Fees Charged For Conditioned Space

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jimcrook@live.com's picture
Fees Charged For Conditioned Space
SoftPlan Version:
2014 Plus

Whenever I get a chance to ask another Designer how they go about figuring their fees, the ones who charge by

the square foot invariably state that they charge according to the size of the conditioned space ( heated space ).


This would seem to indicate that they often wouldn't calculate a square footage fee for an unheated attached

garage or for attached decks.  While in some cases these portions may not add a whole lot to the time spent on

drawings there are many times when they would depending on complexity and whether the garage was heated.

Many garages have living spaces above them and many decks are multilevel, irregular shapes with several flights

of stairs ( in other words can be time consuming ).


Is this concept of only charging for conditioned space something that is taught at Architectural Technology

or Architect schools ?   Can anyone explain the logic in not charging some sort of sq ft fee or allowance fee for the

garages and decks, as in my view they all add to the time it takes to draw !


Thanks !


Kelly Strickland
Kelly Strickland's picture
"Under roof sf" is what I've

"Under roof sf" is what I've always heard folks using. Site, etc are extras

Finehomes's picture
I don't charge any extra for

I don't charge any extra for garages unless they are more than just a simple thing.  If it has a bonus room above, I charge by the s/f for that space.  Also charge for decks by s/f as well.   I find it easier to just have set prices and charge the same for any project.  Sometimes I make a bundle...others I make average.   

Irish2's picture
As you know there are many

As you know there are many different approaches to pricing. For the most part it seems to be geographic dependant. In other words what is the norm in your area? I don't charge for garages if they are simple and attached simply because there really isn't anything to them. If it appears that the client wants something more than a simple "box" then I will charge a much lesser fee for that area. Same with a deck- if it is just a simple box or rectangle I don't charge but if in our initial discussions I find out they want anything more then I will charge for it. Again, a lessor fee but more than for a garage. If it is to be elaborate then I charge full price for square footage for the deck. All of this is discussed up front so there are no surprises or feelings of "hidden charges".

cbe's picture
I charge according to the

I charge according to the total area of the house which is anything under roof.  This is the industry norm in my area.  I don't give discounts for the garage and/or porch areas.  I still have to draw the roof, elevations, floorplan, details, electrical, etc. 


Before I got into drafting, I did meet an architect that had a set price for living area and a reduced price for non-living area.  Other than that everyone around here either charges by the footage or by the hour.  


- Cory

Dan Turner
Dan Turner's picture
All Construction Area

In my agreement to design, I have a value for all horizontal square footage under one term of Construction Area.  There's a finished area price for a single floor envelope (ie. with roof); finished floor price for a main level of a two story; a price for the upper level; bonus area, finished or unfinished basement, decks, stoops, garages....everything that I draw has a value.


If it's spec drawing...that's a different tale.  However a custom home sited on a topo that takes a little wisdom to generate the foundation; cut/fill; fall to the sewer tap; slab roughing or tagging into a foundation height retaining wall....it all adds up and that's just the Foundation Page.


As things pick up, if you've not set your fee based on your needs...you may find yourself working a lot of jobs and still not making enough money to warrant the effort.  A whole lot of work may equate to an exposure to some liabilities for problems that can stack up from being overloaded with some priority jobs that didn't take priority and you find yourself with some heat from a contractor/owner that has money and scheduling on the clock and ticking down while waiting on you; or minor to major mistakes...anything.  I'll give you the ruling from one judge about the defendant's position when he commented that the "contractor got my work at a price 50% below other professionals."


The good ol' boy Southern judge allowed...."counselor, did you explain to your client that the "you get what you pay for" defense will not work in this matter?"


If you're thinking about how to draw it....put a $$ on it.


Dan Turner

Turner Builders, Inc.