Architect’s Guide To Working On A Construction Budget

Often, when someone realizes I am an architect, their first reaction is to immediately ask me, “what’s your fee?”

The budget is unavoidably the most frequently asked question asked of the architect: ‘Are there enough allocation of funds for the project?’ or ‘Are the expenses going to cover what I want in the end?’

It happens whether it is for single family renovations or designing a whole new condo building.

All the differently worded questions all lead to the same answer- where there is a will there is a (cost-saving) way!


IMG_1908 (1)

One particular method that I apply with contractors resultantly aids in the design too. A contractor is a company or individual that undertakes a contract to provide materials and labour to complete a job so it’s an important role!

Studio Jonah recently collaborated with DJ McRae Contractors and the process was simply this: first, list all the tasks to be done, second, find out how much each task will cost, third, PRIORITIZE AND BE SELECTIVE.

An interesting aspect about approaching the work this is that it helps both the architect and the client get clear and focus on what is important.


IMG_1902 (1)

This concise method of listing task to expense will blatantly reveal what the client really wants. Think of it as the same phenomenon as flipping a coin for a decision and realizing mid-air what it is you want (This coin just happens to be worth much more).

What I like about doing this is that it creates a subtle hierarchy that will shape the project in the end to be something mutually satisfying, both design and cost wise.

Let me know how you approach budgeting, I’d love to hear from all sides of the industry! Also, in your profession, let me know if there`s a question everyone always ask YOU.


IMG_1905 (1)

1 Comment

Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Design should be measured – Studio Jonah
June 14, 2022 at 10:01 am

[…] Instead, two other words constantly pop up regarding architecture design: budget and schedule. […]