Frequently Asked Questions
The information below is of general nature as each project is different. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any queries. We can discuss your journey while taking into account your specific requirements.
How can an architect help me stay within my budget while still achieving my design vision for my home?
Answer: Architects are trained to balance the design vision with the budget constraints. They can provide cost estimates, suggest cost-effective design alternatives, and help you select materials and finishes that fit your budget while still achieving your design goals. They can advise on other cost control options should it be required.
How much do architects typically charge for their services, and what services are included in the fee?
Answer: Architects' fees for residential project in Ireland can generally fall between 5-15% of the total construction cost. This fee structure covers a range of standard RIAI services from inception to completion of project such as design development, tender documentation, construction documents, project management, and site visits. However, architects can tailor their services to meet your specific needs and budget. For example, if the construction cost for a project is €500,000, and the architect's fee percentage is 10%, the architect's fee would amount to €50,000 excluding VAT.
How involved will I be in the design process, and how much input can I provide?
Answer: Architects collaborate closely with clients to ensure that the design reflects their vision and preferences. They will present design options and seek your input and feedback throughout the process. The number of design options, level of involvement and input depends on your preferences and availability.
What should I expect during the construction phase, and how will the architect be involved?
Answer: During the construction phase, architects will provide construction administration services, such as reviewing drawings, conducting site visits, and coordinating with contractors to ensure that the design vision is executed according to plan. They will be available to address any questions or concerns that arise during the construction phase.
How long does it typically take to complete a project with the help of an architect, and what factors can affect the timeline?
Answer: The timeline for completing a project with the help of an architect varies depending on the size, complexity, and scope of the project. Factors such as planning permission, site conditions, and material availability can also affect the timeline. Architects can provide an estimated timeline and milestones for the project to ensure that it is completed on schedule and meets your design vision.
How can I estimate the cost of construction for my house, including design documentation and professional services?
To estimate the cost of construction, you could consider resources such as the RIAI construction costs guide, but make sure the guidelines are up to date and that the current market trends and inflation are taken into account. An initial cost estimate may not account for unexpected expenses or, specialist design or changes in design. To estimate the cost of Architects services, a general rule of thumb is to allocate 5-15% of the overall construction cost. However, these are only general estimates and the actual cost of professional services may vary depending on the specific requirements of your project. It is recommended to obtain detailed fee proposals from each professional involved in your project and to negotiate fees and services before engaging them for your project.
The cost of other professional services which might be required for your project, such as structural engineer, building services engineer, and quantity surveyor services etc, can vary depending on the scope of the project, the experience and qualifications of the professional, and the level of involvement required.
It is very important to note that the smaller the construction work is, the more inaccurate the average cost guidance per square meter can be, and the following will explains why :
In a hypothetical scenario, if I was advised that the construction of a 5m2 (5x1m) extension can cost around 4K/m2, so approximately 4K/m2 x 5m2 = 20K excluding VAT, with good quality materials and finishes, would it be correct advice? Not necessarily. Let's assume that my hypothetical project is about bringing extra daylight to a deep room. Say we design a window system, it would be 4m wide and 2.5m high, with a safety glazed area of 10m2. The window supplier of this preferred window system would quote 2.4K/m2, so it would be 24K for the external windows ... We can clearly see that the above-mentioned 20K estimate for constructing the extension would not be correct by any means if I wanted to use my preferred window system.
And if this scenario is applied to every single new product or material, together with some unforeseen expense related to difficult ground conditions, new and repair work to existing structures, services that might need to be moved, building regulations, etc., the final result could be far away from my expectations and I would probably go over the budget considerably. Of course, I deliberately chose one of the most expensive windows I worked with to highlight the issue of the average cost estimate, and I hope it helps to understand it better.
Therefore, taking the above into account, should you wish to do some work on your house and determine approximate costs, I would recommend considering services of competent Quantity Surveyor, taking initially higher cost guidance estimates, developing a detailed brief, and design, and preparing for tender documentation with PC Sums for packages reflecting your requirement for quality of finishes e.g. type/cost of windows, built-in furniture, preferred flooring finishes, etc. and then reviewing and altering the cost guidance estimate continuously to suit your project and needs. You would have a better understanding of the cost of construction from the results of the tender process.
How much do architects typically charge for their interior design services, and what services are included in the fee?
Answer: Architects' fees for residential project in Ireland can vary. As mentioned above, architects can tailor their services to meet the specific needs and budget of the client. The fee percentage may vary depending on the complexity of the project and the level of customisation required for the interior design. For example, if the total construction cost for a project is €500,000 and the architect's fee percentage for interior design services is 5%, the architect's fee would amount to €25,000, excluding VAT. It's important for clients to discuss the fee structure and services with the architect in detail to get a precise estimate and understand what is included in the fee.