The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) website provides many resources for understanding the benefits, costs, and processes related to hiring an architect.

Common questions and answers are highlighted below:

1. What does an architect do and how they can help your building project?

Architects are trained to help you realize your objectives and guide you through the design and construction process. In particular, architects will help you through the complex regulatory building process including zoning bylaws, building codes, and contractors’ bids.

Education, training, and professional experience enable the architect to transform your ideas into design solutions that meet function needs.

The architect – who serves as advisor, coordinator, and technical manager, as well as creative artist – can design and administer a contract resulting in a project that is completed on schedule, within budget, and to a high standard of quality.

2. What are the cost benefits of using an architect?

The fee charged by an architect is a small portion of the total cost of the construction of a building. With an architect, you ensure the exploration of various options for the design of your project. Through good spatial design and use of cost effective material, an architect can enhance the value of your site and may produce significant savings in areas such as in energy usage (heating/cooling & lighting), re-use of materials, etc.

3. What is an architect’s fee structure?

Architect’s fees cover three phases of project planning – Design, Construction Documents and Construction Administration. Depending on the type and location of the project, fees may rnage between 5% and 12% of the project’s construction hard costs.

4. What is a reasonable budget for a custom home?

It is important not to over- or under-invest in your home. A rough total project cost for a custom design house starts from $175 per sqft and can go up to $500 per sqft depending on the quality and level of finish required. The typical custom home can expect to budget $200 per sqft for all project-related items including architect’s fees and construction.