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Frequently asked questions
How much does an architect cost near me?
Hiring an architect costs 5% to 20% of the total project cost, depending on the size and type. Some architects charge $100 to $250 per hour, while others charge $2 to $15 per square foot for new construction. The flat-rate cost for an architect to draw plans is $2,000 to $20,000.
What services does an architecture firm provide?
Architectural services include the planning, designing, and drawing of home plans and remodeling projects, and managing the construction contracts on behalf of homeowners. Other services include obtaining permits, producing documentation required for the city, and obtaining certificates of occupancy for completed projects.
- Consultation and schematic design – Pre-design planning, ideas, and concepts are presented and developed with client feedback. Then a rough sketch is designed to ensure the building requirements are clearly understood.
- Design development – The rough sketches are developed, reviewed, and refined into final drawing plans, specifications, and elevations.
- Construction documents – The architect helps the client select materials and finishes, coordinates with other designers and engineers, and produces a set of legal contract documents ready for building.
- Contract negotiation – The architect solicits bids from building contractors and helps the client select and hire a contractor.
- Construction contract administration – The architect manages the contractors to resolve any conflicts, ensures the project is built to the drawing plans and specifications, and performs a final inspection.
Do I need a residential architect or a contractor?
- Hire an architect when building a custom home or for home remodeling projects involving structural changes or costs beyond 5% of your house's value.
- Hire a general contractor for house renovations or remodeling projects that don't involve structural changes or costs less than 5% of your home's value.
- Hire a structural engineer for remodeling projects that involve the house's stability, such as knocking down a wall, rebuilding a chimney, or planning an addition.
Does a home architect have to be licensed?
Residential building and remodeling projects may be exempt from requiring a licensed architect in the design, depending on the state. States require locally licensed architects to stamp drawing plans for commercial building projects.
How do I find an architect in my area?
Start by searching our list of remodeling architects, then compare reviews and costs. After finding and contacting potential services:
How to choose an architect:
- Get at least three estimates from local architects to compare.
- Ask for recommendations from family, friends, and neighbors.
- Select companies that are licensed, bonded, and experienced.
- Verify their license, insurance, worker’s compensation, and bond guarantees.
- Read reviews and check out their previous work on HomeGuide, Google, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
- Look for architects that are a member of The American Institute of Architects.
- Ask about their warranties and guarantees.
- Ask for a full itemized estimate in writing.
- Avoid making large payments upfront. Come up with a payment schedule for work completed.
After asking questions and verifying their credentials, hire the best architectural services near you.
What questions to ask local architects before hiring?
When hiring an architectural designer, ask them the following questions:
- How long have you been in business?
- How many similar projects have you completed?
- Are there any potential complications you foresee with this project?
- What is your architect style?
- Can I see your license and liability insurance?
- Can you provide testimonials and references from past customers?
- What type of renderings (3D, video, illustrative drawings) will you submit?
- Can you handle special requirements such as ADA or LEED?
- How long will the project take?
- Do you help with finding and hiring general contractors and subcontractors?
- What does your warranty policy include?
- What is your fee structure and schedule?
- What services are included in the cost?
- Can you provide me a written estimate or contract?
- What happens when your costs exceed the budget?
- What do I need to provide to get started?