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The items that should be included in the architect's cost estimate

Today we’re going to talk about what items should be included in an architect’s cost estimate, for it to be thorough, so that it includes everything needed to guarantee to obtain the ideal house of our dreams at the end of the works.

So first of all, the cost estimate needs to include the preliminary design, in other words, the first draft design ideas. It needs to contain the architectural survey, the apartment measurements “as is”, and the demonstration of a series of sketches with different design options.

It is fundamental to specify how many options you will receive. Some architects provide one option, and there are others who provide more. I usually give two or three. These sketches can be shown either two-dimensional, in plan view, and sometimes in elevation or colored 3D sketches, with the materials already assigned. These sketches are easier to understand for people who aren’t used to read two-dimensional plans. During this phase, it’s good practice for the architect to suggest what materials to use and what style is suitable for the apartment.

The next step that a cost estimate needs to include is the working plans. The working plan is done for one option, the chosen one that will be carried out until the end. The working plan is fundamental and skipping this step is absolutely out of the question. It consists of all the drawings that are handed over to the firms so that the workers know exactly what work to do. It includes, for example, the demolition/construction, water, and electrical plans, the detailed plan of plasterboard niches, decorative ceilings, the detailed designs of closets, kitchens, bathrooms and eventual wardrobes in bedroom.

A fundamental element of this paragraph is the package for quotation, that is, the list of all of the construction works that need to be carried out. This is an item of fundamental importance because it is needed to obtain an accurate cost estimate, as close as possible to the actual cost, on behalf of the different firms. Therefore, by all means, do not accept cost estimates that don’t include a quantity evaluation and make sure that the architect can do it beforehand because unfortunately, there are many so-called architects or interior designers who skip this step or who aren’t capable of carrying it out in a comprehensive way.

A good cost estimate also needs to include the advice for material selection, finishing, floors, tiles, parquets (wood flooring), sanitary ware, faucets, closets, kitchen. It’s fundamental to verify the number of hours that will be spent at stores and exhibition halls that the architect foresees for the cost estimate, to avoid future unpleasant surprises, discovering that these trips weren’t even planned.

Now we’re at the “supervising the work” phase. This phase is of fundamental importance; during this phase, the architect physically goes to make sure that the company is conducting the work according to what she decided and according to what is written in the different papers of the working plan.

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