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Cost Of An Architect Vs A Technician

Cost Of An Architect Vs A Technician

Are you considering undertaking a home remodelling project or an home extension but not how to go about getting drawings prepared? Are you deliberating on whether to use an Architect or a technician?

This article considers some of the things you may need to think about and the cost implications before you get started.

Firstly, the cost of an architect vs a technician can vary depending on a number of factors, such as location, project size and scope, and the architect or technician’s level of experience and expertise.

In general, architects tend to charge more for their services than technicians because they have more education and training and are responsible for designing and managing the construction of a project.

However, the cost of an architect will also depend on the complexity of the project, the materials and labour required, and the location. A technician, on the other hand, will generally have a more focused role, such as providing technical support or performing specific tasks related to the construction process and lower service costs. As a result, they will be less expensive.

An architect can help design and plan a building or renovation project, ensuring that it meets both functional and aesthetic requirements. They can also help navigate and manage statutory requirements and building regulations and manage the entire process from conception through to completion, including the construction process.

They can also help in cost estimation and ensure that the project is completed on time and within budget. Additionally, having gone through an extensive number of years of training, an architect can bring a level of design expertise and creativity to a project that a non-architect may not possess.

A technician typically has a more limited scope of work compared to that of an architect. While a technician may be skilled in the technical aspects of the building design and construction (drafting and engineering), they typically do not have the same level of educational training and experience in the broader aspects of architectural design, such as difficult and contentious planning applications, project management, and construction contracts and law.

Additionally, architects are licensed professionals and are required to meet and maintain certain standards and regulations, which may also contribute to their higher fees. In contrast, technicians typically have less formal education and therefore may not be licensed, allowing them to charge less fees for their services.

It’s also worth noting that while technicians are not licensed professionals (although, can become certified in their chosen field of expertise by sitting and passing an exam), there is caution that should a technician’s level of knowledge and experience be found to have provided poor quality work or acted unethically, there is no governing body in which they are to be personally reprimanded.

Unlike the technician, the architect must adhere to both the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) and ARB (Architects Registration Board) Professional Code of Conduct, and if reported and found guilty of negligence or in breach of their professional duties set by the ARB, (depending on its severity) can be reprimanded in the following ways.

  1. Receive a large fine
  2. Temporary removal from the register
  3. Receive both a hefty fine and suspension from the register
  4. Receive a large fine and be indefinitely removed from the architects register – by which only after a set time can they return to university to re-sit their final professional exemption exams in the hope of becoming re-registered.

In general, architects charge an hourly rate or a percentage of the total construction cost (a more common way of billing). The hourly rate can range from £50 to £150 or more per hour, plus VAT, but depending on a number of factors, such as the size and complexity of the project, the location, services to be provided, and the level of experience of the architect.

In contrast to this, technicians charge an hourly rate ranging from £20 to £50 or more per hour. Again, depending on the level of experience and the location, this can vary.

An hourly rate might be more suited to the first-time renovation customers, smaller projects and or those that wish to limit the range of service in order to help manage costs.

For example, you might only require your architect to provide services for initial sketches and design development, statutory approvals and prepare package for building regulation submissions – making it easier for you to tailor the level of service you want for your project (so, the contractor can give to rough estimate of the contractual cost based on £/m2).

If you wanted a more conclusive price from the contractor, you are going to need more detailed information on materials, finishes, lighting and electrical, sanitaryware, window and door schedules, specification etc), which an experienced architect can provide in the form of a Tender stage service.

The alternative chargeable method as a percentage of the total construction cost can vary from 5% to 15% of the total cost of the project, with the average being around 8-12%. For example, if the construction cost of a project is £500,0000, the architectural fees would be around £40,000 to £60,000.

A percentage of the total construction cost might be more aligned with a commercial project client or experienced customers who have a rough idea on construction costs and want an all-in service with a trusted and experienced architect.

Based on the above variables, it is always recommended to firstly get a detailed cost estimate from the architect before starting the project, outlining the scope of services, any additional costs that may arise during the project.

Working With An Architect:

Pros

  1. Architects have extensive education and training in the design and construction of buildings. They can help you create a functional and visually appealing design that meets your needs and budget.
  2. Architects are licensed professionals who are required to adhere to certain standards and regulations. They can help ensure that your project complies with local laws, planning, building and safety regulations.
  3. Architects can provide a wide range of services, from initial concept design to construction administration. They can help manage the entire process of designing and building a project.
  4. Architects have a good understanding of construction costs and materials, which can help you stay within budget.

Cons

  1. Architects can be expensive. Hiring an architect will add to the overall cost of your project, and you’ll need to budget for their fees.

Working With A Technician:

Pros

  1. Draftsmen and technicians typically have a lower hourly rate than architects, which can help keep the overall cost of a project down
  2. They have a strong technical background and are skilled at creating detailed drawings and plans that are accurate and easy to understand
  3. They are able to work on smaller projects and renovations, that may not require the services of an architect

Cons

  • Lack of creativity or innovation: Draftsman technicians are typically trained to follow established plans and designs, rather than coming up with new ideas or solutions
  • Limited understanding of statutory requirements and regulations: While technicians may be proficient in using drafting software, they may not have the same level of knowledge about planning and regulations as architects

To conclude, it’s worth noting that working with an architect can be a great investment, especially if you’re planning a complex project or want a design that reflects your personal style and tastes.

An architect can help you navigate the building process, ensure that your project is safe and compliant with regulations, and help you create a space that you’ll be happy with for years to come.

Whereas technicians may not have the same level of education and experience as architects. However, it’s worth mentioning that technicians can provide valuable support and services during the design and construction process and are generally less expensive than an architect.

Although, this comes with an air of caution as a technician could help create detailed drawings and plans, but what if found to be inaccurate and they were unethical in their approach towards making good on their service, how would you be protected? Who could you raise a complaint in order to safeguard your investment?