Choose your architect based on the architectural style you prefer. Many architects are experts in either, contemporary architecture, neo-colonial style or sustainable architecture.
An architect is able to design any style, but an architect’s beliefs, personality and thoughts will be expressed through his/her architecture. Try to select your likes too and conveniences of each style.
- Do not opt for the cheapest architect. Your choice of architect should depend on the quality of the service he/she provides. Not the fee. So ask to see examples of previous work before asking how much they charge. Sometimes you have to pay a little bit more to ensure you get the best possible results for your project.
- Chemistry is important! Use your intuition to know if your architect is really interested in your wishes, and who genuinely cares about your needs and desires.
Evaluate if he/she is really into the project or not. Is he/she getting personal or not? Is he/she really getting what you want? Is he/she excited about your project? Make sure the architect you select is clear about your aims, notice how he/she communicates and carries her/himself.
- Be sure to start a design process with a preselected contractor. You can find him on your own, or your selected architect can recommend one for you.
Make your contractor and architect work as a team in early design phases, this way you will avoid many budget and coordination issues in the future. Whether you or someone you know has built a project before you’ve certainly heard plenty of horror stories: cost overruns, schedule delays, poor construction quality, fight amongst owners, architects, and contractors.
You can avoid all these situations by bringing the contractor and the rest of the design team onto the project early so the design can be carefully worked out to meet the budget. This way everybody familiarizes with the project early on, so there are less surprises during construction.
- If you’re looking for good design and sustainability, try to think like an architect: don’t accept the lowest lowest bid just to save money. Architects know that low construction bids usually result in changes in the field later, poor construction oversight and hassle for the client. Rather than just spending money, invest in your architect.
Costa Rica Architect Customer Testimonials.
The following customers were personally contacted by Scott Oliver, the founder of WeLoveCostaRica.com and these testimonial emails were received:
Received: Thu, May 13, 2010 at 8:12 AM.
“Dear Mr. Scott. Just a few words to describe Gloriana: creative, enthusiastic, very talented and committed to the satisfaction of her clients. She displays a strong level of responsibility and has the ability to maximize the potential of every space paying attention to the small details and still work within the client’s budget. I’m very satisfied with the work she did for me and would absolutely recommend her.” Cecilia Calderon. Costa Rica.
Received: Tue, May 18, 2010 at 8:30 AM
“Dear Scott. Gloriana is the architect of my small housing project and from the beginning captured the original idea on how I wanted my house. She has successfully integrated concepts such as management of space, lighting and natural ventilation, bioclimatic elements, use of alternative building materials, to get a perfect blend of contemporary architectural elements and some of the traditional architecture of Costa Rica.
The end result has been a great balance between beauty and affordability. She also helped me in aspects of interior decoration and thanks to Gloriana, I’m sure my house will have a feminine, elegant and warm atmosphere. In conclusion, Gloriana’s professional services are simply the best.” Christian Villalobos Chavarria. Costa Rica.
Received: Wed, May 26, 2010 at 8:44 AM
I have known Gloriana Mejia for over 15 years and she has always been a very responsible, intelligent and dynamic person, dedicated 100% to her work. She is very aware of the client’s needs and she is able to convert something simple into something great.
I gave Gloriana the design work for my vacation home and also my office which is why I recommend Gloriana and guarantee you she’ll do excellent work for you.” Carolina Quiros. Costa Rica.
Written by Costa Rica Architect Gloriana Mejia of DottArchitecture who focuses tropical modern architecture and believes in following very basic principles: simplicity as a guide for good design, compact areas as a solution for space, passive solutions for sustainable architecture and context as a main character of the frozen music that architecture is…
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