How Much Do Architects Charge for Design Work?

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Examining Construction Costs: How Much Do Architects Charge for Home Design Work?

Whether it’s construction on a brand new home or smaller-scale custom home remodel work, high-end architectural firms can bring an additional level of quality to any construction project.

A better end-product is almost always the result of a collaboration between architects and the general contractors working at high-end construction companies.

However, just like any of those high-end construction firms, you’ll find that high-end architectural firms and their associated architect costs can vary based on a number of factors. As a result, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to assessing an architect’s fees and pricing criteria in relation to overall project costs.

That’s why it’s always beneficial for clients and customers to learn about the true value of architectural services and the many benefits and insights they bring to the table, as well as the various pricing methods that might be used by different firms.

A drill laying on top of a wooden table alongside some screws and several pages of blueprints

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Here, you’ll learn everything you need to know about what goes into determining an architect’s fees, the three primary fee structures used by architects, and more.

The Value of High-End Architectural Services

Over the years, we’ve learned that collaborating with the right architects has paid off tremendously for the success of our projects.

The benefits of working with licensed architects on high-end residential projects include:

Having Unique Planning Insights Up-Front

Having architects on-hand during the initial consultation stages where we discuss our client’s requirements for their dream home provides great value. That’s because having the input of architects during these early phases helps us know how to best tailor home designs from the start to best accommodate our client’s requests.

Reaching Aesthetic Perfection

Since an architect’s work is largely concerned with perfecting aesthetic matters, having an architect’s input helps us better strategize the most effective ways to manipulate a room’s proportions, alignments, and materials to create optimal results for our customers. Similarly, skilled residential architects have the know-how required to specify which finishes and fixtures will be best suited to any residential project.

Receiving Detailed Schematic Designs

Conceptual in nature, the design phase known as the “Schematic Design Period” involves architectural design professionals coming up with preliminary drawings such as floor plans, site plans, elevations, and other critical construction documents. Also, many of today’s leading architects are even capable of doing advanced computer renderings to help the clients and project managers better visualize how all the spaces and nuances of their designs will come together in the real world. But regardless of what schematic designs come out of any unique Schematic Design Period, the project manager and customer will both be able to look at them and either approve or request changes before sharing with the rest of the team.

As you can see, the benefits of collaborating with a high-end architectural team are plentiful. However, the costs for these various architectural design services can vary greatly based on a number of factors such as:

  • The overall scale and scope of work.
  • The overall complexity of the project.
  • The location of the worksite.
  • The square footage of the worksite.
  • The intricacy of the design work.
A close-up of blueprints on a white piece of paper laying down on a table next two a pencil

Photo by Matej from Pexels

All of the above factors impact the architect’s fee. These structures can come in a number of forms (just like with general contractors), but some of the most common architectural fee options include hourly rates, charging by the size or scope of the project, and taking percentage fees from the total project costs.

A Closer Look Architectural Fee Structures

Hourly Rates for Architectural Design Services

There are many factors that impact the exact hourly rates for different architectural design services. But despite the variances in actual prices based on things like location, competitor rates, and other factors, the “hourly rates route” is often a good one for people who are extremely confident in their decisions from the very beginning. In other words, if you’re the type of person who can decide on a preliminary decision and stick with it throughout the entire construction process, then paying on an hourly basis might just be for you.

However, if you’re the type of person who has a hard time making decisions, then hiring an architect on an hourly basis probably isn’t the best option for you. That’s because every change you want to make as the construction process progresses will increase the amount of hours required to complete the various tasks, which really adds up if you’re paying by the hour.

Charging by Square Foot

For the more indecisive types worried about mounting hourly fees, then paying for architectural design services by the square foot is another option. In this scenario, the only surefire way that your original cost will go up is if you decide to add a much larger addition to your project than what was in the original scope of work.

Percentage Fees Taken From Total Project Costs

When architects collaborate with construction companies, one of the most cost-effective ways to get the most “bang for your buck” is to have the architect firm simply take a percentage off the total end project cost. When you have the ability to follow an original contract from the very beginning, everyone – including the architectural firm, the construction company, and the client – can stay on the same page as much as possible throughout the construction process.

This means agreeing on what is and isn’t included in the scope of work, proactively preparing for any unexpected changes, and having a competent project manager in charge to oversee the day-to-day operational flow. Our team, for example, has become renowned for our project management prowess, especially when it comes to working with outside partners like architects, as well as others like interior designers, plumbers, electricians, and countless others.

When Leading Construction Companies & Architectural Firms Work Together, the Client Always Wins

Over the past 25+ years, we’ve always taken great pride in the relationships we’ve built with our friends at some of New England’s most respected architectural firms. Plus, our unique client-first construction approach provides customers with a single point-of-contact for the entirety of both the design and building phases of a project, meaning our veteran team assumes responsibility for every aspect of the project, from estimation to architecture, schematics to post-construction. Talk about taking a weight off your shoulders!

Two construction workers looking over a paper featuring housing blueprints while on site

Photo by Shopify Partners from Burst

If you’d like to speak with a Sleeping Dog representative to learn more about our relationships with various local architects and how they’ve helped contribute to our massive portfolio of work over the years, feel free to contact us today. We’re always ready to build together!


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