Don’t go cheap! We explain why

2021/05/07

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Many times, a client choses an architect solely based on its rate. Similarly to other professions, choosing an architect solely based on its rate, can end up becoming pricey. But how much does an architect cost? We explain common mistakes that clients make, which they only come to realize when it’s too late.

How much does an architect cost?

Generally speaking, how much does an architect cost? Similarly to a doctor or lawyer, working under the protection of the Law Society, and with a professional indemnity insurance cover, an architect can become a chartered professional. Both requirements are mandatory due to the high level of responsibility of the profession of an architect.

Usually, a project requires a team of architects with different area of expertise and responsibilities.

Are there cheaper architects?

Many of our clients have been offered cheaper rates by other architects. Sometimes considerably cheaper rates, even half. The professional activity isn’t restrictive and the architect can offer whichever rate he/she decides to. That is why some architects are offering really low rates, which can be very attractive. 

The client must ask him/herself if he/she intends to build a house within a certain budget, does he/she wishes to save costs in terms of the architect price or the overall design?

Why does an architect cost this much?

  1. Due to the hours of commitment that are necessary for the project and site management.
  2. Due to the business expenses: insurance (a cover for each site), professional membership, taxes and office rent. In addition to all the other expenses that we all have.
  3. Hourly rate and continuous professional development, just like other professions of such responsibility.

How can an architect be cheaper?

Hopefully we made it clear how much an architect’s work is worth, so how is it possible that some architects work for such less money? Without generalising, there are some traits common to the architects that charge less.

Here are a few examples:

Less commitment 

Obviously, less commitment means less working hours and thus less cost. This in turn impacts both the quality and accuracy of the technical documentation. Some common drawbacks include:

  • Delays obtaining permits, due to the need to correct mistakes in the documentation or project.
  • Failures in the execution due to lack of detail, resulting in overspending, which is not the contractor’s responsibility and the client ends up paying for. Additionally, delays in the project are also a consequence.
  • Untrustworthy energy performance certificates.
  • Inconsistency between the images previously shown to the client (expected) and the actual outcome of the project in addition to many more variables.

Using digital tools illegally 

Computer software for architectural design, namely cad drawing and structural design software, are very expensive. Many times these tools don’t have a valid license and are in fact software piracy. This can cost dearly to the infractor. If the project is developed using illegal tools, the final design may contain errors resulted from faulty software which is also usually not up to date. No one wants to have a house designed by a faulty software due to lack of a valid license.

Saving costs in Public Liability

Public Liability insurance cover with a minimum protection against accidents.

Lack of contribution

Minimum amount of commitment, meetings, getting in touch and visiting sites.

Reusing resources

Reusing resources and drawings from other projects. Consequently the design is not as well thought, detailed, and neither it meets the client’s individual requirements.

Refusing the client’s collaboration in the project

An architect is meant to spend many hours for each phase of the project, managing and presenting options to the client. If an architect avoids communication with the client, if he/she doesn’t present solutions and instead simply states that “it can not be done”, he/she might be trying to save many hours or work.

Lack of infrastructure

There are many low cost architects who work alone and are very informal. In many instances, they don’t even have an office. You can easily spot this, if for instance, they avoid meeting in an office space  where they could present the project properly, and instead want to meet in a cafe. Another issue is the fact that you would be hiring only one professional instead of a team with different expertise. Additionally, it is fairly easy for an architect working solo to disappear in case of a claim, if we don’t even know where he/she is based.

Saving in hiring an architect may end up being expensive

An architect is ultimately responsible for a project being cheaper or more expensive. Streamline, efficient and viable solutions require more work and commitment from an architect. 

A low cost architect will avoid spending much time trying to achieve such solutions. Investing in a more expensive architect may not only result in a less expensive project overall, less economical issues, but also a more trustworthy budget.

If you are looking for a qualified company with a great portfolio, get in touch with us. We will find a solution for your problem.

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