Architects are trained to work with fuzziness and to find creative solutions. This training gets in the way of recognizing changing circumstances as unusual extra work rather than just another garden variety challenge. The more involved you are with the design, the harder it is to spot the need for Additional Services compensation. And once suspected or actually spotted, it takes new training to get used to speaking up instead of telling yourself ’it’s not worth the paper work’. By the time you realize that it is worth the paperwork it is also embarrassing that you didn't bring it up earlier when the client had a choice or at least understood the ramifications.
A written agreement of any form is a critical part of making your case for Additional Services. Whether you use the AIA agreements or your own standard, it is just as important to say what is not included as what is. The AIA agreements cover this very well and provide a good model.
Everyone recognizes a significant increase in the size of the project as a change in the work for the architect. But what is a little more subtle is how the fee should change. Clearly you have earned your fee for the completed portion of the design. And the fee for the balance of the work is going up. When you use a fee that is a percent of the construction cost, this takes care of itself. What is negotiable is how far back to calculate the increase in order to compensate you for work that is now wasted or must be redone. Usually there wouldn't be a discount for what has been done, and often there might be a justifiable premium to compensate for lost momentum, and for effort that has to be expended twice to accommodate the changes. If the scope decreases this is an even more critical distinction to make. Perhaps you should consider going to hourly compensation until you are back to the same point as before the change - no matter what fee type you are using. However this is a fairly obvious situation that won't surprise any client.
Most contracts for architectural services assume the architect is designing the building - period. These are the Basic Services that the AIA agreements are built around. There are plenty of subtle occurances lurking here. For instance. the client is expected to furnish the information necessary for the architect to design the building. This includes a written program describing what is desired, a budget, an up-to-date topographical survey of the site with zoning requirements, and a soils investigation. In my experience you will often be asked to get started without any of this information. The lack of this information will create more work for you as you make assumptions that prove wrong or as you take on additional tasks to discover what should have been given to you. You should ask for Additional Services to keep from losing money or having to cut corners elsewhere.
The bidding phase can be another time for subtle changes when alternate bids are requested that now mean re-working the drawings to describe the alternate. Or perhaps a change in project delivery takes place that means phased permits, fast track and multiple bid packages are needed. All take more effort and all are Additional Services.
During construction there can be dozens of instances where Additional Services are justified.
- Excessive reviews of submittals to correct errors
- Additional site visits to oversee correction of errors
- Progress presentations
- Coordinating Work-By-Owner
- Client-initiated changes
- Contractor-initiated changes
- Evaluating substitutions proposed by client or contractor
The challenge is to insist on being treated fairly while not creating an unhappy client. Discussing the Additional Services process and how to avoid the issue during the early days of the project will help. Encouraging your client to maintain a reasonable contingency budget also goes a long way in preventing each change from driving the project over budget - a key factor in client unhappiness.
Other common instances of Additional Services:
- Furniture inventory and layouts
- Interior design in general
- Extensive environmental research and design alternates
- Public presentations and presentation materials
- 3D design outside what you normally do, say showing realistic context
- Signage (maybe)
- Measured drawings
- Facility surveys
- Site evaluations
- Value engineering
- Record drawings
- Data/telecommunications design
- Security systems
- Furniture, furnishings, equipment design
As you can see there are lots of ways to veer off course. Lots of ways to become a "non-profit by accident".