Rule Number One. Do NOT let your advisor pick your architect!
While it may seem like a convenience to let your advisor select the individual members of your core team on your behalf, otherwise known as “sole sourcing,” this is generally not good practice. If your advisor sole sources your team, the team will often feel and act as if they work for your advisor, not you.
Instead, request three to five (3 – 5) recommendations for each position from your advisor, interview them directly, ask for references and follow-up. You can always select whomever your advisor recommends, but you will learn a lot in the interview process!
What to look for:
Interview architects with experience in your specific size range and style. This will ensure that your work is of a size and type that is important to them. Be sure you are not sold by the firm’s senior architects and then serviced by their junior staff. Much like when choosing your advisor, you will need to check references to make sure the senior architects at the pitch will be the ones who actually do the work.
What it costs:
Full construction documents should cost approximately $2.50 per square foot.
Note: The term “construction documents” actually refers to a number of different sets of documents created during your leasing process:
- Dime Plans. Your “best and final” landlord candidates pay for you to plan your space in their building. This is called a “dime plan” because it typically costs 10 cents per sf. It provides a basic layout of your space noting square footage of various functional areas and adjacencies.
- Space Plans. Once you select a building, you then work with your architect to do a space plan. This consists of a detailed drawing of walls and spaces.
- Construction Drawings. The space plan is converted into the architectural construction drawings by adding finishes, lights, electrical outlets, carpeting, etc. The space plan is like a black and white picture, the architectural construction drawings are like a color picture.
- MEP Drawings. The last step is to add the mechanical, electrical and planning drawings (“MEP” drawings) to the architectural construction drawings to create a full set of construction documents. The MEP drawings are all the things in the ceiling and behind the walls that you don’t see, but that the municipal permitting agency needs to review to approve your plans. Once submitted, permitting the construction documents (the “CD’s”) usually takes four to six weeks.