Guidelines for Hiring an Architect in Washington DC

Guidelines for Hiring an Architect in Washington DC

April 29, 2020 dcrapermit No Comments

Reasons for Varying Architectural Fees

  • Determination of fees structure on the basis of hours, square foot & percentage
  • Various services like draft & full plans, construction documents & project administration
  • Complexity & volume of projects
  • Place & cost of living including building costs & final fees
  • Choice of professional – whether a veteran or an aspiring architect

Architectural Design Costs at Various Levels

  • Basic Level Cost: 8% to 10 % for New Construction & 10% to 12% for Remodeling
  • Basic + Cabinetry: Up to 12% for New Construction & up to 14% for Remodeling
  • Basic + Cabinetry + Electrical: Up to 13% for New Construction & up to 15% for Remodeling
  • Basic + Cabinetry + Electrical +Bidding: 14% for New Construction & up to 16% for Remodeling
  • Basic + Cabinetry + Electrical + Bidding + Construction Administration: Up to 17% for New Construction & up to 19% for Remodeling
  • Basic + Cabinetry + Electrical + Bidding + Construction Administration + Project Management: 19% for New Construction & up to 20% for Remodeling

Standard Costs of Hiring Architects

  • Usually, architects charge a percentage of the total project cost within $10,000 to $60,000
  • Occasionally, they charge hourly for drawing up initial plans or undertaking limited service
  • Few professionals charge on the basis of per square foot.

Architectural Charges Based on Hierarchy

  • Principal: The supervisor of an architectural firm charges $150-$250.
  • Project Manager: A manager with 10 years of expertise charges about $125.
  • Intern Architect II: Architects with 6 to 8 years of expertise charge around $90.
  • Intern Architect I: Architects with 3 to 5 years of experience charge about $70.

Architectural Cost per Square Foot

Pay an architect within $2 to $15 per square foot, based on the following aspects:

  • Concept Development & Architectural Drafting: $2-$5 per sq. ft. including consultation, site visit & initial drafting
  • Construction Documentation: $2-$5 per sq. ft. encompassing layered drawings for construction elements of framing, electrical & plumbing
  • Project Management & Administration: $2-$5 per square foot

Architectural Fees & Construction Cost Percentage

  • Usually, an architect charges around 8% to 15% for projects
  • The price range of a typical home build project is within $160,000 to $475,000
  • Architectural fees are calculated by multiplying the percentage (%) by the total build price.
  • 8% x $160,000 = $12,800
  • 15% x $475,000 = $71,250
  • The common range is $12,800 to $71,250 with an average price of $34,500

Architectural Costs for Residential

  • Most architects charge 8% to 15% for residential services, based on budget & project type
  • Homeowners spend around $2,000 to $8,500, considering plans, projects & partial services
Role of an Architect:

Architect performs a wide array of functions, including:

  • Producing plans, blueprints & construction documentation
  • Working as an agent supporting planning, management & construction administration activities, facilitating bid evaluation & selecting a contractor
  • Comprehending engineering, structural & spatial relationships, applicable building codes, and zoning guidelines
Architectural Costs for Remodeling & Home Addition
  • The costs of remodeling and home additions include 12% to 20% of the total project.
  • Additional building costs range from $20,000 to $70,000, where one has to pay $2,400 to $14,000.
  • Architects may charge more for several reasons including:
    • Dealing with unknowns in the current building structure, creating prospects of multiple revisions.
    • Making changes as the project progresses
    • Updating home for bringing an exposed construction area up to current code

Why Need an Architect?
If the answer is ‘yes’ to any one of the following questions, you should hire an architect:

  • Are you seeking blueprints for commercial projects?
  • Need a permit for your building project?
  • Need a plan required by issuing authority?
  • Need help in designing your room or house?
  • Want an architect’s seal on specific project areas?
  • Do you want a simple remodeling or home addition plan?
  • Want to combine form with functions for structural considerations?
  • Do you think your remodeling is complex enough for an engineer or draftsperson?
  • Are you planning to ‘raise the roof’ and add a second story to your existing home?

How to Hire the Right Architect?
The right architect will help you to transform your desires into reality, matching your budget. Seek out:

  • Enthusiasm for your project
  • Capability to collaborate
  • Capacity to manage the size & scope of your project
  • Strong candidate portfolio

Questions You Should Ask an Architect

  • Ask about the approach to design philosophy like organic, modern, functional, or industrial.
  • Check out project experience to ensure that architect can manage your project
  • Find out challenges where the architect is expecting difficulties & requires design changes
  • Request estimated time of construction for managing the project with the clear architectural plan
  • Know whether charges are on an hourly, percentage, or square foot basis for managing budget
  • Inclusions in basic services & additional fees & how the package matches with project needs
5 Phases of Architectural
  • Schematic Design: A preliminary design stage includes:
    • Site Visit & Analysis, Client Consultation & Making of the primary draft
  • Design Development: Once the client accepted a plan & delineated in the first phase:
    • The architect converts it into a comprehensive technical plan.
  • Construction Documentation: Hard copy blueprint for:
    • Sending to contractors for bidding
  • Bidding & Negotiation: Architect can help to:
    • Get bids through working relationships with several contractors.
  • Construction Administration: Architects supervise the project through:
    • Creating additional drawings
    • Approving requests for progress payments
    • Managing changes to architectural plans
    • Negotiating disagreements
    • Solving conflicts or lack of design detail

Legal Considerations While Hiring Architects

  • Ownership of Plans:
    • Entitle the patent to plan as belonging to an architect
  • Design Inaccuracies:
    • Work out design inaccuracies in consultation with architects & contractors