In the traditional architectural project the client will hire the architect and in turn the architect will bring on any consultants and engineers that are necessary to deliver the project. Recently, I’ve seen a number of clients who prefer to hire all of the consultants and engineers directly without the architect holding those contracts. The perception typically is that there are some cost savings with this approach but it actually is detrimental to the process.
A big reason to have your architect hire the consultants is that they are then able to direct the consultants and the process. The architect’s role in the process should have them handing out direction to the team. When the direction has to come through the client it can slow the process and the mundane details can be overwhelming.
Another closely related reason is better coordination. The architect is the coordinator of the project. Even the best engineers do not coordinate with each other, that’s what the architect is for. By having the architect hold the major contracts they are responsible for delivering a coordinated set on a schedule and budget.
With that being said, there are conditions where the approach makes sense. Sometimes the client has hired the civil engineers or land planners on the front end before bringing on the architect. In other cases the consultants may be doing work that the architect won’t supervise, like soil testing or furniture acquisition. In any case, it advisable to discuss the consultants with your architect at the beginning of the process.