1. Can I employ an architect for a partial service?

    Yes, there is great value in using an architect to undertake a portion of the service, as long as the scope is clearly defined.

  2. How much does an architect cost to employ?

    Fees could be calculated as a percentage of the build cost, or as a lump sum. Generally, the higher the project cost, the lower the percentage for fees. For smaller projects, a lump sum fee or even an hourly fee could be agreed, depending on the project type and complexity

  3. Is there a distinction between simple and more complex project types?

    Yes, there are three different project / building classifications namely Simple-, Standard- and Complex projects. A simple Warehouse will attract a lower percentage fee compared to a Research Laboratory.

  4. I don’t have a block of land yet. Can the architect start work?

    No, apart from getting to understand the client’s requirements and to formulate and confirm a brief and accommodation requirements. The reason is that the building’s design is affected by many factors such as access, orientation, views, neighbours, slope, easements, setbacks and other  statutory constraints, which will make work on an imaginary site a futile exercise.

  5. Are architects required to have Professional Indemnity Insurance and Public Liability Insurance?

    Yes, most will carry these insurances, but ask for a copy of a current certificate of insurance prior to finalising the appointment.

  6. Will architects have an independent Quality Assurance system?

    Yes, most will. A current certificate could be requested as proof.

  7. Is the architect responsible for appointing and paying other consultants such as engineers?

    Other consultants could be directly appointed and paid for by the client, or alternatively the architect could invoice the client for their services and pay them accordingly. Whatever the agreement, other consultants’ fees are additional to that of the architect

  8. Does the involvement of an architect automatically include Green Star Certification?

    No, however architects are obliged to comply with Federal, State and Local laws, as well as the Building Code of Australia. The building has to be designed to comply with the Green Star rating as required. Green Star certification is an independent discipline undertaken by an accredited Green Star Professional.

  9. Is there a formal contract for appointing an architect?

    Yes, the RAIA has a standard Client / Architect agreement. It outlines the roles and responsibilities of both client and architect in great detail.  This includes core services & additional services, project cost, fees, other consultants, intellectual property, insurances etc.

  10. Any hidden costs?

    Not if the schedules of the Client / Architect Agreement are agreed upon. It provides a very comprehensive list of items that could be agreed upon for inclusion or exclusion. If a less formal instrument of agreement is used, be sure to clarify exclusions beforehand. For example, if interstate or overseas travel and research is required, both parties need to be sure who pays for any travel costs etc.