How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Architectural Design Service?

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Whether you’re renovating a home or planning a completely new building, architectural design services are a valuable asset in the process. An architect can help you avoid costly mistakes, bring clarity to your vision, and help give construction workers a valuable road map to making these changes.

If you’re doing a smaller remodel, it’s tempting to view an architect as a luxury—nice, but not necessary. If you’re talented at building, this might even be true. But otherwise this could lead you to trouble. You may find your dream home turns into a disaster because your vision didn’t quite match up with reality, or end up having to do it all over because it isn’t up to code.

Although architectural 3D modeling services may seem like nothing more than an added expense, chances are it will save you money in the long run. If you have a project you plan to start in the future, researching the price of architectural design services can help you get a feel for what your total project costs will be.

Architect Fees

The cost of an architect can vary significantly. It will depend on the individual architect and their payment methods, level of skill, and the size of the project. To get a clear average, it’s important to look at all of these before estimating what the price of your particular project might be.

Here’s how much it will cost to have an architect draw plans.

According to HomeAdvisor.com, the average cost of a project reported by their users was $5,296, or between $2,016 and $8,576. Look at the average architect’s website, however, and we can see that using this average as a baseline may not be smart.

Most architects claim to charge between 5% and 20% of the cost of the building. That means if a home costs $100,000, you can expect the price of the architect to be somewhere between $5,000 and $20,000.

As you can see, while the lower end of the spectrum does fall within the average range, it’s still a very different average price tag than what was being reported. It may be that HomeAdvisor users are using them for remodels or other smaller projects, which is reflective in the price. 

While a percentage of the total cost is the most common way for architects to charge, there’s also a few other ways they may do pricing. Some architects charge by the hour, with an average of $125 to $250 per hour. Less commonly, architects may also charge by the square foot, or about $2-$10 per square foot.

What’s the Average Cost of an Architect?

As you can see, there’s quite a variation in fees. Other differences, such as your area, may also reflect on pricing. If you’re worried about figuring out the approximate price of your project, you might get a quote from a minimum of 3 different architects and compare them. The median amount quoted is likely to be the average. It’s important to get individual quotes because while $5,296 is the average cost of a job, it will change depending on the size and complexity of the project.

How Much Do Architects Charge?

Now that we know the different ways an architectural BIM service can charge and the approximate cost of each, let’s take a look at each price point, and how your project may change the price tag for your project. 

Hourly Fees

Some architects and architectural firms charge by the hour. Hourly costs for an architect range between $125-$250 per hour.

If you’re using a firm with a team of architects, the cost can vary depending on which team member works on the project. If it’s the principal architect, the cost will be higher than a newer recruit with only a few years of experience.

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Hourly fees can get expensive for large projects, but they are ideal if you have a small project. If you’re fixing up a bathroom or want to make a new addition in your home, hourly may be a desirable choice. If you’re building a new apartment complex, this may be excessively expensive.

Percentage of Construction Costs

One of the most common ways to charge is based on the construction costs. New construction typically commands a lower fee because it’s less problematic. Remodels, on the other hand, often come with fixing design errors and unexpected problems that come from old construction.

Expect 5%-15% for new construction, and 15%-20% for remodels. The problem with this kind of fee is that you may not know the cost of the architectural fees until the project is complete. When you’re trying to budget the cost of the architect, not knowing the cost of the building can make this method a real headache.

Square Foot Method

The square foot method of calculating costs is less common and may not be offered for small remodels. The square footage of the remodel needs to be big enough to be worth the architects time. If you’re just remodeling a bathroom, a square foot price might not be lucrative enough for an architect to be willing to write up the plans.

If you’re doing a larger project like a building or an addition, an architect may be willing to calculate on square footage. At that point, you can expect $2-$10 per square foot.

This method has its advantages, because if you know the size of your project, you can have an exact fee to add into your construction costs.

Fixed Fees

Rarely, an architect may offer a fixed fee instead of costs that fluctuate with the cost of the building. If an architect is offering a flat fee, it’s important to read the contract carefully and see what it does and does not cover. 

Residential Architect Fees

While you can get a fairly good idea of how much a project will cost based on the above numbers, there’s also a noticeable difference in price between commercial and residential services. This is due to the differences in construction.

Commercial buildings typically involve much larger spaces, while residential fees usually involve new homes or remodels.

The base price for the plans of your dream home, for example, typically run between $3,000 to $8,000. This number doesn’t include extras. It just covers the framework of the home. Electricity, plumbing, cabinetry, and other details are additional to this price and need to be taken into account.

If you want all these things added, expect the price to rise to $10,000 to $60,000, depending on the cost of the home. The larger the home, the higher the cost.

Not all residential work will be new homes, however. Just as much work will be for additions to the home or remodels. For remodels and additions, you can expect a cost of about 12% to 20% on the total project, or between $20,000 to $70,000.

Commercial Architect Fees

The range for commercial architect fees is a lot wider than it is for residential. Expect a price of between 2.5% to 12% of the total building cost. This is a little lower in terms of percentage of the total cost of the building compared to residential, but most commercial work is often at a much larger scale than residential buildings.

Where a particular project falls on this percentage range depends on the complexity of the building. A warehouse, for example, is a relatively simple building and will likely fall on the 2.5% side of the range. An apartment building with lots of detailing, however, is likely to be on the higher side of this percentage.

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The total cost of the building also plays a part in how much the architectural fees are. Typically, the more expensive the building is, the lower the percentage will be. If a new office building costs millions of dollars, it’s likely that the building will also fall into the lower range.

How to Know When You Need an Architect

Architects aren’t the only people who work in the field. There are also a number of other people that do work very closely related to architecture. It may be that you don’t actually need an architect, but an architect drafter, or an interior designer. Here’s a quick look at the differences.

Architectural Drafting Service

A drafter does the technical drawings of the building. They graphically represent the building plans, and help make sense of where electrical, plumbing, and other details go. Most architectural firms have a drafter on staff.

Drafters are usually a lot more cost effective than architects, but there are some things they can’t do. They are not allowed to design anything that requires an understanding of engineering, and sometimes need their work signed off by an architect to confirm that it is accurate.

Interior Design Service

An interior designer works exclusively on the inside of the house, and works on the design of the interior itself. It’s not necessary for an interior designer to be an architect, although many architects do some aspects of interior design.

If all you need is a remodel of the interior itself, you may need an interior designer instead of an architect.

Architectural Designer

Architectural designers are usually one step below architects themselves. Architectural designers usually aren’t licensed, but on the path to becoming a licensed architect. Architect designers cannot provide stamped papers that some government agencies require, but they often do have the skills very similar to an architect

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You’ll need an architect whenever you need stamped documents from an architect to proceed with your project. You may also need an architect if you don’t yet have the engineering aspects of your blueprints done, or if there is a problem with your home you don’t know how to fix.

Other jobs such as drafter or interior designer work on specific aspects of the building, but generally work alongside rather than apart from an architect.

Frequently Asked Questions

If I hire an architect today, how long will it take them to finish the plans?

When you’re excited about getting the blueprints to your new home or building into your hands, knowing how long you have to wait can be nerve wracking. Expect a wait of about 2-6 months before the plans are complete.

While they are not the finished plans, you could get a rough draft to look at in as little as 2 weeks, but this will just be a concept design and likely won’t have the details needed.

How much do architects charge for blueprints?

Blueprints for an average home build run between $2,000 to $20,000. This is a base price, and doesn’t include extras such as revisions or construction information.

Why do I need architectural designs?

Architectural designs help solidify one persons dreams into a concrete design. It helps make the end product match what that person imagines, and helps them gauge prices. Without these plans, it can end up costing the homeowner more as they struggle to fix mistakes made by builders.

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How much does an architect make?

Architects generally earn a salary of about $50,000 to $140,000 per year. Junior architects can expect a more modest salary, while very experienced architects are generally on the higher side of the scale.

How to hire architectural design services

There are a number of excellent firms out there who would be happy to help you with your dream home. Thanks to advances in technology, you’re no longer limited to what ever firm is within driving distance. Instead, you can have your architect design services all done online.

There are sites specifically designed to help you find the right architect. One of these websites is Cad Crowd.

Cad Crowd is a private and secure websites that allows you to safely talk about your building plans without risk of them getting leaked to other people. They’re also prescreened for quality, so you know you won’t get stuck with an incompetent architect.

Cad Crowd is one of the best sites available if you’re looking to hire an architect. 

Hire an architectural design service for your project

Architects are a necessary part of new construction, and also critical to changing old construction for the better. Without an architect, you may end up wasting thousands of dollars on trying to fix mistakes, or end up with a building that doesn’t meet your expectations.

Although an architect’s price tag may seem expensive, they can actually save money long term. If you’re thinking about remodeling, adding an addition, or building a new home, you’ll need an architect to help you make sure the changes are right for you and your family. Get in touch today for a free quote.