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What should be in an architect’s quote? - Episode 2 (Interlude Season)

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Working with your designer + other project insights | Podcast Season Interlude | Undercover Architect

This season gives answers to some of my most frequently asked questions. And we introduce a new project - a family home being built in New Zealand.
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Know what to look for in an architect's or designer's quote so you can protect yourself and your project. Request your FREE Guide now … It includes a complete transcript of this podcast, my top 10 tips, plus 3 bonus tips not mentioned anywhere else >>> 

This episode is to help you know what to look for in an architect’s or designer’s quote. If you’re receiving fee proposals from potential designers for your project – and infact any consultants you might need on your team, this episode will be great for you.  

I’ve seen many architect and designer quotes in my time now, and to be frank, some of them are shocking. They expose both the homeowner and the designer to a huge amount of risk.  

And it’s fine when everything goes well, but if there’s any discrepancy or frustration during the project, then it can be very difficult to understand next steps, and what recourse you might have in your project. The fee proposal, and any agreement you sign, becomes a type of contract for the services you’re paying for. When it’s not well-written, it can cause huge problems. 

What type of problems? Well, let me share a scenario I hear FAR TOO OFTEN when it comes to homeowners working with designers. This is not typical to architects … it happens with building designers, interior designers, draftspeople – I hear it across the board. 

So, in initial conversations, the designer seems great. They don’t seem precious about aesthetic or particular design direction. They tell you they’re not fixed on any one style, and will design to what you’re seeking aesthetically. 

They tell you your budget is spot one for what you want to build or renovate. 

They give you a timeframe to execute your project and they’re ready to start now. 

And so you sign on the dotted line. 

Things start well enough, but then things slow down, they’re not responding to your phonecalls or emails, and missing deadlines they promised. 

Or, they’re now telling you your budget isn’t enough, and they’re not willing to have their reputation damaged because you want them to design a budget project. 

And style-wise, they now have a specific vision for your project, and really couldn’t care less if it’s how you wanted your home to look. 

They now seem to be precious about their reputation, and their design style and vision. They take feedback personally. They threaten to resign when you express your frustrations. They tell you they own copyright and you can’t take the design anywhere else.  

You’re backed into a corner, bullied and battle-worn, and feeling like you’re funding the work of an ego-maniac. And you can’t wait for the whole thing to be over and for you to just be in your finished home already. It’s not the home you dreamed of, you’re spending more than you wanted, it doesn’t look the way you expected, but you’re tired, and feel stressed every meeting and during every conversation with the designer.  

You feel you’ve got too far into the process to turn around now, and anyway, who would pick up the process now? So, you keep paying your increasing bills, and subjecting yourself to terrible service from a design professional who only demonstrates arrogance in their ability and little respect towards you as their client. 

Sounds horrible doesn’t it? And it is. And unfortunately it’s a scenario I hear far too often, and as I said, it’s not typical to architects. It happens across the board, regardless of the design professional’s qualifications.  

Some design professionals are just terrible at taking care of their clients.  

The good news? You being informed is the key to not hiring these people in the first place, or seeing the red flags early so you can terminate things quickly.  

It starts with your quote or fee proposal, and the agreement you sign with your designer. So, let’s look at what needs to be in it, so you can check this off for your project. I’ve got 10 things for you to look for in your architect’s or designer’s quote or fee proposal.  

Listen to the episode for more info now.  

And head to and download the full transcript of this podcast. 


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Get It Right with Undercover Architect

If we haven’t met before, I’m Amelia Lee, the architect behind Undercover Architect: an online busin 
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