How to Find an Architect

To find an architect or building designer, you can call the nearest office of the American Institute or Architect (though not all practicing architects belong to AIA) or the nearest office of the American Institute of Building Designers. The building editor or real estate editor of the local newspaper may be helpful, as may real estate brokers. Neighbors and friends who have worked with such professionals are often a good reference source.

Once you have located some architects or designers, you can arrange a meeting with each one to discuss your plans and needs, and to look at some of the professional’s building plans and photos of the finished projects. Ask for the names and addresses of other clients and request permission to call them. Be strong in expressing your concern for a good working relationship, and in general try to determine whether you’d be happy working with the person.

After you’ve done some shopping, thing things over carefully and make your choice. Once you’ve decided and have agreed to employ a particular architect or designer, the next meeting should be in your home, where the architect’s work (and charges) will begin.

Architect How to Find an Architect

Architect’s fees and rates

Your architect can design the structure, provide working drawings and specification, and then leave the construction or supervision of construction up to you. Or, the architect can do everything from designing through monitoring construction. Generally, architects don’t like to “let go” of their own work before it’s fully completed; they like to make certain that their designs are correctly realized by the builder. Obviously, contract administration by an architect removes a big burden from the homeowner, and, obviously, it increases the architect’s bill.

It’s important that the architect or designer know your working budget from the beginning, and that the planned addition stay within your stated limits. It does no good to have a spectacular set of plans for an addition you can’t afford to build.

You and your architect will agree at the beginning of the project on the type and method of payment. You can choose from a variety of payment methods ranging from a flat fee to a percentage of the entire project’s cost. For simple consultation, architects usually charge hourly rates, anywhere from $20 to $50 or more per hour. For drawing up plans specifications, architects may charge an hourly fee or a flat fee, agreed upon at the beginning. For a project in which the architect supervises construction, the customary fee runs 15 to 25 percent of total construction cost.

Other fee arrangements may be possible as well, depending on the architect. For instance, some may combine an hourly fee for a certain part of the project with a flat fee for another part. The final details must be worked out between you and your architect.

Fees and fee arrangements with building designers are similar to those for architects.


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