There are three basic ways that architects determine their fees: hourly rates, fixed fee, or as a percentage of construction cost. There is no ‘right’ way to price these professional services – in fact the American Institute of Architects recognizes the validity of all three methods. Fees can vary widely based on location and the project’s scope. We can’t speak to how other firms price their services, but we can give you a detailed explanation of how we set our fees:
Clear Up-Front Pricing
Our two phase approach to pricing lets you know the total cost of our services very early in the design process, and provides you with a fee that is appropriate to the size and complexity of your project.
Phase I Fees
We need to understand your goals and the project constraints. You need to see some preliminary designs and get an idea of the construction costs. Phase I allows architect and client to come to an understanding of the project scope, and includes:
Site Visit | Field Survey
Preliminary Cost Opinion
The fee for Phase I is hourly. Phase I typically requires 30-40 hours of work. There is no obligation to continue to Phase II.
Phase II Fees
Phase II includes the professional architecture services required to complete the project and to prepare Design Development and detailed Construction Documents, consisting of the drawings and material specifications needed for bid, building permit, and construction. Phase II also includes client advocate services associated with Contractor Selection, Construction Administration, and Project Closeout
Once you have decided to proceed with one of the Schematic Design options, we will prepare a detailed fixed fee quote for the Phase II services, based upon how much time needed to complete each task. This approach has a number of advantages:
Fixed – fees won’t change during the project
Appropriate – fees are directly related to the size and complexity of your project
Transparent – you are able to see exactly what services we are providing to you
Independent – based solely on our level of effort, not a percentage of construction cost
Total Architecture Costs
We strongly believe that the two phase fee structure outlined above is the most equitable method for both architect and client. It allows both parties to understand the entire scope of the project before committing to the full fee. We also understand that you may need to have some idea of what the total fee could be even before going forward with Phase I. Though we do not quote our fees based on a percentage of construction cost, historically our total fees (Phase I & II) range between 5%-6% for large single family homes, 8%-10% for large renovations, and 10%-12% for small to mid size additions and renovations.