Hiring an architect can be not as expensive as you may think and helps increase the value of the property. You certainly might have watched TV shows, in which the architect magically turns old houses or really shabby apartments into pleasant and functional living spaces. And this is done according to the taste and the needs of the future residents. Who then smile with their happy smiles!
But in daily lives most people say that hiring an architect is very expensive, that is an unnecessary luxury. There is also a widespread opinion that architects create projects that are then not feasible and even impossible to implement in reality!
Is hiring an architect expensive? What does an architect do? Contrary to what you might hear around you, architects have the knowledge of design projects. They are trained to optimize spaces to meet the needs of the residents. Architects also know the most appropriate materials and finishes that need to be used. Cost of an architect could range from 5% to 12% of the overall construction project.
In addition to the above, a well-designed house will save your money in the long run by being more energy-efficient (better lighting, heating, and ventilation) and have a lower cost of construction and maintenance. That said, the sooner you hire an architect for your construction or renovation project, the better the final result will be!
So let’s dig a bit deeper and what architects do and understand, how to search for a professional architect, who can help you have a home of your dreams!
What do architects do?
Architects help you make choices by presenting solutions that fit your need and your budget. An architect possesses the knowledge and technical qualifications for design and planning projects that include architecture, landscaping, urban planning, interior design, and restoration. Contractor workers, construction masters, and workers do not design! They build/implement the project and are supervised by architects or construction engineers.
So the question is not whether to hire an architect or not, but what do you need an architect to do? Architecture or Interior Design? A viability study? Accompany the construction or renovation project? Create project specification and provide help in choosing materials? There could be multiple demands for the work of an architect and you need to know what to order.
Is hiring an architect expensive?
There is no single price tag for the work of an architect. However, Trade Unions, Associations of Architects or Urban planners have rate tables with minimum fee calculations. These rates may vary, depending on the region and according to the services provided. Worth contacting one of those associations or professional architect firms and ask for a quote.
An important tip is not to compare the services of different professionals just by price. We all know from our own experience that the cheapest is not always the most reliable and high quality. Before making a decision, see which services are included in the architect’s package!
Construction or renovation can be a super detailed project (3D planning, execution details, legal aspects, follow-up visits, budgets, etc.). For example, one proposal may include every element of what you would like to be included. While another proposal may include only general planning, which is then not even considered as design!
The most common types of architect service fee are:
- charge per square meter of work,
- charge as a percentage of project budget,
- charge per technical hour of work or,
- a fixed price per the amount of work.
The price also varies depending on the architect’s experience, the niche in which the architects specializes and brand of the company or the architect.
Construction or renovation of a house or apartment has several general expense categories, which are included throughout the project phases. These expense categories include material, labor, external services, equipment, and transportation. We tend not to always remember, but we also need to include in these costs architect services, planning, foundation, and other facilities.
According to industry estimates and market references, the average value of the architect project is usually between 5% and 12% of the total value of the construction/renovation work. It’s a very low cost for gaining security and peace of mind, generating savings and optimizing time.
Remember that planning is always better! Architects can also help you structure the design and construction process in stages according to the availability of financial resources. This is another great advantage, which architects bring to the project.
In addition, the professional intervention of a qualifies architect, in general, increases the value of the property in the long run (you may decide to sell it one day).
Take into account that when the house/apartment is ready (or prior to the construction/renovation project is even started), it will need to go through legal approvals. These approvals are critical for the purchase/sale transactions, as well as for obtaining project financing from a bank.
Although your renovation budget may be rather not large, hiring a qualified architect is a smart way to be more efficient in your work. This is especially true if the work you intend to do can put your life or the structure of the building at risk. Make a call to an architect or a construction engineer. Otherwise, your project may bring you more headaches than savings.
How to choose an architect?
Just as in any profession, there are good and bad professionals. See our tips on hiring a bricklayer worker in this post. We all need to get better in finding the right professionals for what we are trying to achieve with the renovation and demanding quality services from them. It is worth following the advice of friends, researching specialized websites and magazines. Find time to talk to the architect. Take a look at his portfolio, list of clients and references. Make a list of possible candidates and meet with them to make a conscious choice!
It is also important to evaluate the architect’s training, experience and professional registrations (association of architects, other). How soon is the architect available for the project? Is the architect a sole proprietor or part of a company? Is the architect ready to sign a contract for the services? Will he provide a receipt for the payment?
The goal of this post is not to replace the technical guidance of a qualified architect or a construction engineer. We want people to know a little bit more about what to expect from the work of an architect, to make the right decisions. We also would like you to be able to hire the right services and surround yourself with the right professionals to avoid troubles with your construction or renovation project!
What you can ask an architect to do for you?
There are several options you can hire an architect for. You can ask an architect to help you only with the detailed design: general planning, facades, and legal approval, for example. Or, you can also ask for descriptive memo, cost sheets, detailed work plans, and a detailed budget.
Alternatively, you can hire an architect at the end or in the middle of the project to check if the project is being executed correctly. This type of involvement will help ensure the delivery of the project on time and within budget! You can ask the architect to make price quotes, buy materials, hire and manage the workforce.
Even if you think that your project is rather simple, you just want to change the floor and paint the wall, asking for help from an architect can still make sense. Some professionals also do consulting work. They will go to the store with you, suggest options for materials and guide the project.
Alternatives that fit your budget
What if even with all the above information you still think that you can not hire an architect? Do not even know where to look for one?
For many people hiring a professional to renovate or build is something that is not easy to do. Many do not even know where to look for help or may not have sufficient financial resources to do this. Moreover, we often think that creating an extra wall, building a new mini-cabin next to the main house or re-painting a wall is something simple and does not involve risks.
How about just looking around where you live or work? Almost surely, there is construction going on where you can ask for advice or contacts. Ask at your local City Hall or Prefecture. They often have free technical assistance, architects hired by the municipality to serve the local population.
There are often local or federal laws and regulations that define free assistance for families and households. This assistance sometimes can be linked to minimal household income or other conditions. It does not hurt to ask, so please do!