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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
Nicole W.
Sam has been a superb architect who has helped me greatly in meeting my vision to remodel my home.
Wise Design ServicesWise Design Services
Elise M.
I do not recommend this guy for new construction! I hired him for 2 residential new construction projects. He did not finish either project. He was really bad at communicating and didn’t know what was needed for the project. I hired him in July and didn’t get anything close to finished until December. He would say something would take a week or 2 to complete and wouldn’t send anything to me for months. He claimed he had an architect and that was included in the price but the renderings looked like they were created on Microsoft paint. Just a bad experience. He may be good for small projects but not big ones. I ended up hiring a different engineer and architect to help complete the project. I spent over $14,000 for unfinished work
SeaMax EngineeringSeaMax Engineering
Wendy B.
I was super frustrated that my project required an architect. I’ve had many negative experiences with bigger companies. I gave thumbtack a shot and found Sam to be incredibly thoughtful, talented, honest and very reasonably priced. He’s an investor/builder as am I and understands the importance of accuracy and home flow. I’m happy to say I’ve found a “team member” in the business that I will definitely work with again.
Wise Design ServicesWise Design Services
Areuian S.
I absolutely loved everything about this company! I contacted them and explained how I was pushing for time after wasting 3 entire weeks with my old architect who did nothing for me what's so ever. They came to my building with all this advance gadgets and told me exactly how things should be laid out and the best way to utilize every inch in my building. Within 3 days after we meet, they had already had a perfect proposal that I feel in love with and sealed the deal. I tell you what, I have plenty more jobs I will be having in the near future and I dont want anyone else on the job but " J HANNA GROUP"
J Hannah Design GroupJ Hannah Design Group
Cory W.
BEWARE!!! THIS GUY IS IRRESPONSIBLE, UNRELIABLE, AND COMPLETELY UNPROFESSIONAL. HE IS NOT EVEN AN ARCHITECT. We have had many architects, engineers, and draftsmen do work for us and Corey Hutchinson is by far the worst. He completed 2 projects for us and left 2 projects incomplete. All the projects he did for us were delivered weeks late despite having several weeks to complete them. The only thing he is good at is lying and coming up with excuses as to why he is not able to do his job. He makes commitments and then cancels last second. You cannot reach him by phone if he is doing a job for you, he will just ignore your calls and come up with an excuse later. The last job he was SUPPOSED to do for us, we offered him more THAN The job was worth and more than what he was asking to do the job. The work was literally only hours worth of work, less than a day. He took 5 weeks before we told him we could not wait anymore and he needed to deliver the work. He made an appointment to deliver the plans and meet us at the city only to cancel an hour before with the excuse that it was " easier " to submit them online. Which was only an excuse because again he did not have the work done. He said he would submit them by the end of the day, and despite many calls and texts to him from 4-5pm he did not answer or submit anything. The next day of course he texted another excuse claiming he fell asleep. (At 5pm!) He then said that he had submitted the plans online. Come to find out 5 days later when we contacted the city that he did not in fact submit them. He just bald faced lied about it like he does with most things. When we tried to contact him subsequently of course no answers to calls texts or emails. He cost us a lot of money on that project and here we are 6 weeks later having to start all over from scratch because he did not deliver anything. He just lied and wasted our time!!! This guy should not be in business whatsoever!!! IF YOU SPEND MONEY WITH THIS GUY YOU ARE PUTTING YOURSELF OR YOUR BUSINESS AT RISK!!! We are now having to sue him for all the money he cost us. Horrble work ethic and horrible experience working with this guy. If he will do this to a company that gave him multiple jobs for thousands of dollars then he will do it to you too! DO NOT MAKE THE MISTAKE OF EVEN CONSIDERING GIVING THIS GUYS YOUR BUSINESS.
HDesignHDesign
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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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