Natural daylighting and its reflections become theater to observe while living in this space. Passive solar energy design concepts were utilized to benefit from the warming rays in the colder months and to protect itself from the harsh sun in the warmer months.

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Photo Wirth Living Area

Architectural Services

How to Shop for Architectural Services

Interior Weaver ResidenceWould you be surprised to learn, that for an architect, the most frequently incorrectly posed question during the interview process is, "How much do you charge?". The architect's quote must be analyzed relative to the scope of services he is proposing and the out of office expenses he is incurring on the owner's behalf. If the architect does not go to great extremes to qualify his quote, the quote is meaningless to the potential client.

The problem with the "quote" approach to shopping architectural services is that it may result in finding the cheapest architectural services in town, but not the best value. It also helps explain the mediocrity of the design of most housing in Austin.

The purpose of this article is to help clients ask better questions and analyze proposals when interviewing architects for providing professional architectural and engineering services for their upcoming custom residence projects. The more they know how architects structure their fees, the more intelligently they can shop for architectural services.

Interior ResidenceArchitectural fees are not standardized. If you speak to five different architects about the costs involved in procuring architectural services, you will receive five different proposals. They may propose a fee on an hourly basis of compensation with an estimated total, a fee based upon a percentage of construction cost or a fee based upon the square footage of the residence. You will probably be surprised and confused at the difference in cost from one to another. In extreme cases, you may speak to an architect that proposes a fee one thousand percent higher than another. This does not necessarily mean he is ten times more expensive. He may be proposing to provide more services, spend ten times more hours on your project and have included many engineering and consultant fees in his fee; all while using a comparable hourly rate and profit margin as the least expensive architect.

When preparing a proposal for architectural and engineering services, fees are a product of three primary factors - out of office expenses, hours budgeted and hourly rate. When you shop architect's fees you may ask to see these numbers as part of your proposal request. It will quickly illustrate why architect's fees are different. Here are some of the variables to look out for: out of office expenses, hours budgeted and hourly rate. [+]

how to shop for architectural services out of office expenses hours budgeted hourly rate


About Fees

"Architectural services are not all the same. Some architects are full service and offer all sorts of assistance while others just like to pump out plans. If you are building for the first time, the extra services a good architect offers may be worth their weight in gold."

Tim Carter
Ask The Builder

Wall of Tears Sketch 5


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