What is your Company Logo mean? Who are we?

Our Company Logo is a Design combination of the Island Mountains and the Ocean Sea.  Forming powerful energy from the Golden Numeral Ratio of the Great Pyramid is the meaning of our company Logo.  Completely covering all your Project needs as Architects and Interior Designers from the Mountains to the Sea Coast. 

 

Who are we?

We are International Award Winning Architects that are passionate about what we do for you. As proven from our completed projects which are all shown in our website and are clearly shown with our special Lifestyles Videos. please watch them. All projects are 1 of a kind totally unique projects. They are a pure reflection of all the inspirations that came from our V.IP Clients' - "Most loved and treasure memories."

 

We will custom design the lifestyle and Architecture that is closest to your heart and put it all together into Your perfect Dream Home or Project.

 

Our Team is dedicated to every one of our VIP Clients wishes and desires. We represent our our clients very best interests always by incorporating better, stronger and newer more cost effective Prefab Design and Eco Green building techniques. We provide you the customer Architecture and Design that makes all your six senses come alive "Creating and Designing." 

 

How should real amazing Architecture be?  If you ask our Design Team.

Our answer will always be  - "A pure Reflection of the Greatest moments and Loves you hold closest to your heart throughout Your Life, Elegantly put together into your Perfect Dream Home and / or Project.

 

The Perfect Design Team Package : We specialized bringing it all together as one complete one stop shopping Building Package just for You. As our VIP Client you need not waist anytime with many trades and building suppliers, we do all that for you as part of our complete service. We supply specially Engineered High security, Earthquake, and Hurricane Tested building products for all the Islands Worldwide. 

 

We also provide Full Technical expert Support or Complete or partial Hurricane and Typhoon Design consulting for remote access, Privately owned Islands and local family Islands for our Clients which are Architects, Builders, Engineers, Developers. Private Island VIP Land owners.

We are your experts in our field of complex building solutions solving, fast track project pacing and using the most energy efficient modern Eco - Green Prefab Building Systems.  We are your silent Team Partners working to serve you and your projects' best interests at all times with the highest level of security and privacy.

As Authorized Factory suppliers and Team Partners we develop our very own Hurricane and Earthquake proven systems that are setting new building standards for the entire building industry, Worldwide.  We work hand in hand with all our Professional Team Partners to get the best results for you, with innovative thinking out of the box creative solutions and incorporating only the highest quality products and materials for your project. Buying factory direct we cut out all the middle men from the wholesalers to the retailers and save you a lot of money in the process by providing you with the most competitive pricing in the Construction Industry Worldwide.

All our products are generally 2 to 3 times the product quality that are commonly used and available on the islands.

 

The best part is that we take all the hassle out of the ordering and shipping to the island process for you. Our high volume manufactures provide full installation, and we provide all the drawing and exact and correctly engineered ordering details for your entire project.

 

This saves you not only a lot of time management but also saves you a lot of money. 

 

ConstantinebyDesign represents a integral part of your Team and projects' success.  This provides a huge asset to your project and or company to enable you to produce, much higher quality projects, faster turn around for around the same price and get it all finished in half the time it would normally take...

From our entire Team - "We love what we do and so will You." 100% Guaranteed. 

 

We look forward to working with you on your projects. 

Most Sincerely, 

Dante Alexander - Lead Architect | Director

ConstantinebyDesign.com 

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Does your Company work with other Architectural or Design offices and can you assist them in design work?

Yes, we are a fully certified Architectural office and Factory Direct product suppliers. We work with Architectural offices and Dealer networks all over the World.

 

We offer full Architecture and a full range of design and specialized engineering services with complete product or design consulting. Our sales team will work with you depending on your client needs. We effectively become your design and sales consultants for your office staff to assist in meeting the projects challenges, objectives within the designated timeline.

Payment Terms for Architectural Design Services

and what is included?

Terms of Payment for :  Complete Architecture Package - Includes

1.../ Architecture Design

2.../ Interior Design

3.../ Landscape Design

We 100% Fully Backed Guaranty: 

You will Double your Project Sales Profits with our Award-Winning Architecture and Interior Designs. We only Design with the strongest  Hurricane and Earthquake tried - true - tested, Engineered Building Products. Our variety of Innovative -Hurricane Prefab Building Systems are the strongest, safest and easiest to install for any of the Islands in the World. Our Custom Design and expert Engineering will cut your overall building construction time in half. So Yes, our Architectural | Design fees are worth it and will pay for themselves over and over again for your project. You will be assured you get Your Dream Home Designed and Built right the first time, which lasts the test of time. All our Designed | Built Projects are backed with a 10 Year International Home Warranty.

*We have an important question to ask you: 

How much do you think it will cost you to to not Design, Build and Engineer your Dream Home correctly the first time?

Having all your hard-earned investment destroyed by a major earthquake of Richter 7 or a 240MPH Hurricane blasting through tearing apart your entire home. Fatal Outcome: Causing you to rebuild your home again.

The aftermath:  How much time loss, stress, inconvenience and now all with double the added build costs of rebuilding again. How much is that worth to you to design and build your Dream Home right the first time? 

Architectural Design Fees Terms:

Our Prices start at cost +10 % of the entire building construction and finishing costs. naturally depends on the complexity of your project. The absolute minimum cost for any project is set at 68,000 Euros ( non - negotiable ) + VAT. service tax - if applicable to your area for our Architectural, Interior Design, and Landscaping of a Custom Homes.

For Complex Projects, our prices go up from here. Accordingly, more complex projects will be priced out to the demands of each individual project.

 

For Development, or Commercial projects and Private Islands see prices below as per the regulated percentage Fee schedule, regulated by the AIA and RIBA. American Institute of Architects and Royal Institute of Architects.

 

Payment Terms:

Initial Payment is required before we start your project - payable into our Account. No exceptions. Fees relating to your project depending on the complexity going up from 68,000 euro price per Villa for our Architectural Design Package.

 

We do not work on projects with a build budget of less than $1,500,000 USD.

This does not include our Architecture, Interior Design, and Engineering fees. 

50 % Initial Payment Fee | Non -Refundable

30 % Preliminary Plans | Due on Delivery

+10 % Flat rate | for all new additions per home not in original scope of project.

100 % Due when Plans are fully completed. - including revisions instructions from Client for Project changes.  Ready for Building Permit Application submit.

Included in our - " Complete Architectural Package."

*All Drawings supplied are scaled 1 : 1 to your supplied land survey plan.

1.../ 3D - Renderings of complete concept of Exterior of Home.

2.../ 3D - Renderings of complete concept of Interior of Home.

3.../ 3D - Renderings of complete concept of Land layout with road access.

4.../ 3D - Renderings of complete Landscape layout plans.

5.../ 3D - Renderings of complete Landscape planting plans.

6.../ Full set of Architectural Plans floor-plans and all elevations

7.../ Complete set of Foundation plans.

8.../ Structural Plans supplied by Engineer of prefab system or manufacture. 

9.../ Electrical Plans Basic.

10./ Mechanical hot - cold water pipes plans.

11./ Mechanical Air Conditioning / A/C  plans.

12./ Basic separate Mechanical Backup Generator room Plans.* (only if required)

13./ Full set of Windows and door schedules.

14./ Full set of Interior Doors schedules.

15./ Full set of Custom Cabinetry for all living areas plans.

16./ Full set of Custom Designer Kitchen and pantry plans.

17./ Full set of Custom Spa and Massage room plans. * (only if required)

18./ Full set of Media Room with surround sound layout plans. * (only if required)

19./ Full set of Office / Study Room plans. * (only if required)

20./ Full set of Custom Bedroom Bath plans.

21./ Full set of Indoor / Outdoor Shower plans.

22./ Full set of Laundry Room plans.

23./ Full set of Storage Room plans.

24./ Full set of Basic project Security Smart Home plans. * (only if required)

25./ Full set of Interior design layout with elevations plans.

26./ Full set of Landscape lighting plans. * (only if required)

27./ Basic set of Electrical fixture Lighting plans.

28./ Full set of Pool design / hot tub and mechanical plans * (only if required)

29./ Full set of Roof details and structural roof plans. supplied by manufacture

30./ Full set of Roof drainage and rainwater recycle recovery plans.

31./ House Frame Structural Steel building plans. supplied by manufacture

32./ Natural crosswind cooling and ventilation plans.

33./ Deck and Balconies Planting and irrigation plans. * (only if required)

34./ Custom Indoor furniture layout plans.* (only if required)

35./ Custom Exterior furniture layout plans.* (only if required)

36./ Full set of Interior Staircase to second level plans. * (only if required)

37./ Full set of Elevator plans for all floors .* (only if required) 

38./ Full set of Exterior roof deck entertainment lounge areas plans.* (only if required)

39./ Full set of Barbecue / exterior kitchen plans / fire pit. * (only if required)

40./ Full set of exterior Living entertainment around property areas plans.

41./ Full set of Basic open Boat Dock plans. * (only if required) - NIC - Not included in price

42./ Septic field and water cistern with recycled water recovery plan.

43./ Canalization and water cistern with septic hook up to site plan.

44./ Electrical hookup from house to Island power transformer pole plan.

45./ Basic Solar or Wind recovery plan. * (only if required)

46./ Full set of Geo Location of project | laid out with detailed set backs plan.

47./ Basic Desalination Plant for fresh drinking water plan. * (only if required)

48./ Professional VIP CLIENT Page - Includes all the above: completed project details and data for future reference in 1 convenient place and can be passed onto the next owner should you decide to sell, so next homeowner has all the clear facts about your entire project. As our special - V.IP gift to you. 

 

Please Note: For all visualizations we require several  clear photos of what your projects' land looks like submitted before you start. *Note: Client must supply actual high-resolution clear photos and video footage in order for this part to be completed. You can also have for a extra charge have us visit your site and take all required photos and videos. Otherwise we will just use a the closest looking image we can find that represents your land. * No substitutions in our fixed price for any line items not used and or not selected for your specific project or Home..

 

This is our complete package price for the Architectural | Interior Design | landscape package price and we do not offer any discounts. All other prices are listed in detail below for larger and more complex projects.

 *All above-noted project plans shall be prepared for you in PDF. format for easy emailing and and fast reviewing. We will provide you with the required necessary planning documents for building permit application approval.  We provide you and your trades the easiest and most complete 3D construction plan details of your entire project. This is very important to assist in getting your Building Permit application approval completed in the fastest possible manner for any island in the world. All our plan documents will conform to all required local building code requirements, Worldwide.

Additional Client Needs:

*Should you require full 4k drone video presentations, sales marketing brochures, HD Photography  and / or life like photo quality 3D rendered images for your project they will be priced separately from original scope of work price. 

 

Should you require anything else for your project we are happy to assist in any way we can. We provide a full turnkey V.I.P Service Package at a extra charge.

100% Guaranteed: Client Privacy and Project Security and One of a kind Architecture. All Projects shall remain client property and not be copied for any other client project. 

 

We provide not just a Project but rather "We Provide you, Your Dream Home"

1.../ Be Built and specially designed using the newest and most cost-effective building techniques throughout its entire construction process.

2.../  Be specially Engineered and custom-built for 200MPH + Hurricanes and Typhoons.

3.../ That your project will be Eco Green designed and have the lowest energy costs. Cutting your energy bills of electricity for lights and air conditioners by 50%. This will help in conserving our Planet of CO2 emissions and save a lot of money every year from your pocketbook.

 

4.../ That your project will exceed all local island-building codes requirements to ensure the safety of your project is built to last, and most importantly that your family and belongings are safeguarded against the forces of nature.

5.../ That our plans will be approved for Building permit by local authorities. 

*If any reason additional required design changes from the local Island Building Department are required, we shall do this for you free of charge and is included in our above-described price.

6.../ Only with our International Award-Winning Architecture and Interior Design we will 100 % guaranty your project in any normal market will produce double in sales value, if not triple your homes' or project profits value,  from your original investment. 

That means when it comes time to sell your project will have at least double profit margins and amazing return on investment for you and your investors that you can Bank on in normal markets.

7.../ Our 100% Guaranty will ensure that your finished Architecture and Interior Design Plans will reflect all the things you want and love most in a Dream Home and /or Project. So you will receive "Award Winning Architecture" and "Interior Design" that truly is one of a kind and makes a true statement about who you are and is a pure reflection of You.

8.../ Project will start from day monies are wired transferred into our Bank account.

9.../ Project concept 3D renderings will be ready in 2 to 3 weeks from the project start.

Standard project design duration is from 2 to 3 months but depends on project complexity and client response time from receipt of our designs and providing us clear direction in order to keep on track with our time schedule.

 

10./ Project Design Time-frame: Most projects are complete within 2 to 3 months. 

*Design Time-frame varies and depends on the complexity and size of the project.

  

Product and Building Materials Ordering  ( All ) Terms:

15 % of ordering material cost. Initial Payment for preparation of full working shop drawings | and materials and product ordering through factory and suppliers Non-refundable.

50 % deposit for materials after sign off of full approved Productions drawings,

When Payment is received Manufacturing Product ordering shall commence.

Manufacturing Time frame shall be specified but generally is between 4 to 8

weeks for all deliverables ready for shipping.

35 % Balance shall be paid in full prior to container loading at Factory and products leaving Factory. No exceptions we follow International Trade requirements.

PREFAB Homes or Projects security deposit  Ordering  ( All ) Terms:

50 % paid Architectural Design fee payment  (Non-Refundable)

for preparation of full Architecture working plans and 3D elevations.

Prefab Homes Production Material Ordering:

60 % Payment at sign off of fully approved client signed off - Productions drawings,

30 % when materials are ready to load - your products into containers at Factory.

10 % when your containers have arrived at your project port of call.

 

Loading at the factory: takes 3 working days, you are welcome to inspect all order items prior to loading. Otherwise, we will provide photos and videos of all ordered items into the shipment containers to you via email and you can inspect with us via WhatsApp video call at the factory.

 

Yes, payment must be this way in order to get wholesale factory pricing. 

Letter of Credit or International Bank Guarantee are available: requires  Bank surcharge of a minimum of 3 to 4 % per transaction.

 

Installation cost on Job site for factory Installed Terms:

 

Shall be considered separated and are extra from all Product ordering terms.

All factory technicians shall have included | All return transport costs to and from Factory | food, and lodging | and local transport to and from Job site included.

 

50 % initial payment for arranging all teams transport | food lodging | wage | expenses for persons needed for hiring for project installation. Non -refundable

40 % payment halfway through the installation.

10 % payment on completion. final walk-through review, installation completed to clients satisfaction.

Building Yourself:  

If you have your own crew or you have a Building contractor.

*You can also select for one of our Main Architects or Building Engineers to come and Instruct your local building contractor to oversee just the Prefab erection process so it will be 100% correctly installed and erected for a flat fee of 15000 Euros plus travel and living expenses. If a local work permit is required that extra cost shall be the client's responsibility to pay for as well.

Breach of contract: "2nd payment  B "meaning 

- "2nd  payment  B " - is the 50 % full balance payment of contract value if the client should decide not to complete or is not compliant of the requirements of Architectural Interior design consultant contract that is not the responsibility of ConstantineByDesign Ltd..

ARCHITECTURAL FEES DETAILED EXPLAINED

 

Extracted Fee guidelines of:

AIA - Architectural Institute of Architects - United States

RIBA - Royal Institute of British Architects - Europe

 

CONSTANTINEBYDESIGN ARCHITECTURAL FEES

DEVELOPMENT PLAN

SITE OVER ALL AND DETAIL SITE PLANNING

PLANNING AND BUILDING PERMITS

SELECTION OF CONTRACTORS AND BUILDING MATERIALS

PRIVATE ISLAND PROJECT ARCHITECTURE AND INTERIOR DESIGN REQUIREMENTS:

DEVELOPMENT OF ISLAND COMMUNITY CONSTRUCTION PLAN AND MANAGEMENT

FULL MATERIALS & DESIGN | MATERIAL ORDERING | LOGISTICS | INSTALLATION

Architect Services

Architect Services is about what the architect does in each phase of work involved with a project.

BASIC SERVICES
Basic Services typically include the following services:

1.  Programming

2.  Schematic Design

3.  Design Development

4.  Construction Documents

Architects try hard to explain these services, but not many owners understand them very well.  These services are necessary and are typically not negotiable in terms of what they contain, as it would be nearly impossible for an architect to provide the on-going services without providing these Basic Services, which is why they are called BASIC.

 

In brief, these services typically mean and contain the following items:

Programming
The architect takes notes of what the owner states that they want in the project.  Usually, the architect provides these notes in some form of typed format, possibly with photos of the property, with some discussion of site features and opportunities for the to-be-built items.  The architect will often include a site visit with a typed understanding of site elements and how and where the built structures might be located.

Schematic Design
SFR (Single Family Residential):
The architect uses the Program established in the previous phase of work to conceptually create a diagram or plans of the proposed project.  In SFR projects, some architects may combine Design Development with Schematic Design, as sometimes some architects only make a hazy sketch, in schematics, while others start out the project on computer and stay on computer, as they feel that is a more efficient method and that nothing is wasted.  However, there is no precise right or wrong method.  Each architect has their own preferences about how they go about creating something from nothing.  Some architects produce only floor plans and site plans at this stage, often for SFR projects.

Commercial Projects:
Others go far beyond this, based on their desired method of creation, particularly for commercial projects, where it is quite common to see plans, elevations and conceptual building sections.

Design Development
This is where additional detail is added to the previous Schematic Design.
SFR  projects:
Some architects add exterior building elevations at this point and perhaps a roof plan.  Others may decide to include a building section.  However, there is no specific right or wrong method.  Whatever works for each firm.  Additional dimensions are tested to insure that various items will fit into the proposed design.  And additional dimensions are added to the work.

Commercial Projects:
Depending on the scope of the project, this can become a very detailed phase where equipment selection is made and tested to make sure it all fits within the building shell and arrangement.  Also, energy calculations may be made to test glass, insulation and other requirements to insure that the building will properly function to meet Energy Code.

Construction Documents
Traditionally, this = Working Drawings & Specifications. This is where the final details are added to the project.  Building sections, wall sections, finish schedules, door schedules, title sheets, index sheets, final graphics, blow-up detail plans and elevations of critical conditions, notes, final detailed dimensions, interior elevations (depending on scope of services and other additional services).  The architect does coordinate all the building consultants, whether provided under the architect’s umbrella or not. The amount of fee can and will affect the amount of drawings and other items provided by the architect.

SFR projects: Single Family Residences
There are some architects that do not create specifications for residential projects, while others believe they are essential. In general, the more information, the better, to minimize the chances of unknown conditions and pricing changes.

Commercial Projects:
Just about always feature Working Drawings & Specifications and many sheets in the set.
This guide is not going to address all of the variations possible involved with Construction Documents.  Suffice it to say that these are the detailed documents that the General Contractor uses to build the project.

 

ADDITIONAL SERVICES

SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL (SFR) PROJECTS:

Record Drawings comes into play when an owner does Not have drawings for their existing home or building that they wish to renovate.  This happens often.  Owners lose track of these important documents, or they never obtained copies.  Whatever the reason, it is not the fault of the new project architect if the owner cannot provide these Existing Condition architectural and structural drawings.  The architect needs these documents.  In order to design new improvements to an existing home or building, the architect must have drawings depicting what exists.  Therefore, if the owner cannot provide these, the architect will often offer to provide an Additional Service that some may call “As-Built” drawings.  However, the use of this term could carry with it certain liabilities, so architects these days use the term “Record Drawings”. 

 

Record Drawings do not guarantee that they are perfect.  Rather, Record Drawings disclose that they are being prepared using measuring instruments such as flexible measuring tapes that will give approximate, and not entirely accurate readings and that the architect is not responsible for these approximations, which the Contractor will need to field verify.  The creation of Record Drawings is almost impossible to estimate in terms of fixed fees and for that reason, should almost always be provided hourly.  The project could be a one-story, one-room cabin, or it could be a complex laboratory 6 floors high. The amount of required Record Drawings will vary with the type and complexity of new project desired by the owner.  The architect will need to make their own decision as to how much information is necessary for them to design the new improvements.  Therefore: this fee will become an hourly service that will be unknown until it is done.  This service is Not free and could become quite involved.  Also: the architect will not be expected to perform destructive investigations to look above ceilings or under floors to actually see structural elements and other items that are concealed by the finishes and other other elements of the existing project.

Electrical Schematics is Not required for most home projects, even though many owners think so.  The architect is typically under no requirement to provide this.  It is highly recommended, as the architect has special knowledge about the organization of a home project, including appliances and cabinets and room arrangements, without which the owner may experience some difficulties.  However, if the owner wants this service, then they are required to pay the architect to provide it.

Cabinetry Elevations are Not required for just about any house project, anywhere, by any jurisdictional authority.  And if it was, the architect deserves to be paid for this very detailed service.  The architect can easily spend over 100 hours drawing and detailing these for a medium to large house, and it may be more, based on the level of detail.
It is highly recommended that owners compensate their architect to provide Cabinetry Elevation drawings, as the Electrical Schematics and those are closely related and the owner can obtain a higher quality design by having their architect perform this service.

Bidding/ Negotiating/ Price Discussions with Contractor is highly recommended.  This is where the architect can be of tremendous influence and help in helping to find general contractors to bid the project, then help to obtain possible price reductions through negotiated changes in the project design/features/ quality level.  Most owners have no idea what these sorts of changes impact.  The architect’s counsel at this stage can make a project happen, where it might have been stalled otherwise.  Note regarding Construction Cost Bids: no owner, anywhere is happy with the prices contractors propose to build their projects.  Without fail, they want to see if the project can be built for less cost.  That’s where this crucial architect’s additional service can help the owner a great deal.  The architect is the only party to the project that has the project detailed understanding that will allow a coordinated price reduction, without sacrificing important items that could seriously damage the project (if changed without the architect’s guidance).

Construction Administration 
These services are Not required by law.  These complex additional services are where the architect periodically visits the project site, reviews contractor submittals, including shop drawings for the various items of the project, including but not limited to doors & windows, insulation, concrete, wood, paint, and many other items.  Without the architect’s watchful eye, any of these items could be changed by the contractor and suppliers without the owner’s knowledge, cheapening the project, damaging its durability, increasing its monthly utility charges and possibly leaking, rotting and being compromised structurally.
Furthermore, during construction, if the architect is compensated to do so, they can process the contractor’s pay requests, checking on the progress of the construction and comparing that with the amount invoiced.  Without this knowledgeable service, owners overpay up-front, which can induce a builder to walk off the job later, after they have obtained too much money too quickly, leaving the owner stuck with a project that will cost more to complete than remains in the budget.  Very few owners have this type of experience in-house and would do well to pay their architect to help them. And there many other activities during construction that are too numerous to mention here.  Serious situations that arise and without the architect’s wise and helping hands, projects can develop all sorts of problems that can have them come screeching to a halt.

Project Management
This is a catch-all for anything and everything that the owner can’t handle but needs to be managed for them, not included in any other service.  For instance: land development and overall daily construction of the project. Also selection of colors, tile, paint, appliances, coordinating a home-owners association and other situations that can and will develop.  It is wise to have the architect on-call for such things on an hourly basis for smaller projects or percentage fee per square foot of entire building requirements and final project construction costs for commercial.

3D Imagery
Architects may offer three-dimensional hand-drawn or computerized imagery of their designs.  This can also involve 3D animations, which is a movie of a Client’s project.  Images can be either fixed (static) of a single viewpoint, or have multiple single views.  The imagery may be plain and only consist of lines, or may be near-photo-realistic.  Architects typically will not include such imagery in their Basic Services, unless paid additionally for these services.  3D computerized imagery may be provided to the Architect from a third party specialty source, as such imagery typically requires expensive and complex software and powerful computers to provide high-quality images.  Architects may provide these services as a fixed price or hourly.

 

COMMERCIAL PROJECTS:

Record Drawings: see under Residential above.

Electrical: this is typically provided by an Electrical Engineering company, who the owner pays either through the architect or directly.

Cabinetry: this is something the architect could provide as an additional service and for which the owner would pay.

Bidding/ Negotiating/ Price Discussions with the Contractor.  This is often provided by the architect on commercial projects and paid for by the owner.

Construction Administration  these services are often provided by the architect and other consultants on commercial projects and paid for by the owner.

Project Management  these services a excellent architect should provide as a extra Services and other services, for which the owner would pay extra to the architect based on a percentage per square foot price.

Interior Design these services are also available with more experienced Architecture Firms and are also based on actual square surface square footage for the design and percentage of material costs.

3D Imagery: similar to those provided under SFR above.

 

COMMENT ABOUT ENGINEERING AND PERMITTING

SFR projects:
With SFR projects, it is NOT the architect’s job to provide and pay for any sort of engineering.  The owner is the one who wants the house or building, so they are responsible for paying for what is required.  Many architects make it a requirement that the owner directly contract with and directly pay the structural engineer and any other type of consultant(s), such as, but not limited to: building site soil analysts, land surveyor, and others.

Note: there is a common misconception in residential projects (particularly SFR (Single Family Residential)) that architects are providing mechanical (HVAC) and plumbing drawings/engineering.  This is Not true.  It is Not required by building departments for permitting, and even if these drawings were provided, the respective HVAC and plumbing subcontractors would change them, based on how they are used to doing it and the detailed constraints that develop during any project. On a SFR project, the General Contractor’s HVAC subcontractor will typically provide the energy calculations and ductwork layout, as well as the plumbing layout, often worked out in the field, as the work is accomplished by the respective subcontractor.

Commercial projects:
However, in commercial projects, it IS a requirement that ENGINEERS provide these documents for all levels of the project.

 

BUILDING PERMIT
For SFR projects:
to obtain the Building Permit, the General Contractor will need several items:
A.  Architects Construction Documents (containing architectural drawings).
B.  Structural Engineering (by a Structural Engineer working directly for and paid by the owner, but coordinated by the architect).
C.  Truss plant engineered shop drawings, signed and sealed by the truss provider through the lumberyard used by the General Contractor. Also typically includes LVL (Laminated Veneer Lumber engineering).
D.  Survey by a licensed Surveyor, provided and paid for by the owner.
E.  Some jurisdictions are starting to mandate soil scientist involvement for some steeply sloping areas and other specialized regions.
F.  HVAC subcontractor’s energy calculations.

It is a big misconception that all of the above are provided by the architect and that architect pulls the building permit.  No.  Not true.  The General Contractor should be the entity obtaining the building permit and the Contractor is the one that obtains many of the above items through their suppliers and subcontractors.

Commercial Projects:
Architects do often still provide the engineering disciplines through their office, although this practice is changing, as that includes substantial liability.
While the architect does Not provide any shop drawings for pre-engineered items such as those above under SFR, they do often provide the Structural, Mechanical (HVAC), Plumbing & Electrical engineering through their associated sub-consultant engineering firms.  However, this is changing.  In due course, it may become standard future procedure, even on commercial projects, for owners to provide and pay for these services, with the architect continuing to totally coordinate them.
However, it is Not common practice for architects to provide a survey. That is nearly always provided by the owner or General Constructor, along with other site-oriented services, like soil scientists.

As listed below are 11 examples of factual historical proof providing reference to Architect Fees:

 

1…/ 15% to 17% fees ($500k to $1M simple to most complex without engineering fees)

A1.  State of Michigan Architect’s Fees
Published by the State of Michigan for use in determining Architect’s fees with the State.
4.7% to 10.7% ($50M+ down to $50k)  $500k construction = 9.2% for most complex.

 2.../    Architekwiki
Produced by a practicing architect and public information.
6%+

3.../  Historic Architectural Fees in the UK
By a practicing architectural firm in Britain.
8% to 12%.

4.../  Architectural Digest Designer & Architectural Fees
15% to 20% + reimburseables.

5…/  University Architectural Fee Estimating Guide
University of Michigan Fee Guide for a variety of project types.
4.4% to 11.2% ($30M down to $500k).

6…/  Washington Post Article re: Architectural Fees
8% to 18%.

7…/  State of Alabama Median Fees for Architects
One of the pieces of information from this large state in the USA, is its identification of the various Levels of Complexity.  In this, it is interesting to note that this state declares the design of a residence to be in their Group V category, which is their most complex, and their fee schedule indicates Group V Basic Fees for construction costs up to $100,000 to be 12%, gradually reducing down to 6.5% (when OVER $50 million).  That would mean that homes in the $100k to $1M range would have architectural fees of between 12% to 9.3% for Basic Services.

8…/  Houzz: Comparing Architectural Fees
8% to 15%.

9…/  Architect Magazine Architect’s Fees
Journal of the American Institute of Architecture
9% to 10% (Basic Services), 10% to 12% (renovations), 5% to 7% (commercial)

10../  Wikipedia Architects
Online Electronic Encylopedia
4% to 12% (New Commercial & Institutional), 12% to 20% (Residential), 15% to 20% (Renovations).

11../  State of New Mexico
Architectural Fee Rates
(Most Complex projects): 11.1% to 7.6%  from 150k up to 10M.
(Complex projects, which include the design of custom homes):
9.85% to 6.6%  from 150k to 10M
(Average Projects): 8.85% to 5.5% from 150k up to 10M
(Simple Projects): 7.6% to 4% from 150k up to 10M.
In other words: the lower the construction cost, the higher the architectural fees.
State of New Mexico Building Type Group Schedule (see item 1.5.18.9).
An interesting point is that this State governmental agency view Single Family Homes as among what they call “Complex Projects.”

 

 

 

 

 

Project Complexity

Project complexity is directly related to the amount of time an architect has to spend designing and administering a project.  Here is the typical project level of complexity scale:

ARCHITECTURAL PROJECT COMPLEXITY LEVELS

Group 1: LEAST COMPLEX
Industrial buildings without special facilities, parking structures, loft structures, warehouses; utility buildings.

Group 2: SIMPLE
Armories, apartments, cold storage facilities, hangers, manufacturing plants.

Group 3: INTERMEDIATE
College classroom buildings, convention halls, detention facilities, extended care projects, gymnasiums, laboratories, medical offices.

Group 4.  COMPLEX
Aquariums, auditoriums, art galleries, communications buildings, theaters.

Group 5.  MOST COMPLICATED
Custom residences, special decorative buildings, custom-designed furnishings.

 

*ALL FEES ARE NOT INCLUDING ANY ENGINEERING OR SPECIAL CONSULTANT FEE COSTS RELATED TO THE PROJECT. ARCHITECTS DO NOT HAVE ANY LEGAL RIGHT TO REPRESENT ANY ENGINEERING REQUIREMENTS, STAMP OF APPROVAL, OR OTHERWISE FOR ANY PROJECT RELATING TO ENGINEERING. IF SO THEY CAN LOSE THEIR LICENCE TO PRACTICE ARCHITECTURE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commercial Architectural Fees Source AIA

Commercial Architectural Fees is about what the typical rates people and organizations and governmental agencies routinely pay for various commercial architectural services.  In particular, this webpage focuses on commercial, rather than residential project types.  However, it needs to be remembered that residential projects do fall within Group 5 complexity.

 

COST OF CONSTRUCTION      %  BASIC FEES IN BLDG COMPLEXITY GROUP
.                                                         1              2                3                4                 5
.                                                         (least complex    ————->   most complex)


$1M+ to $1.25M                           5.2%         6.2%         7.2%             8.2%            9.2%
$1.25M+ to $1.5M                        5.1%         6.1%         7.1%             8.1%              9.1%
$1.5M+ to $1.75M                        5.0%         6.0%         7.0%             8.0%           9.0%
$1.75M+ to $2M                           4.9%         5.9%         6.9%             7.9%           8.9%
$2M+ to $2.5M                             4.8%         5.8%         6.8%             7.8%            8.8%
$2.5M+ to $3M                             4.7%         5.7%         6.7%             7.7%            8.7%
$3M+ to $3.5M                             4.6%         5.6%         6.6%             7.6%           8.6%

COST OF CONSTRUCTION      %  BASIC FEES IN BLDG COMPLEXITY GROUP
. continued                                          1              2                3                4                 5
.                                                         (least complex     ————->   most complex)

 


$3.5M+ to $4M                              4.5%         5.5%         6.5%             7.5%            8.5%
$4M+ to $5M                                 4.4%         5.4%         6.4%             7.4%            8.4%
$5M+ to $6M                                 4.3%         5.3%         6.3%             7.3%            8.3%
$6M+ to $8M                                 4.2%         5.2%         6.2%             7.2%            8.2%
$8M+ to $10M                               4.1%         5.1%         6.1%             7.1%              8.1%
$10M+ to $12M                             4.0%         5.0%         6.0%             7.0%            8.0%
$12M+ to $14M                             3.9%         4.9%         5.9%             6.9%            7.9%
$14M+ to $16M                             3.8%         4.8%         5.8%             6.8%            7.8%
$16M+ to $18M                             3.7%         4.7%         5.7%             6.7%            7.9%
$18M+ to $20M                             3.6%         4.6%         5.6%             6.6%            7.6%
$20M+ to $22M                             3.5%         4.5%         5.5%             6.5%            7.5%
$22M+ to $24M                             3.4%         4.4%         5.4%             6.4%            7.4%
$24M+ to $27M                             3.3%          4.3%       5.3%              6.3%            7.3%
$27M+ to $30M                             3.2%          4.2%       5.2%              6.2%            7.2%
$30M+ to $33M                             3.1%          4.1%        5.1%              6.1%             7.1%
$33M+ to $36M                             3.0%          4.0%       5.0%             6.0%           7.0%
$36M+ to $39M                             2.9%          3.9%       4.9%             5.9%            6.9%
$39M+ to $42M                             2.8%          3.8%       4.8%             5.8%             6.8%
$42M+ to $46M                             2.7%          3.7%       4.7%             5.7%             6.7%
$46M+ to $50M                             2.6%          3.6%       4.6%             5.6%            6.6%
$50M+ and up                                2.5%          3.5%       4.5%             5.5%            6.5%

In the chart above, “k”= thousands, “M”= Millions.

 

 

 

LEVEL OF COMPLEXITY
This is a tried and true method of understanding the relative amount of detail, and therefore, amount of work, or hours, that an architect can devote to creating a project design and set of Construction Documents.  Construction Documents usually consist of Working Drawings and Specifications.  There are also further Contract Documents that include the architect’s advice counsel in developing forms of agreement between the owner and the contractor and other (s) consultants and entities.


Architectural Project Level of Complexity.

The reason this is important is that various organizations assign higher or lower percentage fee rates to the project type, based on the project Level of Complexity.  So, it is first important to assign a Level of Complexity to the project under consideration.  The referenced chart ranges from Group1 (Least Complex) to Group 5 (Most Complicated).  Understanding this, we can then begin to understand the fee ranges on the various charts that organizations around the world and North America associated with the project type.

For a long time, 6% of the cost of construction was the magic fee rate for a lot of commercial architectural work.  However, this has changed, moving into the 8% range for many project types and even higher, due to the continuing complexity being built into buildings these days.  However, the greater the construction cost, the lower fees are, because at the lowest level, it does actually cost more to produce a project because of the basic tasks an architect must perform for any project to provide a reasonable set of documents and design effort.

USA State governments are a fairly reasonable standard by which to judge fee rates, as they want a good value, and they also understand that they are employing architects to design the projects.  Therefore, the rates established seem like a good median range for many commercial projects across the USA, North America and Architectural Associations globally.  These entities appear to agree of the broad cross section of fees and project complexities.

Architectural projects of all types of complexity (including SFR (Single Family Residential) are represented in the chart above, because SFR fall under the Group 5 category (the most complex).

 

Based on the chart above, the following ranges of architectural fees result for these various project types for BASIC SERVICES (exclusive of optional additional services, depending on the organization’s policies):

 

GROUP 5 PROJECT FEES
(Single Family Residences, specialized decorative buildings, custom furniture):
6.5% architectural Basic Fee for Over $50 million construction cost,  to:

this means, using this chart, that a minimum percentage will be charged:

$1M house will start with an architectural Basic Services Fee of 10% of total build construction and furnishing costs.
$1.M house: starts at 10%
$2M house: starts at 10%
$3M house: starts at 10%
$4M house: starts at 10%
$5M house: starts at 10%

 

GROUP 4 PROJECT FEES
(Aquariums, auditoriums, art galleries, college buildings with special facilities, communications buildings, special schools, theaters and similar facilities):
5.5% for over $50M construction cost to:
 

 

GROUP 3 PROJECT FEES
(College classroom facilities, Convention Centers, Prisons, Extended Care Facilities, Gymnasiums, Hospitals, Institutional Dining Halls, Laboratories, Libraries, Medical Schools, Medical Office Buildings and Clinics, Mental Institutions, Office Buildings withe Tenant Improvements, Parks, Playgrounds, Recreation Facilities, Police Stations, Public Health Centers, Research Facilities, Schools (elementary/middle), Stadiums, Welfare Buildings, Central Utility Plants, Water Supply Facilities, Sewage Treatment Plants, Electrical Sub-Stations and Distribution Systems, Roads, Bridges, Major Site Improvements as independent projects):
4.5% for over $50M construction cost to:
10% for up to $100,000 construction cost.

 

GROUP 2 PROJECT FEES
(Armories, Apartments, Cold Storage Facilities, Dormitories, Exhibition Halls, Hangers, Manufacturing/Industrial Plants, Office Buildings without tenant improvements, Printing Plants, Public Markets, Service Garages):
3.5% for over $50M construction cost to:
9% for up to  $100,000 construction cost.

 

GROUP 1 PROJECT FEES
(Industrial Buildings without special facilities, Parking Structures and repetitive garages, Simple Loft Structures, Warehouses without automated apparatus, other Utilitarian Buildings):
2.5% for over $50M construction cost to:
8% for up to  $100,000 construction cost.

 

RENOVATIONS: it should be mentioned that the fee chart above (which was derived largely from State project fee schedules in the USA) does NOT include increases in fee percentage for renovations of each type of project.  It should, but it does not.  Therefore, it may be a reasonable rule of thumb to INCREASE the percentage fee for the project type by perhaps two shifts to the right (increasing the complexity level) to result in at least a 2% escalation in fee to handle some of the increased requirements involved with renovation projects, which nearly always require more effort than new projects.  Renovation projects always involve some form of investigation and discovery, which requires more time on the part of the architect to understand what, is existing in order to add to it or move it or remove it.  It is always easier to build new, from the architect’s perspective, than to have to understand what exists, then how to carefully change certain portions of that to have new features installed and added.

Therefore, Renovation projects will nearly always add to the complexity and therefore the hours an architect will need to spend on a project, and for that reason, the percentages for renovations are usually higher than for new projects.  There is no hard and fast rule about this increase in percentages, but for discussion’s sake this might typically be somewhere on the order of perhaps 2% to 5% more than for New Projects.  This can and will vary, depending on the project.  For instance: hospital renovation projects can be significantly more than for a warehouse renovation.

 

RECORD DRAWINGS ADDITIONAL SERVICES FOR RENOVATION PROJECTS:
There is a wild card Additional Service that can and will increase the percentages indicated above: RECORD DRAWINGS.  These are needed for most renovation projects.  These are almost always provided at an hourly rate, above and beyond other services being provided.  This is one of the reasons that Renovation projects are often more demanding and therefore, more expensive, in terms of architectural fees than new projects.  Regarding Record Drawings: even if the owner has existing Paper drawings, the architect will still have to redraw those, typically from scratch, on the architect’s computers, in order to have usable electronic drawings.  Very few architects these days draw anything on paper, certainly few documents that end up being used for actual Construction Drawings.  Most architects create their designs, drawings and specifications on computers.  Therefore, if there are not electronic construction documents accurately depicting the existing projects arrangements of features, the architect will have to redraw the project entirely and perform work to measure and understand existing conditions, usually through field measuring, then convert those field notes into computerized drawings that become usable to the architect during his or her creation of the renovated design.

It is the rare owner who actually possesses electronic drawings, particularly for a residential project, and in the software compatible (usable) with the architect’s latest software, and that they actually indicate what was built.  There are usually numerous changes during construction and the new architect will typically need to revise any documents provided by the owner for the new project in order to have a reasonably reliable depiction of existing conditions from which to proceed with the new design work.

 

Residential Architectural Fees

Residential Architectural Fees is about architects’ fees to design houses and render other services for homeowners.

First, residential architectural fees includes a CONSOLIDATED RESIDENTIAL ARCHITECTURAL FEE PACKAGE LIST
This indicates what the typical fee rate might be for various packages of professional services, depending on the services included in each package, for SFR (Single Family Residential) projects.  The numbers in this list below are further documented below this list (which can be seen lower down on this page).

 

TIER 1                                               New Projects            Renovations
BASIC SERVICES:                         8% to 10%                   10% to 12%
(although this could be significantly higher when considering this fee chart depending on project construction cost valuation by the architect).

TIER 2
Basic + Cabinetry:                            up to 12%+/-               up to 14%

TIER 3
Basic + Cabinetry + Electrical:        up to 13%+/-              up to 15%

TIER 4
Basic + Cabinetry + Electrical +
Bidding (and related):                      up to 13.75%+/-         up to 15.75%

TIER 5
Basic + Cabinetry + Electrical +
Bidding +
Construction Administration:         up to 16.25%+/-        up to 18.25%

TIER 6
Basic + Cabinetry + Electrical +
Bidding +
Construction Administration +
Project Management:                        up to 18.25%+/-       up to 20.25%

Various architects and organizations may call these residential architectural fee packages different names.  For instance, Tier 1 obviously is for Basic Services.  However, some firms may choose to call their residential architectural fees for Tier 2 a “Silver Plan” and Tier 3 a “Gold Plan” and so forth.  Still, others may opt for different languages and call Tier 2 an “Enhanced Service Plan” and Tier 3 a “Performance Plan” and so on.  The titles of these plans are not important; what services they include are.

 

Most architectural clients should consider engaging their architect to provide at least Tier 5 services.  Why: because very few laypeople have the knowledge to deal with Contractors bidding what is likely to be the most expensive effort of their lives, nor to understand the implications of what they are seeing during construction.  The extra fees paid to their architect to perform these additional services are well worth it.  It can make the difference between a well-built project for the most reasonable cost and disaster.  The architect is the person who stands between most owners and their builders, providing value-added services to ensure that the homeowner receives what they are paying for.

And, if homeowners are not going to have the time to manage their project and to make all the choices necessary during a project, the architect can do that for them, in Tier 6 services.

This indicates that Architect’s Basic fees in the 15% range were the norm for some Architects, dating all the way back into the mid-20th century.  Therefore: there is the weight of history behind this fee range.

Another factor is that most clients imagine that their cost of construction will be much less than real-world costs.  Often half.  So: it is important for wishful homeowners to understand all levels. Custom residential construction costs to obtain a better understanding of today’s construction costs for houses.  The architect is thinking of reality; the homeowner needs to do the same thing, to avoid a disconnect in the perception of what the architect charges.

Let’s reiterate some of the numbers from this fee chart:
for Basic Services for the design of a custom house:
Project Const. Cost                           Architect fee range (basic)
up to $100k                                                   12%
$101k to $500k                                              11% to 9.8%
$501k to $1M                                                 9.7% to 9.3%
$1M to $1.5M                                                 9.2% to 9.1%
$1.5M to $2M                                                 9.0% to 8.9%
$2M to $3M                                                    8.8% to 8.7%
$3M to $4M                                                    8.6% to 8.5%
$4M to $6M                                                    8.4% to 8.3%
$6M to $10M                                                  8.2% to 8.1%
$10M to $20M                                                8.0% to 7.6%
$20M to $50M                                                7.5% to  6.5%

with the vast majority of client projects being in the $101k to $500k range or $500k to $1.5M range, which means most custom house architectural fees for Basic services would likely be in the 12% to 9.1% range.  However, many architectural firms may find themselves in the above-posted 8% to 10% range for basic services and higher for renovations.

Let’s do some math examples:

Example 1
Spacious custom house with nice upgrades of quality wood floors and wood ceilings, stone fireplaces, large porches, 2 or 3 car garage, upgrade appliances, high efficiency insulation, quality roofing and siding and doors.  Perhaps $300 / PSF x 4,000 HSF = $1.2M construction cost.  Probably 9.2% architect basic fee = $110,400. But you also wanted cabinetry and electrical drawings, bidding and construction administration (which can vary widely depending on amount of services during construction), but not project management.  Looking at the Architectural Fee Package list chart above, that’s likely to be in the 16.25% range or $1.2M x .1625% = $195,000.

Example 2
Custom home of a more modest size, with wood floors and ceiling of budget variety, painted drywall, only 1 fireplace (with stone), more compact porches, 2 car garage, more budget oriented appliances, insulation, doors, roofing and siding.  Perhaps $220 / PSF x 2,500 HSF= $550,000.  Probably 9.6% architect Basic Services fee = $550,000 x .096= $52,800.  If you want electrical and cabinet drawings, that would be more. And Bidding services and Construction Administration would be more.

So there are two examples of probable architect fee ranges for custom single family houses.  Perhaps it is now more understandable why there is a relationship between the cost, size and complexity of a house, the range of services and the Architect’s fee.

If you are the sort of person who says things like: “I’m only going to pay my architect thus and so amount and that’s it”, then you will probably obtain the services tailored for a house smaller and less substantial than you are hoping to have built for you and your family.  You need to value what the Architect does, just as you would your Doctors, CPAs, Attorneys, Engineers, Surveyors, and other professionals you need from time to time in your life.  The Architect has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to obtain a major university education to learn the basics, and the rest of their life until now, gaining valuable real-world experience to learn all the wisdom that allows them to design a home for you that will satisfy your dreams.  While that may not be bricks and mortar, without that creative and technical expertise, you have nothing.  Pay your architect in appreciation of the value they bring to your project and you will have a happy relationship and obtain a quality job.

 

Residential Architectural Fees

 

(Architects from around the World), indicate an average of 8% to 15% for Architects design fees related as the standard.  That’s fairly close to what you see in the more detailed analysis above.

However, owners have to also keep in mind that architects’ most fair means of compensation, so if the owners like to make lots of changes, the percentages above can be higher.  The concept of “We’re in this together” needs to cross the owner’s mind.  No one should be trying to take advantage of anyone.  If the architect and owner treat each other fairly (which an hourly based compensation does), then the above percentages will probably work, if everyone is reasonable.

Hourly rates for Architects often vary between $100 to $250 / hour.  The lower rates are typically for staff, with the higher rates for owners/principals of the firm.

 

BREAKING DOWN ARCHITECTURAL FEES INTO BASIC SERVICES AND ADDITIONAL SERVICES

What many of the Other Fee Sources referenced on this Architectural Fee guide do not necessarily do is break apart the architectural fee ranges cited by service or phase of work category.  Therefore, one has to use historic time records of hours to document how long certain services has taken for various project types, complexities and sizes.  Then you can check the fee ranges reported globally from various responsible 3rd-party sources to see if the totals tend to aggregate within those parameters.  The examples listed for residential Basic Services and Additional Services (above) do that, and were calculated from decades of time logs on a host of projects to statistically result in the ranges indicated above, which also stand the test of the 3rd party architectural fee rate examples from national and global sources.

 

Fee Distribution over Project Phases

Fee Distribution over Project Phases discusses how much your architect charges and when.

 

First: no two architects bill for their services in exactly the same manner or time schedule.  So what one does, does not mean any other will invoice according to the same procedures. That being said, let’s look at some practices that a client might reasonably encounter when engaging and working with an architect.

 

 

INITIAL PAYMENT
It is widely becoming the accepted practice for an architect to require an “initial payment” to begin the work of the project.  In the past, this might have been previously deemed a “deposit”, and while it has some similar characteristics, nowadays, this initial payment is not refundable and is not applied like a retainer.  A retainer is used by some attorneys in the beginning of legal representation, and when those funds are exhausted (usually on an hourly basis), another retainer is requested.  An initial payment, however, does not function exactly in the same manner.  Because it is quite easy for architectural fees to be accumulated quickly, especially during intense periods of service, architects these days may have the Initial Payment instead be maintained “on account”, staying there until the last payment of the project, or applied among the last several payments.  In this manner, the architect can be assured that they will at least have that amount of fee being held in reserve, in case the client defaults on a subsequent payment request (invoice).  Therefore, the client will be required to pay for invoices starting from the beginning of the project, as they are presented to the client by the architect, without the initial payment being factored into the amount owed, until the end of the project.  Usually architects that have more experience utilize this method, as a function of trial and error in their practices.

 

INVOICING FOR BASIC SERVICES
Basic Services can be seen here:  Basic Services for architectural projects generally are composed of Programming (P), Schematic Design (SD), Design Development (DD) and Construction Documents (CDs).  While each firm can vary, lump sum fees might be distributed in roughly these percentages of the total Basic Services fee:
P           5%
SD        25%
DD       30%
CD       40%

 

Reimbursable Costs/Fees

Architects will almost always charge their clients for what are called “REIMBURSABLES“.  These are costs and charges incurred by the architect for a variety of items for which the architect must pay, directly attributable to a project.

Reimbursable’s do NOT typically include anything in the architect’s normal overhead, like his umbrella insurance costs, rent, electricity, staff and general costs of running a business.

Reimbursable’s  DO typically include the following (when attributable to a specific project):
Mileage, Food during Travel, Air Travel, Hotel, Rental Car, Parking, Computer Plotting/printing, Photocopies, Courier Services (UPS / FedEx, etc.), US Mail, and other expenses due to their performance of duties on a particular project.

Why the architect charges their clients for these expenses:
because the architect would otherwise have to eat these costs.  That does not make good business sense.  If an architect has been asked by a client to fly to their project site from another state, for instance, the client owes the architect all costs associated with that architect serving their needs and requests.  The other typical reimbursable’s are historically accepted project costs in the business of architecture.

What are realistic charges for these reimbursable items?

First: a brief discussion of a reimbursable multiple fee charge.  It is common for architects, lawyers, doctors, accountants and other professionals to not only charge for some particular items, but to assign a multiple of perhaps 25% on top of the actual costs, to cover administrative record-keeping and billing for these items, or more, depending on the items.  Why: because the architect is going to have to pay someone (or themselves) to keep track of these costs and receipts and they don’t work for free and they won’t have to do these things, unless these charges are incurred on specific projects, serving those clients.   Also, not every minute of every day is logged when an architect or staff member drives to a post office or UPS outlet or other locations to send things to their clients.  Therefore, on some items, architects simply charge a higher flat charge (over and above the actual cost of the item) to cover the related cost of transmitting and forwarding such items. In business this practice is understood: you charge more for something you provide than it costs you, in order to earn money and stay in business.  No reasonable businessperson of any type will charge their clients what it actually costs them to do something or provide something.  There must be a markup in order to stay alive and run a business.

What is normal?  Let’s take a look at a typical list of architectural reimbursable costs/charges:

Mileage:                                                    $1/mile
Food during travel:                                 cost + 25%
Air Travel:                                                cost + 25%
Hotel:                                                        cost + 25%
Rental car:                                                cost + 25%
Parking:                                                    cost + 25%
Computerized plots: in color, 24″x36″: $6.75 each
Photocopies: 8-1/2″x11″ b&w (including copies of emails for file)
.                                                                  $0.25 each
Photocopies: 11″x17” b&w:                       $1.00
Courier service: 9×12:                               $62.00
Courier service: (FedEx Pak):                 $81.00
Courier service: (drawing tube):             $120
US Postal Service Mail: $10 envelope:    $4.50
US Postal Service Mail: 9×12 envelope:   $11.00

There can be a host of other reimbursable items for varying costs and charges.  The above is classic list of architectural reimbursable items that clients should expect to see and pay in return for the architect providing them.

You may notice there is nothing noted for blueprints.  This is because architectural businesses are mainly going the way of electronic services and issuing electronic PDFs to their clients of their project documents.  Then, if the client wishes to have hard copy, the client can email the list of PDF links (usually on the wetransfer.com or Cloud or on Drop Box) to their local print shop and obtain sets of the documents usually for far less than the architect would charge to provide them for that convenience.  So: the architect providing electronic deliverables actually saves the expense and reimbursable charges the architect would otherwise have to charge the client.  This empowers the client to make their own choices as to hard copy or electronics and is often better, as electronic sets allow the client to zoom in, where you can’t do that with printed media.  The client saves money, because the architect can create a PDF file much faster than running a physical hard copy.  Another benefit: the PDF drawings can be sent places electronically that paper sets of blueprints can’t go, or would cost more or take more time to arrive.

The point being: your architect no longer serves as a local print shop, nor do they want to function in that capacity.

The list of reimbursable costs for architects above is a reasonable ballpark.  Some architects may be higher, others lower. Each firm should calculate what is reasonable for their practice, not use the list above.

Those who don’t detail these in their contracts with their clients are looking for trouble.  It is the prudent architect that lists these costs in their client agreement.  In this manner, all parties have agreed to what is going to be charged for these and other services and there should be no further discussion in the course of the project.  The architect should have their company invoices detail their reimbursable charges and have this as a sub-item list on each and every invoice to their client.  That way, everyone will be used to seeing these charges.

Discussion of reimbursable charges:

If you are a client and you are thinking: “Why should I pay more to the architect than it costs him or her to make a photocopy?  Surely the cost of that single piece of paper is only pennies.”

Let’s examine what you are really paying for here.  It’s not just the cost of the paper.  Firms like HP use their printer business to underwrite their real business: selling ink (although printers aren’t free, costing from perhaps $100 into the thousands for certain types and sizes).  Ink cartridges can easily be $34 each for certain colors and the number of pages run is usually far less than claimed on the sales information for that cartridge. Then someone has to take that photocopy and file it in the project file in the right folder.  Did that person actually indicate that time on their time sheet to do that?  And the fact that the architect had to replace all the printers in his/her office last week, because of a lightning storm; was that cost added to the cost of only the paper?  Now you begin to realize that the architect, just as all businesses, must have a reasonable multiple built into their reimbursable charges, just to remain in business and provide clients with a level of service that is expected from a professional company.

With this level of detail pertaining to most common costs, services and fees provided from Architecture Firms around the World form a perfectly clear cost understanding to all clients relating all Architectural service charges. These structures based Service Fees are detailed from RIBA and AIA standards fee schedules of 2016.