Design and construction can be a complex process. Below are a few questions to ask before hiring an architect as well as other typical design and construction questions. 

Q: When is the right time to get an architect involved in a project?

A: It is never too soon to get an architect involved.  Our services can begin as early as a feasibility study or a due diligence report on a property or building that is being considered for purchase.

Q: Do you specialize in one building type or ‘style’ of architecture?

A: We do not have a style per se; we try to make the aesthetics of each project fit the context, process and program. Our preference is to be honest with materials and current technologies. In that sense, we consider ourselves modernists.  Our experience lends itself to a wide-range of commercial projects; from renovations to adaptive re-use to new construction and modern residences.

Q: How important is it to have a project budget?

A: In our experience, a realistic budget is critical to a successful design project. However, initially it doesn’t need to be a fixed amount. A range is helpful. The reason a budget is important is it becomes one of the conditions used to set and achieve overall project goals. It’s good to remember that the total project budget should typically consider design fees, construction costs, contractor fees, and fixed equipment.  A contingency amount (5-10% of the total budget) for all projects is recommended to help with changes in scope or unforeseen conditions.

Q: How much do your design services cost?

A: Our fee is specifically tailored to each project and client.  Typically we establish a fee based on a project scope, budget, and timeline.  Depending on what is most appropriate, this can be provided as an hourly fee or a specified sum.  Our fee proposals outline exactly what services are being provided and how they relate to the project’s criteria, such as budget, deadline, etc., so that you always know exactly what you are paying for and what you will get.

Q: Do you only work in Asheville, North Carolina?

A: We work all over the southeast. While we are based in Asheville and do a majority of work in Western North Carolina, we are a regionally based firm providing our services as far as Northeast Ohio.  Our practice embraces technology to its fullest and can facilitate projects remotely. 

Q: What’s the #1 benefit of hiring an architect?

A: Most of our clients come to us with one pressing question in mind, “When can I open my doors for business?”. We understand. You need to get your business up and running, or renovate without losing hours of operation. We see it as our responsibility to create a design that will bolster your business, communicate the project to the builder and navigate the permitting process.

Q: What are the top characteristics to look for when hiring an architect?

A: Value. We are committed to providing a service that brings clarity and value to the design process.  Traditional practice is not in our terminology.  We are constantly exploring new methods and procedures to bring better value to our clients.

Creativity.  We bring passion to the process of design, and with that a high-level of creativity.  Architecture is about opportunities.  Exploring a project from multiple levels brings a better understanding of the inherent possibilities.

Communication.  One of the most important characteristics, our client’s are always informed and have the information they need to make confident decisions about their project.

Q: What if I want to discuss a potential project? Will that cost money?

A: Sparc Design provides free initial consultations. Contact us to discuss the particulars of your project.



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