The only benchmark I know of is ’Basic Services’. This is the architect’s level of involvement in the project that the standard national agreements assume, especially those developed by the American Institute of Architects [AIA]. Basic Services usually include five phases of work - Schematic Design [SD], Design Development [DD], Construction Documents [CD], Bidding [B], and Construction Administration [CA]. The only one of these five that I feel is fully detailed is Construction Administration. No doubt the design phases are too variable to describe in detail. To oversimplify, the result of each phase is to:
- SD - resolve the Owner’s program into a design concept
- DD - resolve the approved concept into plans and elevations
- CD - develop detailed drawings of the approved design to describe the building in enough detail that it can be built
- B - obtain a firm cost from a contractor to build the building
- CA - oversee the construction of the building in enough detail to determine that it substantially complies with the construction documents
Public projects usually include Basic Services at a minimum. Private projects do as well, but the Owner and Architect aren't prevented from modifying the scope of services in any way they like. Adding and deleting services to suit their objectives.
For example, the standard AIA agreements describe numerous Additional Services that might be added initially or as circumstance dictate.
Another assumption that is part of Basic Services is that the Architect will provide basic engineering services. By basic engineering is meant structural design, mechanical engineering (HVAC, plumbing, fire protection) and electrical engineering. The inclusion of civil engineering, telecommunications, and networking usually need to be addressed. Are they in or out?
Traditionally the engineering work has been assumed to be one third (1/3) of the total fee. In the last two decades this has been increasing as it becomes more typical to include civil engineering, telecommunications, networking and other disciplines as well. We have experienced as many as nine members of the design team -
- Landscape Architect
- Civil Engineer
- Structural Engineer
- Mechanical Engineer
- Electrical Engineer
- Interior Designer
- Graphic Designer
The breakdown of the fee was 50/50 on that project.
Other articles on fees (and a Sample Fee Table):