Contract with Architect

Signing a Contract with an Architect

Step # 27 in the Kitchen Remodel Planner

(get your own free kitchen remodel planner – click here)
With the reference and background checks of the different architects completed, now you can select the architect, home designer or interior designer that you think will be the best fit for your remodeling project.


It is important to have a contract with the architect that clearly describes what services they will and will not provide.  Some architects also offer project management services so it is important that you clarify what they will and will not do.


Here is a list of what should be and can be included in contract with architect.


1. A complete description of what services the architect will and will not provide should be included in contract with architect

2. A detail of how and when they will be paid.  Is it an hourly contractor or a fix bid?  Do they get progress payments or payments at the end of the project only.

3. The name, address, contact information and license number(s) of the architect

4. A description of how the architect will adjust the agreement for additional services – if services are required or if you request additional services

5. How the agreement can be cancelled.  Contracts are written for 2 primary purposes – to ensure clear initial understanding and to reference when the project is going poorly.  If everything is going well and the project is a success then the contract just sits in a folder in a drawer somewhere.  Read and think about your contract – not as if things will go well but if you are protected and comfortable with the process outline in the contract when the project does not go well and needs to be adjusted or cancelled.

6. Responsibilities: What do you need to provide the architect and what do they provide you.  Do any third parties need to he hired or engaged?  Civil engineer?  The city permitting office?

7. Description of the scope of the project and project goals.  “remodel kitchen, add 2 windows….” The more detail the better.

8. Milestones and schedule.

9. A budget for the finished project. You need to be clear that the remodel or building that the architect designs must be a certain size, plus or minus, and have certain features and cost in a certain range.

10.  A requirement that you approve each milestone before the architect can proceed to the next phase.

11. What expenses, if any, are reimbursable to the architect.  Printing is a common fee that is added to the agreed upon project cost.

12. Who owns the resulting work.  It is common and a surprise to many homeowners that even though YOU pay for the design the architect retains ownership and you are only allowed to use the design for your project.  If you have hopes to sell your designs to others make sure that is explained and agreed to the in the contract.

13. How disputes will be managed if they occur – binding arbitration is a good solution that is less expensive and faster than resorting to the courts.

Hope that helps. here is a helpful booklet on hiring an architect