The “architectural” fee usually includes compensation for structural, mechanical, and electrical engineering consultants if they are needed. Additional fees are required for additional engineering disciplines such as civil engineering, geotechnical engineering, acoustics, interior design, lighting design, site surveying, and landscape design.
Is a written contract necessary?
We strongly recommend that you and your architect have a clear written letter of agreement or contract that details your expectations and the architect’s services, fees, and schedules. Our national organization, the American Institute of Architects, has developed a comprehensive series of documents, including contracts, which are good place to start from.
Once you have hired an architect, what is the next step?
The architect meets with you to develop your “program” (description of your needs) and then begins designing your facility. You and the architect will meet as many times as required to ensure that the design fits your needs and budget. Once the design is finished, the architect prepares the detailed drawings and other documents construction firms need for their bids. To prepare these documents, the architect may need to enlist the help of structural, mechanical, electrical and other special consultants. Meanwhile, the architect also ensures that the design complies with building codes and regulations.
How is a building contractor selected?
If you haven’t already selected a general contractor, you will usually invite contractors to review the documents provided by your architect and submit bids. As a rule, the responsible contractor with the lowest bid is hired.