How Much It Costs to Hire a Kenyan Architect for Your Entire Project Design

It’s been a while since we last posted because we’ve been really busy. We’re grateful to be working on several projects as architects. Seeing these projects start coming to life from just drawings is amazing. Being an architect in Kenya is great right now. The building industry is growing steadily after a long period of little growth in the ’80s and ’90s. There’s a lot of demand for housing, offices, and more space due to our growing economy. Many buildings, big and small, are popping up. Unfortunately, not all these buildings are as good-looking or practical as they should be.

Hiring a Kenyan Architect for Full Project Design – How Much It Costs

The way we build has changed a lot as the construction industry has grown. Now, we use new methods to develop buildings. The quality of these buildings is judged based on different things like how well they work, their cost, how good they look, and how eco-friendly they are in using energy and water, making people comfortable, using land wisely, and other important factors.

Unfortunately, lots of Kenyans might build houses that don’t do well in one or more of these areas. This happens because they want a cheap building. This is a big problem with many of the constructions in Kenya.

The truth is, many clients try to hire Kenyan architects at lower fees to save money on their projects. The Architects and Quantity Surveyors Act cap 525 explains what architects and quantity surveyors should be paid for their services from the start to the end of a building’s construction. It outlines the services an architect might offer at each stage, helping clients understand and work better with their building consultants to achieve their construction goals.

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Architects in Kenya Often Work on Long-Term Projects

When you think about starting a building project, it’s like adding one step on top of another until the whole project is finished. Each step takes time and needs the architect’s attention. The architect’s work at each stage should be charged at a fair rate to make sure everything can be done in a way that’s good for the long term.

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Buildings usually take about 18 months to 2 years to get built from the start to when they’re actually there. In this time, lots of steps need to happen – technically, professionally, and for administration – to make sure a project goes well.

It all begins with studying the site, creating a design idea, making initial drawings, showing the project in 3D to the client, and getting their approval. Then comes more detailed designs and plans, followed by making detailed documents for the project like the quantity of materials needed, detailed designs of special parts like doors and windows, and how the inside of the project will look.

After that, the architect in Kenya needs to work with other experts like quantity surveyors, electrical and mechanical engineers, and structural engineers to make sure everyone’s work fits together before anything starts being built. It’s like managing a project, but it’s the architect’s job to make sure all the paperwork for construction is good quality and complete.

Clients need to know that all these steps before building are really important for the project to succeed in every way. It takes a lot of time and effort from the consultants, especially the Kenyan architect who leads this process.

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So, what does a Kenyan architect charge for their work?

If a client doesn’t pay a building professional properly for all these steps, the work might not be good or might be unfinished, and someone will have to fix it later. The Architects and Quantity Surveyors Act says there are four main steps for payment during a construction project:

  1. Project Start and Basic Design – This stage makes the first sketches showing how the building will look and work. It helps the client understand the size, function, appearance, and location of their project. This is about 15% of an architect’s fees.
  2. Initial Detailed Design – These drawings are more detailed but not super detailed. They’re used for getting approval from authorities. If needed, they can be used for basic construction, but there will be lots of missing details that the client and the builder have to figure out. This is about 25% of an architect’s fees.
  3. Detailed Design – This stage makes very detailed drawings that show how everything works inside the building. It covers things like how windows and doors work, how rooms like kitchens and bathrooms will be built and finished, and even how cabinets and counters will look. This needs a lot of work, so it costs about 35% of an architect’s fees.
  4. Contract and Construction Supervision – This is when a contractor is chosen or selected, and all the contract stuff gets sorted legally. The architect also watches over the construction process until the building is finished. This is about the final 25% of an architect’s fees.
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The law says that a Kenyan architect must charge at least 6% of the total cost of a new project for all these services. If the fee is lower, the level of service will also be lower. This rule is for all East African states. For fixing up old buildings, the fee is higher at 10% of the construction cost as per the law.

Sometimes architects work on projects where they need to give their services based on time. This often happens with government or world bank projects. In this case, the architect estimates how much time they’ll need for the project and sets a fee for each hour, day, or month they work. This way, if the project takes more or less time than expected, the fees are already set.

As a Kenyan architect, I use this method for private projects where it’s hard to calculate the exact construction cost or when I’m consulting as a ‘visiting’ architect.

It’s important to work with a Kenyan architect to ensure your building is well-designed.

Here’s the thing: A builder spends a fixed amount of money on constructing a building. The cost of building materials in a poorly designed building is the same as in a well-designed one. But a poorly designed building won’t be as valuable in the market as a well-designed one. People prefer well-designed buildings, and they’ll choose those over poorly designed ones. This might mean the builder of a poorly designed building has to charge less or wait longer to make money from it.

If you’re planning a building project, consider working with a skilled Kenyan architect. If you’ve finished a project recently, did you collaborate with a qualified architect? How did your project turn out?

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