We want to help you succeed with your architecture project. As part of that mission, we’ve outlined some essential information and tips to frequently asked questions. If you have a question not listed here, contact us for advice.

When Do You Need An Architect

Certain buildings require an architect by law. These include non-industrial buildings that are over 500 square meters, and any building with assembly occupancy such as a movie theatre, school, gymnasium, dance hall, or restaurant. To find out more about this requirement, see the Architect Institute of BC’s (AIBC) article “Does your Project Need an Architect” or view British Columbia’s Architect’s Act.

Define Your Project's Goals and Needs

Before engaging an architect, build your idea file. This can include photos, sketches, and rough plan drawings. Make a list of your functional goals for your space (both critical and would-be-nice goals), and clarify the difference between wants and needs. Think about your long-term use of the space, and set a realistic budget. Once you have a general idea of what you hope to achieve, contact an architect to help you solidify your plan and realize your goals.

Working with an Architect

An architect does much more than beautiful drawings and plans. An architect can help in the very early project planning stages to determine the feasibility of a project or help to figure out how to increase the functionality of your space. They can also specify products and construction materials that have the best quality, aesthetics and longevity for your particular project. And they can administer the construction process so that you get exactly what you paid for, complete with a Warranty Review.

Learn more about the architectural process. View Services.

Project Budgeting

Before embarking on an architecture project, you likely want to determine how much your vision will cost. For most projects, architects work with qualified Quantity Surveyors to develop project costs. A qualified cost consultant can help project owners estimate not just the hard costs of their project (the construction costs) but also the soft costs (cost associated with fees for professional services and building permits).

Landmark is familiar with many cost-consulting firms. They enable us to keep a project on track and consistently on budget. If you would like a referral to quantity surveyor, we can help you select one that is right for your project. Contact us.

To find a list of firms and professionals engaged in quantity surveying and construction estimating in BC, visit the Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors’ British Columbia chapter (CIQS-BC) and view their consultant listing.

How Are Architectural Fees Determined

Architectural fees are usually estimated based on the size and complexity of the project. There are many different types and sizes of buildings. Each architecture project type comes with its own idiosyncrasies so when determining project costs, architects consider some of the following variables and factors.

  • Large versus Small Buildings
  • Repetitive Buildings versus unique buildings
  • Complex versus Simple Buildings
  • Renovation to Existing Buildings versus New Construction
  • Multiple Renovation Components
  • Vertical Additions
  • Multiple versus Single Construction Contracts
  • Cost Plus or Unit Price versus Stipulated Sum Contracts
  • Management versus Single Construction Contracts
  • Fast Track (Sequential Tendering)
  • Partial or Additional Services

You can find out more about how services for different types of projects are assessed through the Architectural Institute of British Columbia’s publication “Tariff of Fees for Architectural Services” (PDF).

Start-Up Information: Surveys

Before an architect can move forward with your project, they need several valuable types of information: legal survey, topographical survey, geotechnical analysis, or other information about your proposed building. This information provides the architect with vital parameters for architectural design.

Legal Survey

A legal survey includes the property’s legal description and any information about zoning, right of ways through the property or any liens on it. A property’s zoning often dictates how high the building can be and what setbacks from property lines are required for new construction. In many municipalities a legal survey is a pre-requisite for obtaining a development permit or a building permit. Visit the Association of British Columbia Land Surveyors (ABCLS) for more information.

Topographical Survey

Topographical surveys include information about the site’s topography, such as the location of slopes, elevations, contours, rocky outcrops, and vegetation. This survey also provides other information, such as where services enter the site. Visit the Association of British Columbia Land Surveyors (ABCLS) for more information.

Geotechnical Analysis

A geotechnical analysis shows subsurface conditions and materials. This analysis is critical in determining design requirements for excavation and structural foundations, particularly when managing ground water if necessary. In many municipalities a geotechnical analysis is a pre-requisite to permitting.

To hire a geotechnical engineer, view a directory of licensed geotechnical consultants on the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC website.

Other Surveys

If your project has specific challenges such as hazardous material assessments or specific acoustic, health, or planning requirements, Landmark can help you find the professionals you need to get your job done. Some of the specialty consultants that we typically work with include:

  • Acoustic Consultants
  • Building Envelope Consultants
  • Building Code Consultants
  • Civil Engineers* (APEG BC)
  • Environmental Consultants/Hazardous Materials Assessments
  • Fire Protection Engineers
  • Interior Designers* (IDI BC)
  • Landscape Architects* (BCLSA)
  • Lighting Consultants
  • Roofing Consultants
  • Signage Consultants
  • Traffic Consultants

Survey Checklist

Landmark Architecture has prepared a Survey Checklist to help you obtain all the survey information you need for your particular project. Contact us for a complementary copy of our Survey Checklist.

Construction & Design Guidelines

Preparing Your Construction Contract

There are many different ways in which construction projects are implemented and each one has a construction contract designed for that type of delivery. To help you initiate a construction contract, view Industry Standard Contracts, prepared by the Canadian Construction Documents Committee (CCDC).

Landmark can also help you select the contract that is appropriate for your project. Contact Us.

Finding a Contractor

Landmark Architecture has worked with many contractors and has pre-qualified many of them. Contact us if you would like a referral.

We can also help you pre-qualify bidders for your construction contract.

To find contractors in your area, visit your local construction association. In British Columbia, these include: