Open Forum

 View Only
  • 1.  Architects' fees

    Posted 01-14-2016 10:04 PM
    I have a client who is looking at the costs to move to a new site (either a new building or they will renovate one).  What amount should they budget for architect's fees, and if they have both a design architect in another city and a local architect of record, how does that change the total architects' fees? 

    Barbara Punt, President
    Punt Consulting Group
    409 North PCH, Suite 326
    Redondo Beach, CA 90277
    (310) 937-3366

    When in DoubtPunt!

  • 2.  RE: Architects' fees

    Posted 01-15-2016 08:35 AM

    Building architect fees are typically calculated as a percentage of the cost of the project (~10-15%), but you might also speak with the regional AIA office regarding fee structures.

    Kevin Coffee

  • 3.  RE: Architects' fees

    Posted 01-15-2016 10:57 AM


    The fee depends a lot on the project. It is typically calculated as a percentage of the construction cost. It can vary from 6% to 15% depending on the complexity of the project and what is included in the fee. A barebones storage building might come in at the lowest fee. Well know design architects may charge the higher fees.

    Ideally, that fee is all inclusive. That is, it includes all of the specialist consultants that the Architect of Record uses on a project (HVAC, MEP, Structural, Civil, Landscape,etc.). Most often the Architect of Record is a local architect, as they are the ones who have the final sign off on documents submitted the local building officials who will approve the project. 

    Using a separate Design Architect can work several ways. During final design, a Design Architect will typically be part of the Architect of Record's team. During initial concepts, a Design Architect may contract with the museum directly, as no documents need to be approved at that point.  When the design is confirmed, it is best to have the Design Architect help pick the Architect of Record, who then manages all the subcontracts, including the design architect.  As you can imagine, this sometimes gets complicated as the Architect of Record is contractually responsible for the project, but the Design Architect is responsible for the success of the design. 

    Sometimes, the Design Architect is also the Architect of Record and may have a local architect as a subcontractor. If the Design Architect can be on site frequently, it can work well. 

    The all-inclusive fee arrangement is typical, but subcontracts can also be broken out and billed as additional expenses. This could be the case with a Design Architect  or with any other specialist consultant that might be addressing a particularly difficult issue (HazMat remediation on a brownfield site, say). Or, sometimes a client will have a policy that the fee can only be XX%. Then there is negotiation about what is included and what isn’t. And sometimes the client will want to keep the contracts separate to maintain control over a particularly important part of the project--typically exhibits, sometimes landscape, or another discipline.

    So, like most things, the answer here is that “it depends.” 

    I am happy to talk about this offline.
    Guy Hermann, Principal
    o: 860-245-1323
    c: 860-857-7363
    Web:  Info about us
    Blog:  Observations, opinions, and the occasional rant
    Facebook: Odd and Interesting links and news about the firm
    LinkedIn:  Personal information
    Guy Hermann, Principal
    Museum Insights
    c: 860-857-7363