CREATING A PROJECT BUDGET AND FAQ
We continue our comparison using the example below of what happens on the same project when an architect is hired.
Scenario 2: Architect Selected
A client wants a 1,500sf house on a sloping site. After shopping around, checking references and looking over the portfolios of both residential designers and architects, he selects an architect whose design work he likes. The architect has done only a few houses but plenty of complex commercial/ public projects. The client is most impressed by the design quality.
The architect qoutes the client a fee in the neighborhood of 10% of estimated construction costs (much higher than the residential designer's). Using current market values, the architect believes that construction costs will run approximately $320-340/ square feet (because of the slope site). The estimated budget is $480,000. The architect advices the owner to provide a contingency fund of 10% for added costs during construction and to be prepared for the fees the building department could charge for permits. The architects fee is about $40,000, an additional $5,000 is assigned to a structural engineer and $2,000 is spent obtaining a soils report from a geotechnical engineer.
The architect meets with the client's family, to hear what their wants and needs are (and also to understand the family dynamic). They hold a meeting at the site and the architect walks the family through different scenarios at the site. A conceptual/ schematic design is presented soon after and one of the options is selected.
The architect then develops the design further and they are happy with it. The architect intergrates the design with the slope, finding additional square footage by balancing the cut and fill on the sloping site. The design is presented to the design review board and some minor changes are requested by concerned neighbors. The architect takes it in stride and works with everyone to finalize the design. The design is approved by the board.
The architect then generates a set of comprehensive construction documents that details the plans, elevations, several sections, large wall sections for complicated assemblies, extensive sheet notes, sheet specifications and many intricate details.
The set is then reviewed by the building department which issues the permit.
Bids are obtained from a minimum of 3 contractors with good reputations, with bids falling within the range of estimated construction costs.
A pre construction meeting is held and a healthy working relationship developes with the contractor. Various schedules are required of the contractor, including construction time and a bill of materials. Request for material substitutions and change orders are reviewed carefully by the architect.
Applications for payment by the contractor are reviewed by the architect as it corresponds to what has been built and installed.
The project is built on schedule, the design quality is maintained and change orders are kept to less than 3% of the project budget.
The owner is happy with the outcome and knows he saved more from hiring a good architect with the necessary experience.
Which of the two scenarios actually saved the owner money?