Help! Architect fee mess..
We planned a substantial reno within the existing shell for a 1/4 of a 2000 sq ft house and an addition of about 800 feet. Just walls, roof, no built ins, no special lights, heating, regular windows etc.
The architect estimated about 80 hours of his time at 110 an hour to get drawings ready for a permit. We essentially needed a draughtsperson to put on paper the designs we sketched out, and we are doing all the buying of interior stuff, down to paint, fittings, electrical and so on. No electrical or plumbing plan- we and the contractor do this.
Our contractor suggested some architects, we went with one and now we've paid him $40,000 and counting. This means we can't build part of the house - not enough money.
The not paying attention is partly our fault- a double family emergency happened in the middle of this and we received bills and paid them without counting up how much we'd paid so far. But now we feel terrible.
Some would say, tough luck. But is there any argument I can make with the architect to get some money back? (half) He is a decent person, a bit disorganized, and I suspect he doesn't know himself what he's billed us in total - he probably just marks hours down and shoots off the bill.
I don't know how he could have counted up 363+ hours of work..from the 70 or so he estimated.
Construction has just started and there was nothing unusual about foundation pouring or anything else we've done so far.
Needless to say we've not called him since getting the last bill, but this is hanging over our heads. We've told the contractor not to call the architect without calling us first and he's OK with that and is himself shocked at the fees.
Could the architect have billed us twice by mistake? We are ok about going over his estimate by a couple of thousand, but not 4x more! How do I bring this up?
Anyone have any respectful negotiating tactics or have been in the same situation?
If the house isn't completed it doesn't look good for him either but it just can't be at the moment as we don't have enough money.