In General, my fee structure is flexible. It is determined primarily by how much time I will spend, and the type of work I am doing during that time (drafting, design, consultation). The following are several options.
1. Hourly Basis
For projects with a small scope of work, such as remodeling, the design of a casita, etc., working for you on an hourly basis is usually the most fair. Because some smaller projects such as remodeling can get complicated by unforeseen circumstances such as rotted framing, etc., time spent working on them can vary considerably, and is therefore difficult to define accurately in the beginning as is required for a fixed fee.
2. Hourly Basis for Design; Fixed Fee for Contract Documents
For unusually complex or unusual projects where estimating a fixed fee for design is difficult, doing the design on an hourly basis may make the most sense. Once the Preliminary Design has been completed, the complexity and scope of the project is usually well enough defined to give a fixed fee for preparing the Contract Documents.
3. Fixed Fee: minimum services
For projects of typical complexity and scope of work where it is easy to anticipate the amount of time spent based on past experience, a fixed fee usually makes the most sense. The Design of a new home and preparation of a "minimum" or "builder set" of Contract Documents would be an example. My fee for this type of work is usually based on a cost per square foot of livable area. My current base price for this type of work is $6 -$8 per sf. This price includes Preliminary Design, coordination with two consultants (structural and civil engineers), and a "minimum" set of Contract Documents. These are defined in my Agreement with you the Owner. This price goes up depending upon several variables such as:
1. Difficulty of the Site
2. Difficulty of the local Architectural Review Committee and their Guidelines
3. Coordination with additional Consultants should they be necessary
4. A request for more Architectural services than provided in a "minimum " set
4. Fixed Fee: full services
For projects where a "full architectural services" is requested or necessary, the basis for determining a fixed fee is a percentage of the estimated construction cost. "Full architectural services" include not only Preliminary Design, but a much more complete set of Contract Documents where considerably more detailing is shown, and Construction Administration (on site inspection during construction, review of construction paperwork from the Contractor, etc.). Additional Architectural services such as review and coordination of Owner/Contractor Contract prior to construction, coordination and direction of other design consultants such as interior designer, lighting designer, etc. may also be requested. This approach is necessary for projects which are unusual and unique in design, and therefore cannot rely on "standard" approaches of the construction industry.
My current basis for establishing this Fixed Fee is 10 to 14% of the estimated construction budget. This varies up or down depending upon variables such as:
1. Size of Project: the percentage may go down with increased area. The above percentage is for a home of about 5,000 sf.
2. Complexity of Owners' Program
3. Nonstandard construction types, such as solar, high tech, green building, unusual structural systems, etc., which may require more detailing.
4. The number of Consultants requiring my coordination
5. Difficulty of Site
6. Time Schedule
I am willing to discuss any other approach you might have. If you have a fixed amount allocated for Architectural Services, I can tell you what services I can perform, or would recommend, for that amount.