Architect fees for historical home renovation/extension

quakesJune 30, 2012

We recently purchased a historical house in northern NJ that is still stuck in the 1950s. No air conditioning, no cable wiring, gravel driveway, no garage, very dated bathrooms/kitchen and a bizarre pool.

We'd like to build a 3-car garage with a bathroom/laundry area that will connect to the house. That's the extent of any major structural new construction. The rest of the work scope is mainly internal to the existing house - wiring, taking down a wall between a room and closet, re-doing 3 bathrooms and redesigning the configuration of the master bath and master bedroom. There will also be repairing of windows, stairs, wainscoting, etc. then there's painting inside ans outside, carpeting, etc.

Question is what of the above should fall within the scope of an architect? The first architect included nearly all of the above and her first proposal is based on 7.5% of total costs. How should we judge if this is reasonable or now? My worry is that costs can keep growing on the renovation. If I were to go back to her to negotiate a fixed fee cap, would a cap at around $30k for a total project cost of $400k-500k be fair or too high/low?

Any thought would be very much appreciated!

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A major portion of an architect's fee is overhead which depends on the size of the firm, the office space it uses and the region of the country.

The other portion of the fee is profit and that can very greatly with the architect's skill, experience, reputation and cost of living for the area.

Where I live a 7.5% fee from a 30 person architectural firm would be low because the firm would struggle to make a profit; from a sole practitioner it would be high unless he/she had the knowledge and experience to obtain difficult regulatory approval.

As with anything other purchase the only way to know for sure is to get prices from other local architects. I learned long ago to not offer opinions regarding costs for a project I have not seen. This is a serious investment so due diligence is required.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 8:31AM
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You need a total renovation for that and for sure it will cost you tens of thousands of dollars. Be creative instead, you can still make that historical place as modern history. For complete renovation guide and materials, I suggest that you use fiberglass stucco mesh for the walls, ceiling and even flooring to become more durable and it will last twice or more the historical years that house has been built. It is also resistant on some case natural events, you can get this from a wholesale dealer of fiberglass mesh, Texas branches. As far as I know some construction supply store offers same products.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sunline EIFS and Stucco Products

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 10:25AM
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Er, this a marketing pitch, or what? Doesn't sound like a very experienced response to the situation.

Good luck with your build.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 1:03PM
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