Tip Sheet on Working with Architects

The selection of an architect is based on professional knowledge, experience, and understanding of the specifics of the project. Program staff can use this tip sheet to further their understanding of how to maintain a working relationship with an architect.

As you begin your facilities development project, consider the following tips for working with an architect:

  • Guard against "runaway design." The relationship with the architect is extremely important. One of the jobs of the architect is to design a building that is both functional and pleasing to the eye. It is the grantee's job to ensure that both functionality and aesthetics are affordable.
  • Establish contract timeframes for the various phases of the project.
  • Pick firms with Head Start experience, if possible.
  • Negotiate, negotiate, and negotiate the architectural fees.
  • Identify and define in the contract all items eligible for reimbursement.
  • Guard against mechanical and engineering over design.
  • Work with one principal architect.
  • Watch pay requests, making sure percentage completed equals amount paid.

Role in the Bidding Process:

The architect and/or project manager plays a key role in documenting the reasons for awarding a contract to the lowest best bidder rather than the lowest bidder. The architect is important in the entire bidding process. In most cases, the architect and/or the project manager works with the agency's administration in the following:

  • Developing the bid
  • Advertising
  • Conducting the pre-bid conference
  • Conducting the bid opening
  • Qualifying the apparent low bidder
  • Recommending to the agency's administration a construction contract award
  • Conducting a pre-construction meeting
  • Verifying all bonding and insurance requirements of the contractor