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‘How much is it for a set of plans?’

Sometimes we are asked

‘how much is it for a set of plans?’

but of course there is no straightforward answer. The simplest answer is that architects provide a service rather than a product like some drawings: are they drawings of a few ideas that you have, are they drawings for council approval, or are they drawings for a builder to build your dream home?

We usually produce drawings as outputs in our design process. We do eventually produce construction drawings that can be used as part of a contract with a builder, but first we have to talk about the design – what is it that you want your building to do? Or, even before that, why do you want a building at all?

Architects produce a service rather than a product

so quoting a fee depends on the scope of the services that you need us to do. Every project is different, as clients, sites, building needs and council codes can vary quite considerably – the architect must take them all into account when developing a fee proposal; we call it a Fees and Services Proposal to reflect that the fee is linked to the scope of work.

The production of construction documents is an important part of the architectural design process, but that part cannot be seen in isolation. Construction documents are a detailed and organised set of drawings, schedules and specifications that record the decisions made and the information gathered during the design process between the client and the architect.  The design documentation is the primary means of communicating your requirements to the contractor for construction. The realisation of the built work is a complex process which starts with lines, numbers and words on flat sheets of paper and concludes with a structure built for human habitation – your home. In this process there are myriad clarifications, deliberations, and refinements of the design that are required, along with the input of a collaborative building contractor.

But no matter how helpful the builder contractor, the drawings need to be the result of a design process – jumping directly to the production of construction drawings is a bit like a doctor providing a plan of treatment without the diagnosis.

So, in answer to the original question: yes, we can provide the drawings you need for your project, but

before we can tell you what the drawings will cost we will need to ask you a few questions

(download our free guide how to prepare for your project here).

by Peter Hill