I think i’m going to have to make a list of these ‘Architect Conundrums’, here’s a cracker – The Initial Consultation.
In order for an architect to get appointed the client needs to choose him/her. They’d like to meet, discuss the project and see if they think they can get on.
All good so far.
But what if the client just wants to get a heap of ideas from different architects and then choose none of them? (I’m not joking)
What if the client just likes talking about their project (that they’ve been discussing for the last ten years)? (again no jokes)
When I first started working in Ireland I offered a ‘free consultation’ at your site. It became increasingly obvious that travelling across 6,868 square miles (for this is what Connacht is and I work beyond this) was economically unfeasible.
Recently I’ve been providing initial consultations which are effectively feasibility studies on the viability of the client’s project from both a planning and financial aspect. This was intended to offer ‘broad-strokes’ of a design approach but was not intended to be a fully-fledged design with a full set of design drawings. This was costed at €400 + VAT. The problem was that many understood the level of typical fees an architect would charge but there were those who did not and were expecting a full set of drawings for a planning application at that price!
So, where am I now? After a lot of deliberation I’m opting for an approach that seems popular with other architects too; an initial consultation to see the project, have a chat with no expectations of a design (hopefully); the charge for this will be on a project by project basis and depends on travel distance.
I’m still very tempted however to provide an ‘initial ideas’ consultation but the problem is that this is the architects most valuable knowledge. It is this that separates the architects from the ‘plan-drawers’ and should not be given away or sold too cheaply.
I’d love some feedback on this from both clients as well as architects as both a concept and the pricing…
ps. I was meeting a solicitor recently (regarding maps and not as defendant I hasten to add) and there’s a large notice ‘An initial consultation costs €100’ and as the solicitor succinctly explained that it separated those that were serious from those that were not.