How to Choose a History Architecture Consultant
- Consultants can be very helpful to you in completing historic preservation
projects. Their expertise can be invaluable, providing a rewarding experience
for you or your community when planning historic preser-vation.
How Should I Begin to Select a Consultant?
- Before you do anything else, define your project carefully in writing. Lists
of consul-tants who work in Ohio are available at the Ohio Historic Preservation
Office, though the office does not endorse or recommend any consultant. Investigate
con-sultants enough to enable you to identify several who appear to meet your
needs. Invite them to submit proposals for your project based on the written
description you provide them with.
How Do I Judge Consultants?
- You should consider the specific needs of your project as well as the consultants'
individual fields of expertise. The final decision will be based on the competence,
qualifications and capability of undertaking your historic preservation project.
Always keep in. mind the qualifications necessary for your project, including
demonstrated previous experience in similar endeavors. Each consultant's proposal
should be evaluated to ensure that the firm is qualified for, understands
and can com-plete your job. Compare acceptable pro-posals and select the consultant
with the best proposal and best price.
How Do I Determine Whether A Consultant is Qualified?
- A prospective consultant should have a healthy mix of education and experi-ence
relevant to your project. Consid-eration should be given to consultants with
a graduate degree in a closely related field; in some cases, significant work
experience can substitute well for a graduate degree.
- A prospective consultant should have the necessary experience, staffing
and availability of technical and support services to complete the project.
- For some projects, a consultant must meet specific professional qualifications.
The Ohio Historic Preservation Office can assist with questions about what
qualifications to specify for your project.
- Especially for surveys and National Register of Historic Places nomina-tions,
a consultant should demonstrate familiarity with the specific kinds of historic
property types in the project area and the various tech-niques of historical
research needed to complete the project.
- Especially for compliance projects, in which the effect of undertakings
on historic properties is determined in accordance with Section 16 of the
National Historic Preservation Act, a consultant should be able to explain
procedures and recommendations to you clearly so that you understand what
is needed, why it is needed and how to evaluate and use the finished products
- Can the consultant demonstrate a record of satisfactorily completing projects?
Have prospective consultants submit copies of relevant previ-ous work. Contact
several clients from the list of references and ask whether reports and other
documents were thorough, neat, submitted on time and otherwise acceptable.
- Does the consultant have good communication skills and demonstrate an understanding
of your project, needs and goals? The consultant should offer direct answers
to all of your questions.
- Has the consultant provided evidence that he or she is staying current with
trends in his or her area(s) of expertise (e.g. by attending or participating
in courses, conferences and workshops).
- History/architecture consultants, like consultants in any other field, charge
a fee for their services. Generally speaking, you can expect the cost of a
consultant to be equal to what you would pay other professionals working an
equivalent amount of time.
- In the proposal, the consultant should clearly state the products that will
be delivered for the cost proposed and present a time frame, with beginning
and ending dates, including deadlines for any drafts you require.
The following checklists provide basic outlines for preparing and reviewing
requests for proposals and reviewing products submitted by consultants. Tailor
these to the specific needs of your project. The Ohio Historic Preservation
Office can provide sample requests for proposals.
Writing Requests for Proposals
Information Provided by Client
Information Requested from Consultant
- project description
- area characteristics
- goal of project
- scope of work
- task outline
- specific requirements
- level of community input
- products to be generated
- number and nature of products
- format requirements
- presentations expected before, during, after project
- time requirements and deadlines
- pre-proposal conference (if any)
- client responsibility/involvement selection criteria
- client contact address/phone
- proposal deadline: date and time
- qualifications required/requested
- education (c.v. or resume)
- meets professional qualifications
- relevant previous work sample(s)
- list of previous clients
- samples of relevant previous work
- methodology or approach
- statement of products
- cost (may be separate if requesting qualifications first)
- establish review committee
- use established selection criteria
- qualifications meet requirements
- previous experience relevant
- methodology satisfactory
- work samples satisfactory
- staffing adequate for job
- schedule reasonable
- references satisfactory
- cost competitive
- use objective rating system
- notify all applicants of decision
- maintain regular contact with consultant
- enforce deadlines
- carefully review all submissions
- content meets expectations
- product neat, complete and organized
- conclusions/recommendations well stated
- graphics appropriate
- coordinate with Ohio Historic Preservation Office
- comply with submission requirements (if any)
- consider furture use of products/findings
- public education
- presentation of results to client/public
- dissemination of products/finding
Specific Product Consideration
Historic Properties Survey/Inventory Report
- research design
- meetings/public participation
- individual inventory forms and area maps
- computer coded(if required)
- evaluations of properties/area
- data management
- location of original notes, negatives, etc.
- state whether data computerized locally
- describe report dissemenation
National Register Nominations
- history of area or district
- illustrated reveiw of architectural styles present in are or district
- glossary of architectural terminology
- description of local review process
- role of commission/board
- application forms/procedures
- copy of local ordinace(s)
- illustrated design guidance organized by interior and exterior architectural feature
Booklets, Tour Guides, Other
- completed nomination form
- all sections completed
- United States Geological Survey Map
- b&w photos/color slides as required
- accuracy/quality of content
- neatness and readability of narrative
- appropriate graphics
- well-designed product
- includes sources of additional information.
For more information see: "Using Professional Consultants in Preservation,"
Information series No. 26, 1994, available from the National Trust for Historic
Preservation, 1785 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036, 202/673-4296.
For more information about Choosing a History Architectural Consultant contact
the Ohio Historic Preservation Office