Communicating your ideas to your architect through a design questionnaire

The Design Questionnaire


You are looking forward to beginning the design of your new home project, but where do you begin?  How do you communicate your ideas to your architect?  Well, a good place to start might be a design questionnaire.  Many design firms have a form that they use for clients to express their ideas.  Many times the form they use might be in the style of a questionnaire.


Design Questionnaires usually start with specific client/owner information.  This data is used for communication with the client as well as to notate on the drawing sheets for the construction documents.


Another question might address the site or lot where the new building will be located.  This information is helpful for the architect to know what sort of site conditions they might encounter when positioning the new house. Questions regarding the steepness of the land as well as views and sun exposure are very important when siting a building. Utility location and utility availability is also key information to know when considering the location of the new home.


Then, the questionnaire might propose general house questions.  For example, it could ask why you are building a new home, when you would like to have the house completed and if you have hired a general contractor to work with yet or if you might want to build the house yourself.


Another important question is what architectural style you might want the house to be. Do you want a rustic cabin or would you rather have a more contemporary ranch style home?  These are critical concepts to know prior to jumping into the design.


Aesthetic and structural information is also key to know.  Have you thought about what sort of foundation or structure you might want? Do you want to include timber within your home? Also, the questionnaire might start your thinking about the specific interior and exterior finishes you want to incorporate.


Also, design questionnaires usually list every room you might want in your new home.  This gives you an opportunity to list specific sizes or room relationships that are important to you.  This is also a good place to list outdoor adjacency or specific sun exposure requirements.


Specific plumbing fixtures or appliances can also be included on a questionnaire.  This information can be very helpful in designing spaces such as a kitchen or bathroom layout.


There may be additional items included in a questionnaire that I didn‘t cover, but these are a great way to start your design journey. The more information your architect knows initially, the better end product you will get!