Architect Marbella and Costa del Sol: fees and what to watch out for

It can be a daunting task approaching an architect in Marbella, or the Costa Del Sol region as a whole, especially if you’re not familiar with the local currency and regulations.

Because getting our clients the best possible price to build their villa in Spain is what we do, Eco Vida Homes has broken down what you can expect to pay a Marbella architect so you don’t get overcharged.

What does an architect in Marbella and the Costa del Sol charge?

Drawing of an architect in Marbella

Conventionally, Marbella architects charge a percentage of the build cost. Generally, you can expect to pay between 5% and 17% depending on the size of the project. 

While there are no mandatory rates, almost all architects in Marbella quote the standard rates of their colegio (architects college). Percentages vary according to the scale of the project. The college that supervises Marbella architects can provide extensive tables which show how the rates vary.

Eco Vida Homes covers all professional fees throughout the design process, a geotechnical survey, a topographical survey, the technical architect and comprehensive project management.

If you have any questions about building a home in Spain, call the office on +34 958990964, or take a look around our blog where we demystify the whole process, including questions to ask your architect about their fees.

It’s important to bear in mind that the build costs initially produced by the architect come from standard “build” rates provided by the colegio that are not related to the actual costs of the project. These build rates are just to calculate the architect’s fees and possibly the building license fee, which is a tax paid to the local town hall called the P.E.M (Presupuesto de Ejecución Material del Proyecto). These figures are always lower than the actual costs of building out your project and can be the source of misunderstanding for the hapless foreigner.

Obviously, it’s important to be clear about the difference between estimates of the actual amount you might have to spend and the build costs used just for the purposes of estimating fees. It’s also important to find out at the beginning whether the town hall is going to accept these artificially low build costs as the basis for their license fee or whether, as has happened, they will demand to see the bills and actual costs of the project at the end and send you a bill for the difference. Regardless of the final cost of the project, the architect’s fees remain the figure which has been agreed.

If all this sounds a little complicated and daunting, Eco Vida Homes prides itself on making the process simple, systematic and fun. Good communication is at the heart of this, as well as a clear process for building a home in Marbella.

How do you know your Marbella architect is giving you a competitive price?

A villa on the Costa Blanca
Photo by Ralph (Ravi) Kayden on Unsplash

At Eco Vida Homes, we involve our own team of builders, who work closely with us, and with you, right from the beginning of the design so we know we can always stay within your budget. Our building team, who really know how much things cost, will advise us along the way and know what questions to ask architects about their experience.

For example, they know how many man-days it takes to do things a certain way. All this is effectively without charge. Then, uniquely in Spain, we submit ourselves to an open tender process. You can nominate other builders if you like. That is the only way you can be confident the prices we quote are the best possible prices because you aren’t able to compare them item by item with competitive builders in a transparent tender.

Ask to see examples of our completed projects with testimonials from satisfied clients from Northern Europe.

What about the anteproyecto? How much is that?

Villa design from a Marbella architect
Design from an English-speaking architect in Marbella

The anteproyecto is a collection of initial designs and drawings showing the internal layout and orientation. It allows for detailed consultations to take place with the client and the planning authorities. You will be asked to pay for this in advance, but it should be quite reasonable. As soon as an architect puts pencil to paper, they are bringing to bear all their years of training and experience, so it’s important not to underestimate the value of this.

How much do they charge? To be honest, it varies enormously between architects and will vary enormously between jobs.

Here’s the snag! What if you don’t like the anteproyecto the architect has done? You might have paid for something that isn’t useful to you.

Work with professionals who are committed to doing it your way and who are prepared to produce various iterations of the design until you are happy with the result.

And be sure to ask the architect the right questions about your project so you know you’re both on the same page.

What else is involved in hiring an architect in Marbella?

There’s more to building a house in Spain that an architect will need to take into account besides the quote and anteproyecto. The following may account for the final list of professional fees being somewhat higher than you expected:

  • Proyecto básico (basic project used for the building licence application)
  • Proyecto de Ejecucion (detailed working drawings, structural calculations specification and bill of quantities)
  • Health and safety
  • 10-year warranty
  • Quality control in conjunction with the 10-year warranty
  • Onsite waste removal
  • Supervision of the works (project management)
  • Legalization of installations
  • Topographical survey
  • Geotechnical survey

Eco Vida Homes understands that when you’re building a dream home, it can all be a bit overwhelming as all you really want is to imagine the finished project. If you’d like to talk about how we simplify the process of dealing with architects in Marbella, give us a call on +34 958990964.

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