3. The Costs of Building

What is asked of the architect and what is delivered?

Price comparisons between architectural firms are difficult to carry out because each one offers a different set of services.  Some projects only require an architect to deliver legal building permits, but most require a more substantial role from the architect if they are to achieve the desired outcome in terms of cost, quality, and comfort.  It is worth remembering that although the design costs form only a small part of total building costs, the quality of a plan has a decisive influence on the overall project costs.  We guide our clients in what to budget for each work order and construction project.  Our prices follow the recommendations of the Finnish Association of Architects (SAFA) and The Finnish Association of Consulting Firms (SKOL).

To see a detailed breakdown of SKOL’s pricing guide for different assignments, refer to the web site at THS, 2009.

How does design affect the total cost of building?

In Finnish, we use the saying “Well planned is half done”.  This is especially true of building, since the majority of factors influencing overall cost are determined in the planning phase.  Every penny spent on good planning will save a bundle in the actual building phase.  The architect must optimize space and minimize waste in a floor plan to achieve the best outcome in cost and quality. Usually, the finished building price varies between 1000 to 3000 euros per square meter, depending on the size and shape of the building and its plot, its foundational requirements, the quality of materials used, and the amount of outside contracting required. Because each square meter, efficiently used or not, costs the same, a good architect can cover the planning costs by drafting efficient and rational solutions for the client.  Ultimately, however, since the primary purpose of an architect is not to manage costs, we recommend working with a construction consultant.  This eases pressure and helps ensure the best possible outcome.

What goes into the price of planning and design?

Planning assignments vary greatly in scope and difficulty.  Although there are certain rules of thumb to determining planning costs, these cannot be generalized to every situation and assignment.  There are innumerable variables to consider in a building project, such as: client wishes, the terrain of the building site, foundational requirements, and zoning rules.  The size and detail of what needs to be designed in the building or space and the amount of coordination required vary from one extreme to another.  In our experience, architectural planning costs for new buildings have ranged from 2 to 5% of the total building costs, depending on whether the orders have included the design of fixtures, staircases, fireplaces, and other details.  We also handle construction consultation, bidding on component providers, and overseeing the construction.  These assignments total a few percent of the total costs of building.  The planning of renovation and restoration work accounts for 3-6% of the total costs, and providing constructions services approximately 5% of the total.

Small renovations and consulting an architect

We are happy to provide consultation services for everything related to building and its planning.  We can assess the condition of a plot, house, or apartment you are planning to buy, draft options for building or renovation, or even help in something minor like choosing the color, tile, and lighting options for a bathroom.  Note, however, that to get a building permit, a certain number of drawings are always required, as well as turning in official documents and the commitment of an architect in charge.  Even in small alteration jobs (such as a bathroom expansion) that require a building permit, the building authorities often require structural and plumbing plans in addition to architectural plans, as well as the hiring of a construction manager.  Whenever permits are required for an alteration, it always significantly increases planning and building costs, even when the renovation was originally considered minor.  More information is available at the Finnish Association of Architects website www.safa.fi.

Why Choose Us?