Creating a new interview room involves many steps, but a clear focus will help your project be a success. After you have built your pre-design team and worked to evaluate your facility options, you’re well on your way to entering the design stage.
For many organizations, this is the most exciting part of the process because you can finally start to visualize the outcome. Regardless of your timeline, working through a careful process for your final architect selection is key. Your architect’s expertise often gives them the final say in how your interview room will be arranged. Making the right call on this “missing piece” to your team will help ensure that everyone is satisfied with the results.
Interview Room Design Options
For some agencies, an architect advisor or consultant might have already been included for the pre-design team. Many groups, however, choose not to hire their architectural firm until they have more details in place. Either way, the selection process remains the same. Once agencies are ready to find their architect, they typically face two types of options:
The first option for architects will be those who are local to your area. Unless you’re based out of a larger city, these candidates usually include smaller firms. Your local options might be best if you’re looking for an architectural team that’s familiar with your area and has already completed regional projects nearby. A smaller firm might also give you team a better sense of community as you move forward with your design and construction.
On the other hand, you might choose to consider working with a larger firm, especially if they appear to have more experience. Often times, these groups will be based out of a larger city, located farther away from your jurisdiction. The benefit of these out-of-town architects is that they can bring unparalleled expertise to your interview room design.
For those reasons, many agencies choose to add nationally experienced facility consultants to their team. Agencies get the best of both worlds when they can combine the knowledge of a national advisor with the local attention that a smaller firm provides. While this strategy may not be an option for every agency, it’s definitely worth considering.
Questions for Design Teams
Paying attention to an architect firm’s experience will help you feel confident in your decision. As a general rule, this should come to at least five years in business. Any less, and they may not have the know-how you need for your new interview room. Recent experience with law enforcement facility projects is always a plus. For child advocacy groups, similar experience for child-friendly interview rooms would also be beneficial. Thus, the types of questions you should ask of your architect candidates should include:
- Recent experience
- Reference checks
- Preliminary plans
- Pending work
- Personal chemistry
While this first batch of criteria might be easily ascertained through a company website, the other questions might need to be asked directly. For example, formal reference checks can help you assess the team’s working style on other projects. Asking for a preliminary plan for the design process would also supply additional insight for your decision. It’s may even be useful to ask about the firm’s pending work on other projects. After all, you’ll want to be sure that they can dedicate the time you need for your new interview room.
The last question to ask yourself relates to your personal chemistry with the architect. This is perhaps the hardest question to gauge. With limited interactions, you may not be able to understand their teamwork skills right away. This is when your assessment of reference checks and testimonials can help guide your decision.
Finding your best fit for an architect will take time. You may feel that a small firm can do the job just fine, or you could choose to go with a larger group for your project team. On the other hand, you may go the same route of some agencies and decide to work with a combination of the two. If you need another experienced consultant for your team, know that iRecord is here to help. Our understanding of the interview room design and build process—and how your recording equipment will impact the room’s layout—can support your team’s ongoing success. To learn more, please send us a message or check out our other interview room articles. We’re honored to be a trusted resource for your project!