This blog post is one of a series of three. The other two are “Questions to ask your Architect about their Experience” and “Questions to ask your Architect about Your Particular Project”.
Architects can charge whatever they like. This hasn’t always been the case and in the past their fees have been stipulated by the local architects college. This is no longer the case but the architects colleges do make recommendations about how much architects should charge based on the type, size and quality of the development and these scale are public knowledge.
Most architects base their fee quotations on these scales. In addition there are “celebrity” architects that charge a fortune. And, I am afraid, there are substandard architects who charge the minimum, and do the minimum, which is probably not what you want especially given the value of the asset you are creating.
Eco Vida Homes architect’s fees are based on the recommendations of the College of Architects. We believe we provide the same quality of design as the “celebrity” architects, and almost certainly a better focus on our clients needs and we don’t charge what the celebrities do because well, we are not celebrities…………………yet! Ask to see examples of our work and judge for yourself.
What also varies between architects is show much work they will do in areas that are not strictly speaking architecture but which have to be done by them. Here I am thinking in particular of three areas:
1. Planning Consultancy
2. Services (mains water sewerage and electricity)
Naturally conversations will have to be had with the town hall about what your propose and the regulations that relate to the site and that will almost certainly always be included. However should you wish to push the boundaries a little in terms of what is permissible this can require a lot of extra work on the part of your architect who may have to draw special plans, attend meetings and argue your case. Ask your architect if this extra work is included or if they charge for it.
If mains services are already provided to the site then this will be straightforward. However in a surprising number of cases it isn’t straightforward. Sometimes there are access problems around drainage, unclear areas of ownership and boundary lines with the local authorities, community owners in dispute over maintenance obligations and costs, urbanisations with no sewerage but an obligation to contribute when a system is established, and so on. Ask your architect if this kind of work is included in what they charge or whether they will charge you extra.
Choosing the finishes (render inside and out, doors, windows, flooring inside and out) really should be done by you or your interior designer but your architect will need to know what these are to include them in the specification and will inevitably be able to contribute a useful opinion based on their experience and understanding of your lifestyle.
Choosing the finishes can be a huge task especially if you want a stunning home on a limited budget. You will be asking yourself “how much will it all cost?” There are hundreds of decisions to be made each with many options. A tap can cost 50€ or 500€. Making these decisions, keeping the total cost within budget, and the overall effect in line with your vision is a vital task. You need to ask your architect whether this work is included in their fee.
This is what we do at Eco Vida Homes. We make recommendations to you that we believe will fit your budget and lifestyle. We have a finishes library that we can show you and we may be able to show you examples in situ so you can touch and feel them and see the colours in different lights.
After that we reserve the right to charge an extra amount for this work should you not like the finishes we show you. We can also recommend and work with an interior designer.
Remember we can work with any supplier that you choose and, importantly, any commissions that we are offered by the suppliers we recommend we pass on to you. This is an important fact about us. We do not take money off anyone to recommend them to you!
Author: John Wolfendale
Bio: John is a founder of Eco Vida Homes and is passionate about bringing modern design and construction practices to Spain. He believes a home which is warm in winter and cool in summer is largely a matter of design and selective use of materials. He is British and a Chartered Surveyor with over 23 years experience living and working in Spain.