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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 Ashburn architects
James c.
The best experience I’ve had in my 32 years of working with architects.
GTZ ConsultantsGTZ Consultants
Perry H.
Amazing and very talented team! The architects at RT Studio were able to bring my dream home to life; converting a dated late 1980s structure to a very modern and sexy design for 2017 and beyond.
RT Studio, LCCRT Studio, LCC
Chris D.
Igor was quick to respond and made himself available as soon as possible. He reviewed a neighbor's architectural plans; answered my questions; postulated questions I should ask the neighbor's architect; and, followed-through in case I needed something more. Additionally, professional and friendly personality.
Igor OshurkovIgor Oshurkov
Geoffrey G.
Mr. Calvin, forgot to mention that he charges a consultant fee $I150.00 for him to come out for the appointment, that was made here on thumbtack, there no service render for there to be a consultant fee to be apply. I'm not sure if this how architect do business, I can see if he was a lawyer, He should put this in his website a bout the consultant fee from the start, not wait to the day of the appointment to inform a potential client about fee and payment. Mr. Calvin fall to do this, as a result he lost me as customer.
DesignHAND ArchitectsDesignHAND Architects
John D.
The sole reason he gets one star is because we received the drawing we needed despite the daily promise to deliver for 4 days and the bogus request for the bonus despite not delivering on time if you did. He sent us an email as a contract and in hindsight since we've never hired an architect he omitted a lot that would haunt us: bonus if on time and lack of an ability to get us a hard copy of the drawing. We spent over 3 hours and $72 trying to find a printer who could deliver an 18" x 24" drawing. Simply a dishonest, no moral compass person.
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Why you should hire an architect

Whether you’re planning to renovate your kitchen or build your dream home, hire a good architect to make sure the finished structure is sound and stable. Architects (and architectural engineers) have the education and experience to design a home, building or room just the way you like it while also sticking to local building codes. Here are the best local architects near you. Review their profiles, send them messages, ask for cost estimates and set up an appointment or consultation so you can start your project ASAP.

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