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Best way to find the experts in my area

dorcey1 | Posted in GBA Pro Help on

What or where is the best resource to find the top green architects/designers and builders in my area?


  1. STEPHEN SHEEHY | | #1

    Mary: lots of architects will work with clients in distant places. Find some examples of houses you like and contact the architect. With a decent internet connection, you can have virtual meetings any time, any place.

  2. user-659915 | | #2

    I'm going to disagree with Stephen and suggest you stick to your goal of finding a good local professional. They'll be able to walk the land with you, connect you with good local contractors, they'll know the local terrain and climate and will be familiar with the best construction practices for dealing with them. Maybe equally importantly they'll be able to meet with you regularly and get to know your specific needs, preferences and personal esthetic far more intimately than is possible via phone lines and the internet. I've been there, done that as a design professional myself and I'll trade a hundred virtual meetings for an hour of actual physical face time, any day.

  3. charlie_sullivan | | #3

    A few ideas: One is to post your approximate whereabouts here, and you might get some specific suggestions. Another is to ask suppliers of materials you might want to use who they sell to in your area, if you have ideas about that. A third is to look for passive house certification, because even if you don't want to go that route, that indicates a level of understanding of the techniques you might want to include. Finally, once you find one professional you really like and trust, that's a good way to find more.

  4. dankolbert | | #4

    It shouldn't be that hard to find articles or coverage of interesting local housing. A few other ideas on where to look:

    US Green Building Council has many chapters around the country, with member directories
    As Charlie suggested, PHI and PHIUS (the 2 Passive House groups) have members all over the place
    If you're in any of the member states (Maine to Delaware) the Northeast Sustainable Energy Assn (NESEA) is probably the premiere organization in the country for inter-disciplinary collaboration and they have a member directory as well.
    The AIA has chapters all over as well and it shouldn't be hard to find member architects who would help
    Finally, I'd recommend your closest Habitat for Humanity. Chapters are increasingly involved in energy efficiency and were always at the forefront of other "green" issues - small, simple, re-use, etc.

  5. agurkas | | #5

    Angie's List is where I look 1st, then I look at their sites for their blogs, I look for articles about their work, etc. I am sorry, if in 2015 you don't spend time on your brand and share your knowledge, I don't want to work with you - you are outdated dinosaur. I will be the 1st one to use online resources and myself have employees in Europe I have never met in face to face, but when it comes to architects and trades, I want local, because my inspectors are PITA and so it my town. You need to understand that at estimating stage, otherwise I will end up with 2X the bill and I don't play that game.

  6. dorcey1 | | #6

    Thanks for all the input! We are in the Dallas TX area if anyone has any recommendations!

  7. dankolbert | | #7

    I have a childhood friend who is a very well regarded architect in Austin, at UT - he may know people more local to you - Kevin Alter, Alterstudio

    Allan Edwards is a fantastic building contractor in Houston who is an occasional presence here on GBA - he may know someone too.

  8. dankolbert | | #8

    And I think Angie's List is a terrible place to either find or be a builder. Like all these "referral" sites, they've discovered the only way to make money is to sell the rights to "jigger" your rating by paying more. I avoid AL and similar sites like the plague, and would never recommend that a client go there to look for a contractor.

  9. agurkas | | #9

    Do you have actual facts or are you just speculating? Are you basing your statement on analysis of S1s and quarterly earnings statements?

    Just like other referral sites, AL is a GREAT resource. Contractors hate them and bitch about it, because being kept accountable hurts, if you are working, like it is last century and you think you can get away with crappy quality of workmanship just because everyone else does it. Any contractor you consider, you need to AL, Yelp, BBB, and Google+. You can't game all the sites and you notice that pattern emerges. Crappy contractor will have a trail of angry customers. Top notch one will have large number of in-depth reviews, because happy customers do "shout from the rooftops".

    Now as you are reading the reviews, if you aren't using your BS radar, then it is a problem with you, not with review site. Asking friends and family is simply not enough data points, when you are going to drop tens or hundreds of thousands into the project.

  10. dorcey1 | | #10

    Dan - thanks for passing along Kevin's name - he has been so helpful!!! By the way he sends his best to you!

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