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Old 15.02.2011, 22:17
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Ch architect fees

Hi, would appreciate any ones experience on this.

About to start on large renovation and will engage architect to help get detailed plans and manage project. Will be gutting an old farmhouse.

Is the standard fee 10% of cost for the whole project?

And in terms of suppliers contractors guess at least 3 quotes for each trade

And any experience with french or german suppliers worth looking to cut costs given strong Swiss chf

Thanks for any replies
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Old 15.02.2011, 23:45
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Re: Ch architect fees

I'm about to engage an architect, but he is also a personal friend. I'll find out and post.

I see that those called "Architects" here are what we would call "General Contractors". I think the standard practice is that you contract with the architect, not directly with suppliers. I'm just getting my experience with this, and am cautious about having to deal with suppliers directly.

First thing I learned - The project plan and season of year is crucial. There are many long off seasons for building and renovations. So beware of tight schedules.
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Old 16.02.2011, 10:29
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Re: Ch architect fees

I assume you have searched the forum and found some threads like this one-- Architect fees nightmare

As you are asking such basic questions, I assume you know how the swiss property market works, the rules and regs. for the commune, the norms for hiring a general contractor and subcontractors, etc. If not, I'm afraid you will be in for quite some surprises, not the least being significant financial consequences. If you search the forum for 'architect', not too many positive stories I'm afraid.

The basic question is do you need an architect or more a general contractor. And not sure why you would go for German suppliers etc if living in VD. French suppliers may be more appropriate but assume you know that most things are done quite differently in France than CH, for example the toilets, plumbing, electrial works are all are different; they would not likley work in CH.
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Old 16.02.2011, 15:00
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Re: Ch architect fees

Thanks both for your posts. Would appreciate your friends feedback Phos.

As for why an architect, I guess we wanted to contract the whole project out, as we have little time to manage it and juggle all the suppliers, especially as it is a gut and renovate over 250m^2. As for why foreign suppliers, wanted to drive costs down.

Looked throught the architect posts, some good stuff in there. Architect gave me a 10% figure but he suggested we do the actual agreement on a fixed price so no incentive to over inflate prices (unless original guideline price is overinflated)

He also said he would do all the pre work free, and then finalise contract just before we put in for planning permission. He has smoothed the way with the local commune and canton and even assisted us with buying the house originally over a year ago. Initial Plans all drawn up and no bill paid to date based on our original verbal agreement. Think he is trying to diversify into renovations as does new builds.
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Old 16.02.2011, 21:11
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Re: Ch architect fees

Hello HPok, just my two cents.
As far as fees are concerned, there is no single standard an architectís fee. Architectís fees are based on a percentage of the building cost (usually estimated before the project is even quoted on) and depend on both the scope and the type of the project. For single family homes it can fluctuate between 8 and 12%... so 10% is right in the middle of that range. The bigger the project, the lower the percentage; and the more negotiable it becomes.
The question of wether or not you need an architect has been raised, so I would like to comment on that. I would consider working with an architect because you want architecture, and care about the spacial quality of the renovated house... distribution, light, interesting spaces, etc. If thatís not important, then all you need is a GC. Only one of these two guys can do both jobs, and thatís the architect. The forum has a few architect related nightmares, but they by no means represent the reality of the profession in Switzerland. Itís logical to start an EF post when things have gone badly... not so much when youíve had a good experience. Architects in Switzerland are quite competent and do quality work when compared to other EU countries. They are expensive, but whatís not in this country?
Clients run into problems with architects when they are not well informed about what they are paying for. Your architect should clearly state (in writing) what exactly is included in his fee. Once you have that, you know what you are up against and you can compare other fees against it. Although, personally, I think that itís just as important to feel comfortable with the architect as a person... that he or she gives you a good feeling. You will be working closely with him/her, and things can get sticky... he needs to be on your side. Also, keep in mind that renovations are very hands on, so make sure that the person you work with plans on making regular appearances on site. Iím an architect myself, and I have completed many farmhouse renovations. Lastly, I donít think he is doing any pre-work for free... those things should definitely be included in his 10% fee. Heís just not charging you up front.
There you go, my two cents. Best of luck on your project. It should be fun, so make sure you have all your ducks in a row so it can be. Donít be discouraged by the the negative architect comments, itís just not the norm.
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Old 17.02.2011, 02:57
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Re: Ch architect fees

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I assume you have searched the forum and found some threads like this one-- Architect fees nightmare

In that story, you can't really tell what took place between the architect and the client. It sounds like a business venture gone bad. Perhaps promises were made based on exuberant speculations. In such a case, the client should have been incorporated and insured to deflect any liens on one's personal property.

I expect my contract to be based on finished results, not simply on amount of fees incurred. And I would not accept a final bill that has deviated from the signed estimate by more than 10%. Revisions would require new estimates and sign-offs. This is standard business practice, no? If not so here, I can insist on it.
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Old 01.03.2011, 18:57
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Re: Ch architect fees

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Thanks both for your posts. Would appreciate your friends feedback Phos.
There isn't a set fee, but 10%-15% is about par.

After reviewing plans with my architect, I decided not to plan the whole project in one deliverable with a tight deadline, and a specific budget. There are too many risks in orchestrating dozens of workers according to a tight schedule. Failure on a particular dependency can delay completion and blow out the budget, or we may not like the results. So I will approach this using aspects of a software development methodology called Extreme Programming/Architecting, based on delivering small units iteratively.

By taking on the project in smaller increments, we can make better decisions and modify our plan as we go along. It also minimize risks to costs, allowing us to redo if necessary, thereby giving us control of costs.

The software methodology looks like this, though only certain aspects of it may apply to developing a real house:







This is particularly useful in planning our heating/insulation solution, whether to insulate inside or outside, roof or ceilings, windows or walls, heat pump or geothermal, etc.

Our Architect has agreed to go for the ride through this process.
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Old 14.03.2011, 14:25
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Re: Ch architect fees

Phos, good to see you bringing an enlightened view from software development. Wish you all the best with it, and interested to see how that progresses, take it you are not time constrained, but more budget & quality constrained. I think with renovations that approach will certainly help especially with older houses (the older the house you never know what you will uncover and have to adapt to!)

Our Architect actually wants 20% of fees so am in process of negotiating and going to 2nd architect and even going to general contractor (after all we put together the main building design and now more about execution and preserving the soul of the building). Will let you know how it goes
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Old 14.03.2011, 15:00
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Re: Ch architect fees

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Our Architect actually wants 20% of fees so am in process of negotiating and going to 2nd architect and even going to general contractor (after all we put together the main building design and now more about execution and preserving the soul of the building). Will let you know how it goes
Architect fees are settled by SIA norm 102. But anyone is free to contract at whatever price, as long as you agree about what is included in the contract.
I'm not surprised of the 20%, as it is a renovation project, more complex and demanding a different overall effort than for a 'simple' new building. The norm also has a task list for the architect which helps you to understand what is expected from him. It might be interesting to ask him for a calculation according to the SIA norm and then discuss a global and fix fee. You can also ask for the number of hours he thinks he will need for the project, and then divide his fee by the #hours to see an hourly price.
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Old 14.03.2011, 15:09
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Re: Ch architect fees

17.5% is what my uncle charges for a new build.
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