schedule of fees

According to the Malaysian Institute of Architects schedule of fees, architects are allowed to bill for an amount equal to 70% of their contract fee upon completion of the contract document, that which gets costs put to and which contractors will bid on. It is common practice, however, to have this amount reduced to just over 50% of the contract sum after the rigors of negotiation and payment terms.

There is something absurd about all this.

Logically again now. It means that an architect will be due just over 50% of contract fee for the delivery of a document that in a perfect world should be up to 95% complete in order for tenders to be priced accurately. Seeing that most architects would only have completed what 50% of their fees would have paid for, the simple outcome of all this means that submitted tenders generally reflect lower costs than they should. The vulgar bit comes in because everyone is complicit: the deception simply carries on until the variation orders start pouring in, when the rest of the drawings get done. It is a ludicrous situation, created by a ludicrous belief that risk is minimised in the reduction of fees up front: it legitimises poor design documentation and the end losers are the very projects we had set out to get right.

Let us negotiate fee schedules to correctly reflect the quantity of work performed. When we see how smoothly construction proceeds with a complete document, we might understand why it is that an architect's fee should be near to fully paid before a single brick has even been laid or a single stone turned.

Architects design. Contractors build. Drawings have to be complete. It could not be simpler than that.



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