What architectural work costs and why? What you’re paying for: A comprehensive guide to what architectural services cost and why https://www.canadianarchitect.com/raic-releases-new-fee-guide-for-architects-and-clients/ I am often asked the costs of my services.  As a professional architect I charge a percentage of construction fees.  If you have a half a million dollar budget, my fees would be ten percent of the construction costs.  That is for full architectural services including designing, preparing construction documents and construction administration  and site visits. There is also a guide to architect services available and I have included the link above. Architects are consultants as well as co-ordinators and technical managers trained to deliver a project on schedule and within budget. Most architect agreements stipulate the project must come within 15% of budget; if it doesn’t, the plans must be revised at no extra cost. This is a standard rule for architects.  Also, architects are insured and are liable for any errors or omissions that result on the final build as a result of their negligence.  Recourse to all other professional designers is very limited or non-existent. Finding the right architect can be tricky – especially in residential construction.  Architects often take on a variety of work and don’t often specialize in residential construction.  It is important to find someone that has experience with your projects but also has a practice that embraces your type of projects, otherwise you will have an architect that specializes in restaurant interiors doing a one off cottage without any knowledge of the unique challenges and considerations for such a project. Sometimes you find the right contractor first and they recommend an architect. This could be a double-edged sword. On the one hand you know the contractor and architect can work together. But if the architect depends on the contractor for referrals, the risk is they might be more concerned with keeping the contractor happy than you. If you find the architect first, can they work with the contractor – you need to call references and follow your instinct on such matters. How do you find the right architect? Check out the OAA electronic directory. It might include information on projects an architect has worked on, commissions, awards, etc. But your best bet is to talk to people who have worked with this architect.  Next, understand the responsibilities and expectations. What services do you expect them to deliver? What are you responsible for? When do you expect certain milestones to be completed? How much are you willing to pay? Then put these terms in writing. Have a separate contract between you and the architect apart from the one you have with your contractor. Outline the terms and conditions of the entire project, including a payment schedule.  One document is the Canadian Standard Form of Agreement Between Client and Architect. There’s also a shorter version, which you could use if you just need input for a small aspect of a project, like a modification to renovation plans. Most clients pay a deposit once they sign a contract with an architect — usually a percentage of the architect’s total fee. There are two main types of fees: architectural services and out-of-pocket expenses, such as travel costs and the cost of reproducing documents. Architects charge a lump sum, hourly rate or a percentage of the total cost of the construction project, or a combination. Don’t let it come down to cost. Choose an architect whose skills you trust, with whom you can work; one who can make your design project a reality.