Well, while we're on the subject;Assuming they do decide, once we move to our next building, to actually take my advice and have a consultant involved in the planning stages from the very beginning, who would you guys recommend?
Or even stepping back from specific companies to recommend, what sort of questions should we be asking in order to distinguish a good consultant from a bad one?
Jason, your situation is all to common and it is surprising how many churches will say that the primary mission of their worship spaces relates directly to communications but they then try to cut corners or 'make do' regarding the acoustics, audio and video systems for the space.
As Dick noted, references can be good although it is important that the references be able to provide an accurate assessment... In general, there are three areas you may want to assess. One is technical competence, the second is relevant experience and the third is simply how well you 'click'. That latter can be very important as you want your consultant to share your vision and goals and to be able to work well with you.
I think Dick got to the essence of the question suggesting to get references of prior clients of the consultants. I don't think it is realistic to expect to learn enough acoustics to be able to judge, based on your new knowledge of acoustics, the better acoustics consultant or the better advice from a field of 2 or 3 different competent consultants. Looking at end results would be much more realistic and more helpful. References could be very helpful, also if you can go and see (hear) one or several of the completed projects of the consultant(s), that would seem to me to be another valuable source of information for a non-acoustician to judge which acoustics consultant to hire.
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