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How much money does an architect make on one building design?

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There are a number of ways an architecture firm can charge for services. The 2 most common are to bill to an hourly estimate as a "cost not to exceed" or to submit a proposal for a percentage of construction costs.
When billing in a percentage manner, the fees usually run between 3-10% of construction costs. The bigger the project, the lower the fee percentage. An example of this fee curve is found here:





The entire billed percentage does not go straight to the architecture firm. The architect is responsible for hiring engineering design consultants to design the building's structural, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, civil (sitework), and landscaping components.

In an hourly rate, the architect computes the hours he/she thinks it's going to take to design the building. The design of a building is divided up into several phases (regardless of the billing method):

Conceptual Design + Master Planning
Schematic Design
Design Development
Construction Documents (Can be phased into 50%, 75%, 95%, 100%)
Permitting + Bidding
Construction Administration

In the typical proposal, each phase is broken down into specific tasks, employee-specific titles, and subsequently hours are assigned to each task. For instance, in Design Development, the proposal may list the Project Manager performing 8 hours of work in engineering systems coordination and a Draftsman may account for 96 hours of CAD drawings. Tasks would also be assigned to the Project Designer, Firm Principal, and Clerical. Engineering consultant services are added to the proposal before it is finalized and sent to the client for approval.
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