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Chester Springs, PA 19425
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Budgeting is probably the most difficult aspect for someone starting a project. Many clients do not realize the true costs of hiring architects, contractors or the costs of construction in general.

Picking the architect and the contractor will certainly affect the budget remaining for the construction of the project. Despite what most people think, simply comparing bottom line pricing is not a good way to decide which professional is the best fit, especially when budgeting for architectural services. Each architect approaches the project differently, charges different rates and includes different drawings or levels of service in their contracts. Clients often want to sign the contract for the lowest price, but often, the price is lower because the architect is providing fewer services, leaving things out of the contract or simply cutting corners. Determining the hourly rate, number of hours included in your contract and services provided under the contract is the only accurate way to compare architects' bids. Only after you have done that can you set an accurate budget for architectural fees.

Because an architect is usually hired before a contractor, it is often harder to know what to expect when talking to an architect than a contractor. Your architect can offer guidance as to the true cost of construction which often helps in selecting the best contractor for the job. There are many ways in which architects determine their fees, but it is not uncommon to see an architects fee represent 10% of the total cost of construction. Depending on the size and scope of the project, and the amount of detail provided by your Architect, this percentage could be as low as 5% or as high as 15% of construction cost. Residential projects consisting of multiple room additions tend to run in the 7-10% range. Commercial projects could see an even greater range as there could be more, or less, work required depending on the type of project, its size and whether it is existing or new construction. Smaller scale commercial projects will see fees ranging around 5-10% of construction costs for renovations or tenant fit-outs to 20% or more for new work.

When it comes to budgeting construction costs, it gets even more difficult. With the large home improvement stores out there, many clients try to get an idea of material prices and use that to aid in budgeting for a project. They are usually surprised to find that material costs often only represent 40-60% of the total construction cost. Therefore, it is highly advisable to seek advice from your architect and compare multiple contractors' bids when developing realistic budget estimates.

Cost per square foot

For new residential construction and additions, it is safe to assume $150-$250 per square foot of new space. This number can vary greatly depending on the size of the project, the types of space being created and the level of finishes being used. In general, it is recommended to budget approximately $200 per square foot when planning new space. The $150 figure represents more of a "builder grade" or "cheapest" materials available. The $250 number is more appropriate for projects including "expensive rooms" or materials of a much higher quality

Commercial construction varies too much to describe succinctly. When budgeting for commercial space you will need to consult an architect or contractor to obtain a more realistic budget based on the size and type of space you plan to erect.

Cost per room

In the residential and commercial worlds your square foot costs will vary greatly based on the types of space being created.

For residential projects, kitchens, bathroom and laundry rooms are "expensive" spaces, whereas living rooms, family rooms and bedrooms are average spaces. Unfinished garages and storage areas represent inexpensive spaces.

In commercial work, warehouse space and simple office space are the most economical spaces to build. Retail and restaurant spaces would constitute middle of the road costs whereas specialized spaces can be very expensive to build. These specialized buildings would include some industrial facilities, hospitals and other highly specialized spaces. Again, you would need to consult an architect or contractor for better advice on proper budget for these spaces.

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