Find me the Cheapest Architect in town
Determining architectural fees can be confusing, not only to clients but to architects as well. Occasionally, I get phone calls from potential clients asking for my firm's hourly rate. As if the architect is a machine and producing drawings is determined by the number of hours and each hour's rate.
Yes, it's true that many architects, especially larger firms, have a structure of hourly rate per employee position. This was originated from the fact people who drafted by hand were paid by the hour. So, it made the client see where the money is going. Money turned into time compensation for employees who are mostly drafters. In this day and age, the project's timeline is much shorter. It requires less labor and more research on codes, environmental conditions, etc. The complexity of projects requires coordination with several parties like engineers, city officials, contractors, etc., not to mention the creative process of problem-solving.
In general, architectural fees depend on the project's complexity, size, how decisive the owners are, and the level of service you get. For example, if you decide to omit the Construction Administration phase, architectural fees will be lower, but you'll have a contractor without adequate support during construction; they might misinterpret the drawings, and they'll spend a long time trying to solve problems or figuring things out on there own. Per the standard scope, your Architect should also help you find contractors (3-5) and advise you on who qualifies best for your project.
Whether you're hiring another architect or myself, I highly recommend that you have the architect administer the construction. It will save you time and money.
Whether your project is your dream home, a commercial building, a church, this building will be inhabited by people for at least 50 years. So, if there is one design flaw, people will have to live with it for half a century. That is too expensive in my opinion.