How much does it cost to hire an architect?

Architect Cost

How much does it cost to hire an architect?

Architects are not just the people who draft plans for a building or addition. When you work with one it means that you have hired them to develop a design, help you find appropriate contractors, guide the entire project through any required approval processes, and checks in on the construction to ensure that all is going accordingly.

Working with an architectural service is generally calculated at 10 – 17% of the total building budget.

Cost breakout

The costs for most architectural work, according to the American Institute of Architects, can be broken down into phases of the work:

  • Initial interview to determine the scope of the project and to review the client’s needs and wishes. By the end of this meeting a preliminary budget is established;
  • Subsequent review of proposed work, budget, and outline of architect’s plans – 5 to 10% of established budget.
  • Schematic design period in which the architect drafts floor plans and elevation drawings, works with any structural engineers (if necessary), and meets with planning agencies to verify any requirements or standards – 10 to 15% of established budget.
  • Final design period in which the architect finalizes their drawings and incorporates all details about materials and finishes, any fixtures or equipment, and all systems to be incorporated into the structure. At this point the architect begins to serve as the project manager and reviews the plans with any required local agencies while also obtaining necessary permits. (If contractors are to be used it is at this point that they must be selected) – 15 to 20% of established budget.
  • Finding the contractor is the responsibility of the home or property owner, but the architect will usually serve in an advisory capacity through the selection process and also help the client through the bid review process as well – 5% of established budget.
  • Completion of construction documents which describe the entire project in great detail. It is at this point that the building permit is usually submitted – 40 to 45% of estimated budget.
  • Administration of the construction process which is usually done at least once a week, or even more often if the length of the project is not very substantial. This is going to ensure that contractor’s requests for payments are accurate, that any changes by the client are approved, and that all “final” details are corrected or finished by the contractor – 15 to 20% of established budget.

Clearly this is just a very basic outline of the anticipated work that the architect will provide, but it does give a good idea at how much of the responsibility they can manage.


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