5 Replies

How do you choose a reputable architect?  And what is a fair price?  We've heard everything from per-hour to per square foot, not sure if there is an industry standard.

@ Ashleigh it all depends on the scope of work. What is your scope of house, reno, commerical, etc....? I work primarly in large scale commerical and we typically have a fixed fee based on the size, cost, and complexity of the project. Please provide details. I know in Maryland a friend of mine that does high end residential a design of a single family house would start at $45,000 to $60,000. Homes in my area start at $600,000 so this is a 10% fee on the high end. 

As for a reputable architect.... We all are ???? All architects are licensed and have a professional code of conduct that must be followed or you'll lose your licence. Architects are like doctors in which they specialize in a specify building type. Single family homes is the most common type of architectural practice. I would start by going to the website ( this is the professial association that most architects belong to in our area. The architect will have AIA after their name). On the top of the NC AIA home page click on a city near you and then click on the "find an Architect" button. Go to each architects website and find projects you like that look like the one you want. Get your list down to three and meet with them to figure out if you connect with them.  Good luck on your search.

Thank you!  No offense meant by reputable - the few people I know who have used architects in this area have had horrible experiences - mostly stemming from communication issues.  Just trying to mitigate overpayment and unintended stressors.

Our scope is a 'new' residential interior build - we just took a home down to the studs/shell.  Size is approximately 1600sq.ft.

@Ashleigh M.  No offense to @Mark Sidorczuk  but all architects are not reputable, nor are all contractors, real estate agents, doctors, etc. Also, the fact someone holds a license doesn't mean they are good at their jobs, only that they passed the test.

Architects fees and the way they charge can vary, therefore, it's important to know what is customary in your area. You may not need a licensed architect to do what you are doing (unless it is required by your city) it may be that a designer/draftsperson can do the work for you at a much more reasonable rate. 

We have used drafts people many times over the years on smaller projects, both new and remodels. Now our son (self taught) draws all of our preliminary architectural and site plans, we then give them to a structural engineer that has a licensed architect he works with, (they charge by sq. ft.) she goes over the plans we submit and looks for any errors in the design, etc. and gives suggestions if needed on design or layout, and it works really good for us, and saves a lot of money. Most people don't have that option though.

However; in the future we will be using a licensed architect more, because Michael (my son) would rather get more into finding the new projects to do, and project management. 

Whatever you decide, make sure the person has the proper licensing, bonds, insurance, etc. Check references. Don't be afraid to call people and talk to them and explain what you are looking for and see how they charge, what they do, etc. 

Another thing that influences pricing is local codes. We have municipalities here that require 1/2 or 1/4 what others do (plan details, additional elements of a build, etc.) and it costs a lot less to draw a full plan set for those municipalities than it does for municipalities with stricter regulations or more requirements.

@Ashleigh M.   you might want to go to somewhere that could solicit bids and prices. Go with square foot so that you could get an almost uniform price, state what you need specifically, be very specific is the key, but do not make it narrative because some people do not like to read. Use bullet points or numbers on what you need. Something like will get you a draftsman where they work with an architect.

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