1 / 1
Sitting at a table  working with the community leaders
⇩ Working with the people who matter most.
Architectural projects have so many vested interests it's often hard to hear the ones who matter most. Pictured here I'm having a conversation with the principal and resource teacher from God's Lake First Nation in Northern Manitoba while working with Stantec Architecture.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you don't know now you know.


Advocate architecture & full design services Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Q: What does an advocate architect do?

An advocate architect works on behalf of the client preparing conceptional & schematic plans, diagrams & specifications. An advocate architect is dedicated to your best interest and works on the team to make sure decisions being made are in your best interest.

Q: I'm trying to save money. Why would I hire another architect?

Because advocate architecture services communicate your requirements to the consulting architect and contractor more clearly, we are able to avoid costly changes that often occur during later stages of design or into construction.

And, the more design detail we can give the consultant architect at the beginning of the project, the better their technical proposals will be, giving you better architecture.

Q: Why do I need an advocate architect? Don't I already have an architect?

As an advocate architect, I am able to spend the necessary time understanding your specific requirements. Developing a clear design brief, and knowing which kind of project delivery method can be a difficult and risky procedure. When you go out straight to an architect without a complete design brief, you risk budget and schedule overruns.

Q: Do I need the other architects then?

Yes. All architects serve to protect the Public Interest, but with different roles.

Depending on the size of your project, you will already have a Design Architect, and a Project or Record Architect.

We're all striving for the same goal - to give you amazing architecture. But, sometimes when difficult decisions need to be made, we are influenced by our particular interests. The Design Architect team is protective of their design. The Project Architect is worried about construction details & schedule.

The Advocate Architect is your voice to make sure the building you are buying is what you need - especially when funding changes.

Q: How do you determine your fees?

Fees are based on the RAIC's "A Guide to Determining Appropriate Fees for the Services of an Architect" using the Construction Costs with Basic Engineering, and considering building type & complexity. Fees include engineering & quantity survey costs.

A project is typically broken into phases including:

Using this as a guide, we can multiply the expected level of effort for each stage of the project into a fixed fee.

For example:

A $2,000,000 Licensed Day Care is a Category 5 building with a fee of 10% of estimated construction costs.

A $10,000,000 Air Traffic Control Tower is a Category 7 building with a fee of 14.75% of estimated construction costs.

These percentage fees are not additional costs, but added value. A well defined project brief requires less effort by the consulting architect. Ideally, your project brief is so well defined you can state the price you are willing to pay, so you can choose the best architect to work with you, not the cheapest.

The expected construction cost is based on current square metre costs established by RS Means, and can be re-evaluated as the design becomes more detailed.

→ Check out the Fee Calculator on the RESOURCES page.

Q: Doesn't a percentage based price increase the building costs to the architect's advantage?

Percentage based fees are the best way to measure the effort required to design a building. A larger, more expensive & complex building will naturally take more effort to design than a smaller less complex building, so the percentage is adjusted accordingly.

JC ROBBINS ARCHITECTURE recognizes that a discussion on cost will always spiral downward, so we will ensure you receive value for our services.

Q: I'm an architect. It seems like you're taking work away from me. Why would I support that?

We will all do better work when the design brief is more clear and better resolved. Remember the saying: "Revenue is vanity. Profits are sanity." When clients use an advocate architect we are able to focus our efforts and avoid changes that affect your bottom line and the client's. It works out better for everyone.

Q: It sounds good. Are there other benefits to me?

Why, yes there are. I'm glad you asked. Another important benefit to clients and architects is in the case of feasibility studies. There is often an exclusion for architects who participate in a feasibility study, so they can't participate in the RFP. This can create a problem because a firm that wants to be awarded the design won't develop the feasibility creating an imbalance.

By using an advocate architect to develop the feasibility, or concept design, the best design team can propose on the project creating a better process for everyone.


More questions? Send an email with your prefered method of contact and we'll figure it out together: office@jcrobbinsarchitecture.com