How to Avoid Getting Ripped off by an Architect
Architects are wonderful, magical people. So few normal people like us know what they do, and yet they are so important for our infrastructure that a city would not be able to function without them. They’re respected like lawyers but not for the same reasons. They’re as concerned with ethics in their field in a way only more devoted than by a theological professor and yet they never get drunk on their power. It truly is amazing.
Yet, I can see why people want to know how to tell when they’re being taken to the cleaners by one. It’s all that power and mystique, we get it.
The truth of the matter is, unless you found your architect at the bottom of a pint glass in a bad part of town on a Monday evening, there is good reason to trust your architect. In this article we’ll look at why you can probably trust your architect, and then some tell-tale signs that indicate your architect may just be a rotten apple.
So, why won’t an architect rip people off?
Generally speaking, the architect is the good guy in any project scenario. He isn’t concerned with price; he’s focused on getting the job done. Most architects lose some money on any given project, and their professional integrity is so much more of value to them. If your name is sunk in the industry, you can go hungry. In fact, the whole system is as such that architects are relied on to be the voice of cold, hard, reason in any project.
Why should I make my architect my friend?
Generally speaking, if your renovation project is viable, your architect is going to be the one to make it so. If you are honest with them about budget early on (and not cagey and distrusting) they can paint to that number, figuratively, to help you avoid massive scope creep.
If you push your architect or throw more money at them, they will still act within accordance of the law and best practices. An architect is any renovation’s voice of reason.
And I am not an architect!
However, on the other hand, if you suspect your architect is one of the shady architects and reminds you a little of George Costanza’s Art Vandalay, then this guide is for you.
Here is how to avoid getting ripped off by an architect:
1. Pay a fixed fee for planning, design, and construction
Construction is a time where any mistakes that your architect may have made will come to light. Scope creep CAN happen, projects CAN grow but how much are you willing to take?
Here is a little reasoning. Labour costs money, and if your labour team have to backpedal and remove a wall or move this that and the other, that’s something you’ve got to pay for, and it’s something you are not legally entitled to billing the architect for.
You can accept risk, but not the whole project. That’s insane.
2. Hire Local
So, you think working with XYZ Architecture Person might be your best bet but they work all the way at ABC, which is on the other side of the country? Well, remember, if you do, you still need boots on the ground. That means two architects. Choose wisely, choose local. There are plenty of options when it comes to drafting services Brisbane that you sincerely needn’t call a professional draftsman 7 hours away from your location.
3. Sign-Offs and Quarantines
Quarantines are not just for the Ebola stricken! The moral of this point is to cut finger pointing at the root, where it begins: with your architect and your contractors. Make sure that all changes are agreed on by your team, don’t let anyone sidestep or push through a change without understanding it first, and be prepared to say we’re finishing XYZ before I consider any changes. That’s “project quarantine”.
Every equation has a good cop and a bad cop, but in the end, no one is out to deliberately rip you off, so there has got to be some logic where cooler heads can stand.