Reasonable drafting/design fee? - Posted by SteveA (FL)

Posted by Jon on August 11, 2005 at 08:02:53:

I pay .60psf for drawings and about 900.00 for egineering.

Reasonable drafting/design fee? - Posted by SteveA (FL)

Posted by SteveA (FL) on August 11, 2005 at 07:25:41:

I need to physically move a front entry. GC says I need to hire a drafting/design person to draw it up for pulling permits. I did and the estimate is $2800 for front/side before/after elevations and remodeled kitchen drawings.

Is that reasonable? I’ve never used a design person before. Turns out this guy and I went to the same high school a year apart and are from the same hometown. Don’t think he would try and take advantage of me or anything.


Re: Reasonable drafting/design fee? - Posted by depends

Posted by depends on August 13, 2005 at 15:49:18:

What do you mean by “need to move a front entry”?

If it just means moving the front door to a new location, I’ve done that before without a permit.

If it means tearing down an integral part of the house and rebuilding a brand new huge entry/covered porch addition, you are looking at some design/permit cost. Or if it is a commercial building.

I’ve had an architect give me three design variations for $1500 (design layout only) for a whole house remodel. I had another guy (non-architect) bid $3000 for the same house but he was going to get into more of the details including permits and follow through with the whole project. Costs for designing a remodeled kitchen just by itself could vary widely depending on what is being done and/or if done by an expensive specialty kitchen designer.

Another factor to consider is many bids (for anything) are based upon the value of the home itself - meaning some will quote you a higher cost if your home is upper end vs. lower end in price for about the same amount of work. (sad but true - many will charge what they think they can get away with) Try to find out their square foot rate before you give them your location.

One rule of thumb that is used is to use the cost of the renovation and then assign a percentage of that cost for design/permit work. This may be how your designer is calculating his fee. Roughly ten percent is what an on-site architect would charge for a major project. How much work exactly will the designer be doing? Is hand-holding what you really need?

Also, I am surprised that your GC cannot pull the permits himself. That’s a chore I’d be expecting him to do unless it is a really involved project. If it isn’t, I’d be a bit suspicious about the GC and wondering why he isn’t up to doing this bit of work. Does it indicate he is incompetent or lazy or did he give you a low-ball bid or what? When you got bids by other GCs didn’t any of them include permit costs?

As with anything else that requires a bid, design costs can be all over the map. Unless you can get your GC to absorb the cost for a reasonable small fee like under $500, it appears you need to do some judicious shopping around and get some different bids for your exact project in order to be fairly certain you are not getting hosed in more ways than one on your particular project.

Re: Reasonable drafting/design fee? - Posted by Frank Chin

Posted by Frank Chin on August 12, 2005 at 08:14:30:


It depends on what is needed for the permit.

For instance, code inspectores found violation in one of my rentals, the major one being a basement that’s finished without a permit. I had to file plans for permits after the fact that conforms to local building codes. For that, I had to get a “licensed architect”, who charged me $1,500 to do the plans, and then later on file certifications that construction was done according to plan.

My dad had a commercial property, that he had to renovate, making two stores out of one. He went the CHEAPO route, got someone calling himself a GC to do the work, who then got some kid to make up plans to pull the permits.

He had the work all done, then found out that he need to do a plumbing inspection on top of the code inspection. When the plumbing inspector came, they had everything enclosed inside the walls, so the inspection had to be rescheduled after the contractor opened up the walls. I don’t know how it works elsewhere, but here, we have to pay a fee to arrange the inspection.

Finally, the code inspector came, and found the doors leading to the back had to be fireproof. And suspended ceilings in in commercial establsihments cannot be hung by wires, but by bars, and the it had to be several inches higher. At least these two were the biggies.

I spoke to some people since, and was told he should’ve gotten himself a “licenses architect” knowledgeable in the local building codes doing the plans to supervise a GC, or have an experienced GC, with people on staff that’s knowlegebale.

As for me, I pay a few extra bucks at the design stage, get a knowlegeable architect, who has E&O insurance. These people do MORE than drawing plans. Otherwise, you’ll have the THREE STOOGES doing a project done like my dad’s.

Not long ago, got an architect come by to take a look at an older property I had for many years, and asked if he can file plans so it’ll conform to current codes. He came by, took a look, and told me that windows I had in the converted garage had to be at lease so wide, and certain aspects needs variances that requires “hearings”, which requires notification of neighbors. He handles all of that as part of “filing plans”

Frank Chin

Re: Reasonable drafting/design fee? - Posted by Sailor

Posted by Sailor on August 11, 2005 at 15:08:25:

I’d check the actual requirements, as here the inspector w/take a pencil drawing on a lunch bag if he thinks it’s a good design. If it was me, & I didn’t need any real design work, I’d neatly draw it up myself. I’ve pulled a lot of permits on both coasts, & the only time I’ve every paid anyone it was design & working drawings on an entire house. It was 10 years ago, but I paid significantly less for that, including revisions & 3 elevations, that you are being quoted.

Caveat: Check the drawings of anyone else as closely as you’d check your own. The one time I paid someone else there were 2 errors, one of which necessitated changing the size of the bathroom door (making it non-handicapped accessible) because the specs didn’t allow room for it to swing past the toilet.


Re: Reasonable drafting/design fee? - Posted by wpage

Posted by wpage on August 11, 2005 at 08:45:21:

Steve I think you are being overcharged for what needs to be done. I guess the hot market in Florida means that everyone wants to get in on the action. I just had plans drawn up to build a new 5 room apartment for $600.00 canadian. Let me see…that’s about $450.00 u.s dollars or play money for you. I used a junior architect who did a fantastic job. I’d shop around a bit. good luck wpage