How to Hire an Architect or Interior Designer, Part III
Welcome to the Final Post about How to Hire and Architect or Interior Designer.
Let’s re-cap what we’ve discussed so far:
1 – What’s the Difference Between an Architect and an Interior Designer?
Laying out the differences and similarities and who each professional can do what for your project.
2 – How do I Find an Architect or Interior Designer?
4 key places to find your perfect match.
3 – Pick Up the Phone
Tips and preparation before your initial conversation.
4 – Meet your Architect or Interior Designer
The importance of this face to face meeting.
5 – Understanding the Interior Designer or Architect’s Process
Their approach on how they will work through your project.
6 – Defining the Services of an Architect or Interior Designer
What services to expect from the beginning to the end of a project.
It’s the Digital Age, baby.
How do I know what my project will look like?
How do designers and architects envision what they want to create in a space and then describe it to their client? It’s hard for most people to visualize. Thankfully, there are a variety of approaches to tackling this issue so that the designer can explain visually what’s going on in their head and translate it into something you can see and understand. With large scale projects (and often larger budgets), a 3D Model or computer rendering is presented in the early phases to help you get an idea of what your space could look like. This is a key portion of the design phase where the architect can build it all virtually before they break ground with actual construction. With smaller budgets this may not be feasible, so you might be presented with examples of other finished designs and styles that similar in look and feel. In the early stages, ask if this is something you’ll be provided, or if there will be an additional fee.
We’re in the 21st Century and technology allows us to communicate much more easily and efficiently. You can email or post your favorite inspiration images and send them directly to your Architect or Designer, or as we prefer – save them in Pinterest or a Houzz Idea Book for easy reference. Designers and Architects can then also present concepts and designs online when you’re working across the country or around the world.
So let’s talk money.
How much is an Architect or Interior Designer?
In a previous blog (here) we’ve talked about the cost of hiring an Interior Designer, but here’s a brief recap.
Something to think about – Architects or Designers who offer the lowest bid might only provide minimal work, or might up-charge down the road. The lowest cost is not always the best idea and quite often is more expensive in the long run. Remember, you get what you pay for.
Much like a lawyer or other service professionals, Interior Designers or Architects might charge by the hour for the time they spend working on your project. Ask for an estimate of the time they feel it might take so you’re prepared for what the cost range will be. If there are any project changes or additions, nothing will need to be renegotiated in your contract.
Flat fees are most commonly used on larger scale projects. The Architect or Interior Designer will give you a quote with their fee structure along with a list of services and time line within your scope. This is the most transparent in terms of fees and expectations. This structure will account for the amount of time it will take to complete your project, and will also come with restrictions on how many revisions are included. It’s important to ask how many design revisions or change orders are permitted and what that cost will be.
An Architect typically charges between 15%-20% of the total construction budget. Let’s say your budget is $1,000,000, then your architect might charge about 18%, or $180,000. Note: if your budget increases, so does the fee.
The Total Cost of a project is Hard Costs (Construction) plus Soft Costs (Fees and Inspections). It’s safe to assume that soft costs will be another 25%-30% of the hard costs.
Build It and They Will Come
Now, Where Do I Find a Builder?
Your Architect or Designer may refer you to a builder they prefer working with and have had a successful relationship in the past. Or you may bring your own builder into the project. Whatever path you decide, you will have a separate contract with the builder and they will act as a partner on your project along with you and your Architect or Interior Designer. It’s helpful to have a builder on the team during the design phase of pre-construction. They will offer their feedback on feasibility and costs within your budget.
Best of luck building your dream team to create one of your biggest and most beautiful investments!
To read our previous blogs, see Part I and Part II of Hiring an Architect or Interior Designer