Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives

Working with Architects

Is an Architect Needed?

  • A registered architect is required by state law to design and supervise construction of any public building. This applies to any significant modifications or construction. If you need a construction permit or any structural changes are involved, you probably need an architect.
    • Determine what you want them to do.
    • Determine the chain-of-command and who will be authorized to serve as contact person to the architect.


Hiring an Architect

  • Hire someone who has experience with public libraries, preferably in Kentucky.
    • Library construction is a specialized process; you don't want to have to train your architect in library construction.
    • Hire an architect that is a good fit with your library regarding architectural goals, temperament, and management style.


Hiring Process

  • You are not required to bid for an architect.
    • You can hire directly.
    • You can hire using an interview process.


Hiring Specifics

  • Compile a list of candidates based on previous work, etc.
  • Invite candidates to interview and request the following items:
    • Resume;
    • Completed and ongoing projects;
    • Size of firm, areas of expertise, number of staff;
    • Other requested information.
  • Check references.


Architect's Fee

  • Fees can range from ± 12% for a small outbuilding to ± 6 % for a very large library.
  • Fees should be large enough to keep the architect interested in getting the job done right.


Standard AIA (American Institute of Architects) Contracts as Amended by KDLA

  • Use current versions which make the architect, not the contractor, responsible for the code compliance of the design.
  • Determine how often the architect will visit the site.
  • Consult with your lawyer before signing the contract.


Working with Designers

  • The architect works for the library – not the reverse.
  • Nurture mutual respect.
    • Be respectful of their knowledge and experience.
    • Don't forget that you have a lot of expertise with how libraries operate.
  • Be respectful of the architect's time.
    • Architects are usually working on more than one project at a time.
    • Expect to get the help and answers you need, but remember they have a lot going on.
  • Problems will occur.
    • A building project is a huge undertaking and something unforeseen will happen.
    • Work for and expect the resolution of problems.
    • The solution for some problems may require extra funds.
  • Chris' cup of coffee principle: Architects, consultants, and contractors like to build things. A cup of coffee and a reasonable attitude will do a lot to keep things moving smoothly.
  • Focus on function.
    • It's easy for boards to focus on colors, finishes, etc.
    • This is natural as it may be the construction process with which many people are most familiar, but what matters most is how the building functions as a library.


An Architect Should Provide

  • Assistance in planning.
  • Assistance in defining the scope of the project.
  • A paper trail documenting design, bidding, work completed, changes, warranties, etc.
  • A design that will enable the owner to offer needed services and programs throughout the life of the building.
  • Advice regarding the selection of materials and systems that are appropriate to the client’s needs.
  • Drawings and specifications that will enable meaningful bidding and set minimum standards of quality for the project.
  • Supervision of the bidding.
  • Site visits to supervise the work and confirm that it is being done correctly and in conformance with specifications.
    • These usually occur once every week or two although you can pay for more.
    • The client only approves payments to the contractor after the architect has verified the completion and adequacy of the work.
  • Supervision of code compliance.
  • As-built drawings and specifications which are invaluable for repairs or remodeling.
  • Compilation of a punch list.
  • Assistance in making sure the client receives protection of manufacturer’s warranties and contractor’s guarantees.


The Owner Should Provide

  • A single point of contact.
    • The architect should have one official contact person who represents the board. This is usually the library director.
    • All questions, suggestions, changes, etc. go to architect, not the contractor.
  • Don't micromanage. You need to trust the architect and other professionals you've hired.
  • Good communications and team work amongst owner, architects/consultants, and the contractor.
  • Honest input from very beginning.
    • Modifications are harder to include as the project moves into the advanced stages.