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Savings Guide for Architectural Services

architectrual drawing

To many people, starting a building project, architectural services can seem too expensive and unreachable. However, while it appears that you’re spending a lot of money on hiring an architect, they also help in reducing the overall construction costs.

If you want to hire an architect but feel a bit overwhelmed by the cost, you can follow our complete savings guide. Here, we have tips for spending less on an architect and different ways the service would reduce project costs.

How Much Does Architectural Services Cost?

Before reducing the cost of architectural services, it would help to know what to expect in terms of the general cost. There’s no fixed amount that all architects provide their services at; instead, it is dependent on the project you are hiring them for, the reputation and experience of the service, and the difficulty level.

The well-known job of an architect is to draw plans, and they charge for the different stages of the project, from the planning drawings and building regulations to completion. Asides from that, architectural services also provide feasibility assessments, planning applications, tender and construction, building regulation, contract administration, project management, and construction inspection. Based on this, you see that the cost will depend on how much your architect is doing.

Architectural services can set up their pricing plan in different ways. For one, you can pay by the hour, which is suitable for smaller projects. Some architects also give a fixed fee, which is a lump sum that they come up with after assessing the task’s difficulty.

Architect looking at model of building

Another way they can charge you is by taking a percentage of the project costs. Depending on the project and the architect’s involvement, they can take between 1.5% and 20% of the total costs. The larger the project, the lower their percentage; since the overall price would be very high.

Usually, the architect earns more when paid by hourly rates or percentage, especially if the project lasts longer or costs more than it was supposed to. But with fixed fees, the architect gets paid the same regardless of any difficulties encountered with the project.

Can Architects Help in Reducing Construction Costs?

Hiring an architect also helps reduce the overall construction costs since they can provide different services. Architects focus on efficiency by analyzing the design and assisting clients in getting more money. Hiring an exemplary architectural service adds intelligent design strategies to the building design without sacrificing creativity.

Here are some ways architects can reduce construction costs.

  • Structural System

An architect can design a straightforward grid and cost-efficient structural system. Adding unnecessary footings and columns would waste money, so they can work with the structural engineer to figure out what works.

  • Exterior Design

One of the most expensive construction items is the building skin or envelope. But architecture and reducing this costly material aren’t needed in the overall design. Also, having a lot of glassed areas would increase the utility costs.

  • Site Evaluation

Architects also conduct extensive due diligence on the building site to prevent soil challenges, zoning, and topographical problems. By doing so, they can avoid utility costs later on or export and import soil.

  • Plumbing, Mechanical, and Electrical Systems

Architects can also analyze the electrical, plumbing, and mechanical systems with the respective engineers, considering the initial utility, life-cycle, and maintenance costs. They can shorten the plumbing pipe routes, keep mechanical units centrally located, and check the electrical service.

Plumbing tools on architectural drawing

Tips to Reduce Architectural Service Costs

Here are some tips to use when negotiating to reduce architectural service costs.

Pay Fixed Fees

As mentioned earlier, clients lose more when they agree to pay by the hour or a percentage of the project costs. One of the sure ways to reduce the price of the service is by asking to pay fixed fees instead. The architecture would give you a lump sum at the beginning based on your requests, and it won’t increase regardless of the project becoming more expensive or taking a long time.

Remember that agreeing to fixed fees would slow down the entire process, as the architect has to outline all the work they will be doing for the whole project. The architect would also need your approval after putting the quote together. Also, if you ever change your mind about the design, there would be variation fees priced as you go.

Make Your Budget Expectations Clear

It’s essential to communicate effectively with your architect. Most people continue to add ideas and designs to their projects and end up surprised when the architect brings a high quote. So, you should set your budget clearly between you and the architect.

It would help if you also listened to the advice of your architect regarding cutting construction costs. A reliable architect will immediately inform you whenever you make a change, and the variation fees are higher than the budget. This way, you can decide to leave things as they are or do it anyways.

Keep Your Little Decisions in Mind

It’s important to note that a bit of decision you make when putting a building plan together can increase the total costs significantly. For instance, you might decide to have higher ceilings on your building design. But this would mean that you spend more on glazing, scaffolding, internal finishes, lighting, and more.

So, whenever you’re considering any decision, you should ask the architect to explain the impact on their fees and the total project costs. Let the service know from the beginning that you would be interested in this type of communication.

Use the Design Consultant for Only Part of your Project

Another way to reduce costs is by hiring a design consultant and architect for partial services. This would reduce your budget since they won’t work with you from inception to completion. From designing to delivering, there are different stages in a building.

You can choose to have the architect on board for only certain stages that are needed. Some architectural firms also include partial services in their overall costs, making it easier for you to decide when you need them.

Hire a Cost-Effective Architecture Firm

There’s a wide range of architectural firms out there, but you have to choose one based on how cost-efficient they are. You can compare the best architectural services near you and choose those with positive customer reviews and affordable prices.

It would be best to go for an architect that will give you a red flag whenever you exceed your budget and are willing to communicate properly with you during the design stage.

Final Thoughts

The client and architect relationship is a partnership where both work together to get the best out of the project. With open and transparent communication, you can find different ways to save money, not only on the architect but also on the entire building project. Regardless of how many costs you cut, you will still have to spend money. So, ensure you’re doing so with the best architectural services.

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