Many people contact me with a good amount of fear with regards to gaining a new place. Design fees, construction costs, liking the product, logistics, longevity of building, practicality, and attractiveness are some of the things to navigate. Although working with an Architect is not a guarantee of getting all of these to a favorable status, we can help with better odds of achievement.
Here is a quick picture that might help. Gather your needs, wants, and constraints together. It is more important to get all of the raw data together than to make something highly organized. Leave the organization to your Architect. With a full brain drain of all things that have crossed your mind, your Architect will more quickly come back to you with options for you to consider that resonate. You’ll work through the options until a option that you like is found.
This option will then be clarified into construction drawings that can be bid or brought to a single construction company for a negotiated bid. The main thing with this is references, references, references. I recommend getting the AAAAAA construction companies that are highly trustworthy. I also strongly recommend using a construction company or construction manager to handle the overall construction and not to play general contractor yourself. You will only be offering a one off relationship with the sub-contractors and will have trouble getting them to perform. Also, the choreography of getting the various trades and material to show up at the right time and in the right sequence is vital and can lead to significant problems if not properly arranged.
The other things I can recommend is to arrange the compensation with the Architect on a percentage, square foot, or lump sum agreement when possible. Hourly works on occasion when the scope cannot be ascertained. Hourly though can lead to limited communication in efforts to minimize fees. Communication is vital.