Typically the first question from potential clients is,” How much do you charge for…?” If one has never used an architect before they will find that the answer to this question is not so straight forward. Architects typically develop their fees based on the services required of them.
There are several different ways in which architect fees may be structured. The most common fee structure is a percentage of the cost of construction. However, this type of fee may not be appropriate for all types of projects and is typically utilized on larger projects. Smaller projects, projects with a limited scope of work, or projects of a specialized nature may utilize either a “negotiated” or “stipulated sum” fee, an “hourly” rate fee for services rendered, or a “cost-plus” fee.
In the case of a large project, which SCArchitect, Inc typically defines as having a construction cost of $500,000.00 or greater, a percentage of the cost of construction fee is typically recommended. This fee would include all standard architectural services; project analysis, schematic design, design development, construction plans & details, specifications and construction administration as well as structural, electrical, and mechanical engineering consultant costs. Standard architectural fees do not include such specialized design consultants required for Needs Assessments, Programming, Acoustical Engineering, Interior design, Landscape Architecture, Civil Engineering, Food Service of commercial kitchen planning and design, and Construction Cost Estimating. These services may, however, be provided through the Architect if required or requested as an additional service.
We recommend that a meeting be arranged to discuss the purposed project and the services desired or needed, to determine the best fee structure for the project. We almost exclusively utilize the percentage of the cost of construction fee structure as it allows our firm and our client the most flexibility in manipulating through the design and construction variables without creating the need to re-negotiate our fee as charges occur.
The flexibility of a percentage fee works to our client's favor throughout the design process to allow for manipulations and modifications to the design without constantly revising the Architectural & Engineering fee. For the purpose of beginning a project utilizing the percentage fee structure, we assist our client in developing a reasonable opinion of the construction cost. This cost opinion may be adjusted throughout the design process and finalized at the time of agreement with the contractor for the actual construction cost.
We, at SCArchitect, Inc treat each project as a unique project and utilize the best fee structure that allows us to provide our clients with the most professional service necessary to insure a successful project. The most ‘expensive’ fee our clients will pay will be the cost of construction change orders to correct design deficiencies. Therefore, we utilize engineering consultants who have the most qualified experience.
Every project will be designed and completed in several phases. Our fees will be invoiced for services rendered based on the portion of service completed for each phase on a monthly basis.
The following is our typical breakdown of the percentages of the fee pertaining to the phase of the project completed. (These percentages may vary from project to project):
Project Phase Percent Charged
Building & Contract Negotiations