How to choose an architect
In the construction of a house, the architect’s choice is of fundamental importance, and it is necessary to dedicate time and effort to this task in order to avoid finding himself not to share the choices or the style that is proper to the architect chosen.
First of all it is good to make sure that the chosen professional is enrolled in the Ticino and Swiss registers of engineers and architects ( OTIA and SIA ), see what he has done (maybe on his website) and then meet him, to understand if there is agreement and if they have compatible ideas regarding style and functionality.
The SIA is the Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects, and is the professional association of reference for qualified specialists in the field of construction, with over sixteen thousand members active in the field of engineering and architecture.
It is a good source of information regarding the work of architects, and offers several opportunities to see the works they have done. The SIA Days are held every two years in May; in this event the doors of many houses created by the architects who choose to participate are opened. During these days it is possible to visit the houses and to see the explanations of those who designed them.
There is also a catalog, which can be obtained by requesting the SIA secretariat, where the work of various architects is shown.
The costs of the architect
Regarding architects’ fees, there are two different methods of calculation:
calculation based on the actual hours used by the architect (method usually used for small projects or projects where the end of the works is not clear);
calculation of the percentage based on the total cost of the work (useful for estimating what will be the architect’s final fee).
In this case, too, the SIA helps us by providing the architects’ rate card and the explanation of the calculation methods at the cost of CHF 180.-.
But how much does an architect cost per hour? According to information from the KBOB (the Conference for the Coordination of Construction and Building Organizations of Public Procurers), the indicative cost is between CHF 140 and CHF 180 per hour.
It is also possible to get an idea of the architect’s cost for the construction of a single-family home for a family of four. In these cases, the total cost of the architect’s work (which includes the three phases we have seen above) is usually between 10% and 15% of the total construction costs.
This means that, for example, for a house whose total cost of construction is CHF 1Mio., The architect’s total fee will be between CHF 100,000 and CHF 150,000. On the other hand, as regards the general project, it represents 9% of the architect’s total work; in our example, the value of this specific task is between CHF 9,000 and CHF 13,500.-. Of course there are many variables depending on the architect, the project and the value of the built.