Architectural Fee based on Percentage of Construction Fee

To get quick sense how much hiring an architectural & engineering firm (A&E) costs, it is best to calculated A&E fee based on percentage of construction cost.

Construction cost for residential projects vary from 250$/sqft (dollar per square feet) to 350$/sqft for simple flat site or renovation project to 350$/sqft to 400$/sqft for hillside depending on complexity of foundation and number of piles or caisson. (Sometimes the construction cost is much more expensive for very steep hill with expansive soil) The reason for the range in construction cost (250$/sqft to 350$/sqft) is level of the finishes and construction means and methods. Clients sometimes want to spend more or less on their construction, but I always recommend to see where the building is located and based on the market value of the surrounding buildings spend more or less on materials of the exterior or the interior of the building. By considering the market value of the surrounding area, you have the option to sell your building quickly with the right price, otherwise you are risking selling your building in much more longer period of time, or selling your building in a lower price.

The Architectural & Engineering Fee is about 10% of construction cost when the total cost of construction is less than a million dollar. This percentage reduces as the construction cost increases or this percentage is increased when the building complexity is increased, there are unknown conditions (for example renovation projects), or other services are added to the architecture fees (such as furniture design or site selection). This percentage increase goes as far as 12% to 15%, or unusually as high as 20%. When the construction cost increase, this architecture fee percentage decrease to around 8% or even more for high budget projects.

For Example, a vacant land with 6000sqft area with FAR (floor area ratio) of 0.5, you could only build 3000sqft. (6000×0.5=3000) The construction cost in low to average neighborhood is about 250$/sqft. The total cost of construction is 750,000$. (250×3000=750,000) That means total A&E fee is 75,000. (750,000×10%=75,000) Usually 40% of total A&E fees goes to engineers and consultants fee including structural, civil, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, lighting, landscape, acoustical, and so for. That means if you want to hire your own consultants such as Structural engineer or MEP, the fee might be reduce to 67,000$ or as much as 45,000 for this example. (10% to 40% decrease in the total fee)

Feel free to contact me if you want to get a quote on your architectural, engineering, and construction costs. Or you have any other questions.