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I will be talking with an architect that was recommended from our log home project manager (GC).  I can't go into detail about the reason we're going this route instead of using a log home company's designer, but my question is this:  what should I expect an architect to provide and fees we'll need to pay.  It's all part of our budget, but I want to prepare for sticker shock, and also know what should be provided.  We're in California but the architect is based out of the mid-west if that makes a difference.  Anyone have some insight they can provide?  Always appreciative of the comments this forum provides!

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I would offer to pay the architect for a few hours time to bid your project.

Thank you, but the builder is something already set for this project.

California often requires more detail and data with the permitting process than any manufacturer is willing to typically provide.  Turning radius of driveway to allow fire truck access without backing up (for example) is needed in LA County.  Detailed HVAC, electrical, site drainage for capturing and reusing water, earthquake tie downs, retaining walls, deck supports, etc.----all considered "by others" and managed by the licensed GC----usually.  But many CA counties want to see these details drawn and a "stamp" before permit is given.  You can pay 8%-10% for total architectural management, or maybe $10/sf for this level of drawing detail.

The other issue is the engineering stamp.  You can get the architect to provide the creative preliminaries, then hire a separate licensed engineer for each discipline to do their own plans.  Maybe $5.00-$8.00 per square foot for good CAD plans, as long as CAD files can be shared with the engineers and other subs to save them time and accuracy.  But you won't get detail and a stamp for this type of money in CA. 

California brings a 20% premium to manage these issues.  Water, fire and earthquakes deserve the attention to detail.  Those not familiar are subject to eye opener.  If you need help designing in seismic zone 3 or 4, call us for the experience.  We'll even help your midwest architect if his ego allows.

Thank you Chris - you are always so informative in your responses to my questions.  Your comments about the turn radius (also needed in our county), earthquake, water issues, and almost forgot about the sprinklers are good reminders.  It turns out the architect won't be the big expense, we will be required to have the stamped engineered plans for submit for our building permit.  The good news is that it's looking like we're actually going to build this home - so many road blocks have finally cleared!

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