Architectural Services

Find an architect near Oakland, CA

Find an architect near Oakland, CA

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Top 10 Architects near Oakland, CA

Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

How do architects work?

Architects may work for an architecture or engineering firm, they may work for a government organization, they can work for a construction company, or they may be self-employed (freelance). The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics explains that architects spend a large amount of their working time in the home or company office: meeting with clients; creating reports and architectural drawings; and working with other architects and engineers. When not in an office, an architect is often at the construction site either as part of the development of plans or to ensure building progress is following the blueprint.

When a client interacts with an architect, it is typically to have them design drawings for the construction of a house or a building. If you are a client who has hired a large architecture firm, there may be a team of people working on your design. But if you are working with a freelance architect or a smaller firm, one person (or a small group) will take your concept and translate it into an architectural blueprint that a builder can use to construct a house. The plans will lay out everything from the depth of the foundation to the materials to use to the type of metal to be used in the reinforcement. Once the plans have been created and handed off to the builder, the architect may remain on the project — depending on budget — and oversee progress.

How do architects charge for their services?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the median salary of an architect in 2016 was $76,930. This range included architects with every type of company as well as self-employed architects. Depending on the architect and whether they’re with a firm or independent, they may charge per hour or by the square foot, or they may charge a percentage of the total budget for a construction project. An hourly rate is typically used for smaller projects such as providing consultation, helping clients hone their concept before the design process begins, or drafting documents and plans. If an architect is working on an hourly basis on a larger project, there will usually be an agreed-upon cap on the number of hours they will work. For larger projects, such as new construction or total overhaul remodels, architects may charge a percentage of the total construction costs. The architect will usually set the percentage you will pay after the total cost of construction has been accounted for. Percentages can range within a firm depending on the extent of the services they’re providing. For example, a lower percentage of the total construction costs may include drafting and minimal consultation and guidance along the way, while a higher percentage could include on-site project management services with every detail attended to. Architects may also charge by the square footage of the project. The rate per square foot can vary depending on the individual’s training, the services they are providing, the complexity of the project, and other factors — such as obtaining permits. The national average cost to hire an architect is between $1,690 and $2,500.

What do house plans consist of?

In a house plan, you can expect to see an overview of the construction site, floor plans, roof plans, foundation plans, electrical plans, exterior elevation and more. Always ask your architect what they plan to include in your house plan.

Reviews for Oakland architects
Hina P.
We choose Le after a series of meetings with different architects. Le is extremely attentive, detail oriented, and has a great turn around for feedback. We are so happy to start our project's process with Le and highly recommend!
Atelier DimensionsAtelier Dimensions
Blue W.
I worked on a project with Mahya in Oct of 2017 that took, from submission to planning/zoning to building approvals, almost 6 months to complete. The scale of the project was bigger than any project I had worked on, nevertheless, a bit intimidating at the time. I interviewed 5 different designers/architects and felt most comfortable with Mahya. From her vision, expertise to her demeanor, I was confident that she would be more than capable to carry-out the redesign and more importantly, easy to collaborate with. We briefly talked about vision and she knew exactly what was needed and delivered plans timely. Mahya has an innate talent for thoughtful and cost effective design without compromising budget and costs. After many twists and turns, which Mahya helped navigate through, we received our building approvals by mid March of 2018. Shortly we started the renovation and while in progress Mahya remain in close contact with me and did not hesitate to respond to any questions that came up. We completed our project in February of 2019. I couldn’t be happier with the new reimagined design of the home. Working with Mayha was a pleasure all round and I look forward to working with Mayha again on another project in the near future.
Mahya Salehi StudioMahya Salehi Studio
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