Fees depend on the size of the project, the level of detail and customization needed, and the requirements by your local building department.
On the design end, an alternative project can sometimes times take longer than a conventional one, simply because there is more research involved and sometimes special testing or other requirements in order to satisfy the building department. If you are considering an alternative project, the ‘front-end’ work may cost a bit more than on a conventional project, but the extra investment on the front end will pay back in the end through having a well-designed, well-detailed, highly-functioning building.
Often times when someone wants a building designed or drawn up, they will want to talk about their likes and dislikes, what they want in the project and how they want it to function. This now becomes a CUSTOM designed building. I like to tell my clients to think about it in terms of any other custom-made item; you would not walk into a suit shop and ask for a custom tailored suit and not expect to pay a premium price for the suit, the same holds true for a building. If you want to keep design fees to a low, then coming to me with a plan already worked out and little to no design work expected, can keep the fees much lower. But as with anything, a customized project takes time and labor to create.
Additionally, an Architect is a licensed design professional, and when an Architect stamps and signs off on a project, they are putting their liability on the project, so the compensation you provide helps to cover this risk. We always strive to work with our clients and find way to meet their budget restraints. Contracts may be structured as an hourly or fixed fee depending on the scope-of-work. We encourage clients to shop around. It’s always good to have two or three different fees to compare. The first step would be to set up an initial consultation.