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Many clients want and need to consult with an architect prior to starting the design of the project to select a site for the project, develop programming for the project, master planning, facilities planning, feasibility studies, and cost estimating. This is a time period when an architect can develop a close relationship with a client and really add value to the total services that the architect will be performing.
Whtat is schematic design
In this phase, the architect typically makes a preliminary evaluation of the owner’s program, prepares a site plan, a preliminary building plan, elevations, sections, preliminary selection of materials, preliminary estimate of the cost of construction, study models, perspective sketches, and other preliminary representations of the architect’s design.
What is Design development:
Based on the approved design development selection by the client, in this phase the architect develops the design documents that further describes the character of the project with plans, elevations, sections, construction details, materials selections, and updated cost of the work.
Whtat is Design development:
Based upon the approved design development documents, in this phase the architect prepares the drawings and specifications that will be used to apply for a building permit and for the contractor to build the project. An updated estimate may be developed as the construction documents (CD) set is developed.
Whtat is Flat Fee:
A fixed fee or a stipulated sum is an offer by the architecture firm to provide services for a certain dollar amount. This method is good when the services are defined substantially enough for the architect to determine how much time it will take to perform the services and the client understands what is included in the fee. This form is usually what clients want, because it offers the client a known factor of what the architectural fees will be for the project. It also offers the architectural firm an opportunity to provide services more efficiently and make a greater profit. However, when the scope of the project is unclear or when the client does not understand that certain services are not included in the flat fee, then the architect runs the risk of generating a fee dispute with the client and potentially risking profit on the project.
Whtat is Hourly Fee Schedule:
Using an hourly rate schedule is the most flexible for architects. This is generally used when the scope of services is not well defined or in the preliminary phases of design before the project is more defined. The hourly rates can be defined within the architecture firm for each person who is working on the project to include their salary, benefits, and firm overhead and profit. Some clients prefer the hourly method, but want the actual cost of the individual doing the work, plus a multiplier to cover the salary, benefits, and firm overhead and profit. Sometimes the client will accept an hourly method of computation for the project, but wants a guaranteed maximum that will be billed. This requires the architecture firm to notify the client when the guaranteed maximum is approaching and potentially renegotiate the fee. This is a burdensome task and one that often results in a fee dispute.
Whtat is Cost Plus Fixed Fee:
This method allows the architecture firm to bill actual hours expended, plus salary, benefits, and firm overhead, and then bill a fixed fee for profit on top of the bill. It is preferable to get the fixed fee up front, and bill the hourly rate plus multiplier on a regular basis. Clients see this as an advantage when the project is not well defined, whereas from the architect’s perspective this method is less risky.
Whtat is Percentage of the Cost of Construction:
This method ties the architect’s fees to a percentage of the cost of construction, such as 12 percent or some other percentage. However, the true cost of construction is known until the bidding or even when the construction is complete, and then if the actual cost of construction is higher than the estimate, it is difficult for the architect to go back and bill additional amounts to the client for phases of the project that have been completed. If the client does not accept the increased cost of construction, the architect may be in a position to redesign or provide alternatives for no additional fee.
Whtat is Other Methods:
Other methods of computing architectural fees include unit cost methods or outcome-based methods. Unit cost method is where the fee is tied to square footage of the project; whereas outcome-based value pricing is where the fee is based in part on value pricing. A form of outcome-based method is used for the integrated project delivery method, where a bonus structure is attached to meeting the cost and schedule for the project.
Whtat is Reimbursable Expenses:
Some contracts allow the architectural firm to bill the client for expenses such as travel, printing, photography, consultants, and other expenses plus a handling percentage such as 10 percent. However, some contracts prepared by clients do not allow for reimbursable expenses. With respect to expenses of hiring consultants, sometimes that cost is included in the fee to that architect, but most often it is listed as a reimbursable expense. Careful attention to the language in the contract and negotiation for the reimbursement of these expenses is required.