What can I choose for the architecture

Tips on the choice and fee of the architect

Architect contract and fee

Even for smaller projects, it should not only be clarified in advance which qualities are important in house construction; Quotes must also be obtained as to how much a planning service will cost in total. A few fee models have established themselves in the industry. They are legally subordinate to the OR and are to be determined in a binding manner within the framework of a work contract. If the architect is an SIA member, billing is usually carried out in accordance with SIA standard 102 “Regulations for the services and fees of architects”. The fee includes a percentage of the total construction cost - depending on the phase of the process and the type of work, the range is between 10 and 20 percent. However, the calculation models are not binding, but should be understood as recommendations.

Services weighted differently

The remuneration model is based on the assumption that there is a connection between the construction costs of a property and the time required by the planner. Standardized phases such as project planning, tendering and implementation, which the architect has to take care of, are also used for the calculation. If further requirements have to be met, such as strategic planning or in-depth preliminary studies, these are to be rewarded according to the effective time invested.

The different work phases are:

  • Pre-project phase
  • project phase
  • Preparation for execution
  • Execution phase
  • Final phase

A pre-project phase includes problem analysis, study of possible solutions and a rough estimate of the construction costs and deadlines; almost 10% of the total fee is usual for this. The project planning phase usually requires a little more than a third of the total effort. The execution phase, on the other hand, usually takes up the largest part of the invoice; The services for this include definitive implementation plans, the issuing of contractor and supplier contracts, design management and construction management. A final phase is weighted with just under 5%. On the one hand, this procedure allows a detailed breakdown of the services to be provided. At the same time, this key determines the framework so that an architect can invoice a down payment for services provided before the project is completed.

Choice between flat rate and according to effort

Wherever possible and sensible, the client should agree a flat fee with the architect based on the above calculations. A lump sum agreed upon guarantees greater planning security in terms of costs. It is important that the client does not submit any subsequent change requests.

In addition to this, billing is often based on effort, whereby the working hours and the use of technology are counted. Obtaining an offer in advance is recommended.

A planning process is often associated with imponderables. Changes can result in additional costs, for which the architect - depending on the contractual agreement - may also charge an additional planning fee. Therefore, even in the case of flat-rate fees, compensation for possible additional costs must be agreed in advance.

It is therefore worthwhile, together with the architect, to define exactly which services are eligible for additional costs, for example whether the installation of a more expensive dishwasher than originally planned is added to the construction cost - and would therefore be eligible for a fee.

When does an order start?

It is also worth defining the legal relationship between the client and the architect at the earliest possible point in time. Should a project not be implemented, but for which the architect has already performed certain preliminary work without a contract, this can result in claims that can be prevented with a legal situation that has been clarified in advance.

The relationship between the client and the architect is a relationship of trust. The more clearly the order and billing are defined, the easier it is to concentrate on the purpose of the collaboration: the new construction, renovation or expansion of a residential building.