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Old 06-01-2011, 05:03 PM
onq onq is offline
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Default Architects Fees - a Race to the bottom on Price and Quality.

The quoted post was originally published in the Sites, Planning, Self-Builds and Extensions Forum on AAM.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RIAD_BSC View Post
I agree with you on one thing, ONQ, which is that the Depths/Letting off steam is the best place for this debate, as we are hijacking the OP's thread. I'll get to the OP in a second.

But before I go, I don't think I am confusing symptoms with causes, but you may be confusing your perception of how the market should be with actual market reality. Less construction work + lots of architects = lower prices for consumers. It's a simple equation, although unfortunate if you're an architect, I concede.

As for "social contracts" and "the principle of reward for third level achievement", I think that just sums it up for me. I, or the OP, should not by expected to pay over the market price for an architect just because s/he went to college and thinks the rest of us should "reward" them for it. It's like the L'Oreal ad ("because I'm worth it").

Instead, I'll just hire the best value guy (which is sometimes the cheapest guy, sometimes not) who also equally went to college. Lots of people went to college. I did, too. But I don't expect to get paid over the going rate just because I have a masters degree. I won't hire the guy who charges over market value until he drops his prices to market value.

I take no pleasure from the plight of the architectural profession, none at all. But it is a buyer's market, and the market sets all the prices... not fairness, nor reward for degrees, nor wishful thinking from architects.

To the OP, I think the consensus from all posters on this thread is that you should check with your architect or engineer, or whichever one it is you are hiring, what exactly you are getting for your €500. It sounds too cheap, which means the standard of work may be commensurate with this. But if you're happy with what you're going to get for the price, go for it. And don't be persuaded otherwise by advocates for the welfare of the architectural profession. They have a vested interest in nudging you towards higher prices.
RIAD_BSC

Handbags at dawn it is, so...

You seem to be forgetting basic economics.
The market is composed of buyers and sellers.
Buyers may wish to pay €500 for an application.
I wouldn't be able to lodge one profitably for that.
I will state what I need to be just profitable - €2,000.
I won't be budging much from that, mebbee €1,500-1800.
Nett of VAT and depending on the difficulty of the site, brief and client.

You also seem to be forgetting why we have laws.
Laws are there to regulate matters in the publci interest.
There is ample evidence of incompetent people making applications.

I fail to see why we afford our built environment less care than our bodies.
Yes, you can go to a quack and get a snake oil cure, or a repackaged brand X.
But if you need that life-saving operation, or a boob job with no scar, you know you have to pay for it.

I'm opting out of this race to the bottom on quality chasing price, led by incompetents and cheered by fools who don't see the consequences.
We have already seen where this has led in the building industry with some Contractors tendering far too low and then running off with the first stage payment.
This is not a market realignment - it was clear that the tender was below cost and shouldn't have been accepted and completing unfinished work may bankrupt the employer.
Accepting tenders that are below cost shows a marked lack of judgement on the part of the employer, and a degree of dislocation when warnings like this are posted but not heeded.

You get what you pay for - if it seems too good to be true it usually is!
But I'm fed up accepting lacklustre design standards and poor build quality.
I'm thinking of setting up a forum where poor work by incompetens gets outed.
Because thinking these idiots are competent drags down the rest of the profession.

I expect there will be Architects Alliance Members, MRIAI's, Technicians, Draughtspersons and Graduates in the mix of award recipients.
Possibly this will include some of the disastrous prima donnas that get awards from recognised architectural bodies down through the years.
I can't wait to name the first Engineer of Local Authority nixer merchant, who relies for half his business on people getting "refused" and coming to him.

I wonder would anybody be interested in this?
Sort of like a rolling Flood Tribunal of Planning and Design Incompetence.
We could start with all those Ghost Estates and the genius Council Members who voted for them.
Why wait until one of them gets caught with his trousers down and cocaine up his nose before acting on this...

ONQ.
  #2  
Old 06-01-2011, 05:22 PM
Purple Purple is offline
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I have the height of respect for you professionally and personally but I have to say I agree with RIAD_BSC.
Quote:
Originally Posted by onq View Post

I don't think you understand basic economics.
The market is composed of buyers and sellers.
Buyers may wish to pay €500 for an application.
I wouldn't be able to lodge one profitably for that.
The market price floor is set, in the medium term, by input costs. The price ceiling is set by supply and demand. When supply exceeds supply the price will tend towards the floor. When demand exceeds supply the price will increase accordingly.


Quote:
Originally Posted by onq View Post
I also think you don't understand why we have laws.
Laws are there to regulate matters in the publci interest.
There is ample evidence of incompetent people making applications.

I fail to see why we afford our built environment less care than our bodies.
Yes, you can go to a quack and get a snake oil cure, or a repackaged brand X.
But if you need that life-saving operation, or a boob job with no scar, you know you have to pay for it.
Regulation and laws are there to guarantee a minimum level of quality from service providers. This usually entails a requirement to meet certain professional qualifications and/or certification. Those that meet such requirements usually then have to meet certain legally defined quality levels (i.e. conform to planning and building regulations). Whereas this burden may heavily influence the costs (and therefore indirectly the price floor) under no circumstances should regulation ever attempt to directly influence and control price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by onq View Post
I'm opting out of this race to the bottom on quality chasing price, led by incompetents and cheered by fools who don't see the consequences.
We have already seen where this has led in the building industry with some Contractors tendering far too low and then running off with the first stage payment.
This is not a market realignment - it was clear that the tender was below cost and shouldn't have been accepted and completing unfinished work may bankrupt the employer.
Accepting tenders that are below cost shows a marked lack of judgement on the part of the employer, and a degree of dislocation when warnings like this are posted but not heeded.

You get what you pay for - if it seems too good to be true it usually is!
I agree with you on all of these points. The problem is that many consumers of your services don’t understand what they are buying and so and incapable of ascertaining if they are being conned or getting value. Your last line is a great general guide; “if it seems too good to be true it usually is”.
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  #3  
Old 06-01-2011, 05:26 PM
Firefly Firefly is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Purple View Post
The market price floor is set, in the medium term, by input costs.
Given the amount of unemployed architects I would imagine that the price floor is also affected by those doing work "off the books" . As proved by ONQ, 500 euro plans are not sustainable, but if this was on top of the dole it's "extra" revenue then.
  #4  
Old 06-01-2011, 05:37 PM
Purple Purple is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly View Post
Given the amount of unemployed architects I would imagine that the price floor is also affected by those doing work "off the books" . As proved by ONQ, 500 euro plans are not sustainable, but if this was on top of the dole it's "extra" revenue then.
Yes, criminality always puts those who are not stealing from their fellow citizens at a disadvantage.
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Old 06-01-2011, 06:13 PM
huskerdu huskerdu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly View Post
Given the amount of unemployed architects I would imagine that the price floor is also affected by those doing work "off the books" . As proved by ONQ, 500 euro plans are not sustainable, but if this was on top of the dole it's "extra" revenue then.

Is it the case, that any unemployed architect working "off the books" is also working without professional indemnity insurance, therefore leaving their client unable to be compensated for any costly errors which might occur with the plans ?
  #6  
Old 06-01-2011, 07:20 PM
RIAD_BSC RIAD_BSC is offline
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ONQ, I suspect you just deftly lumped me in with the "fools" who cheer on "without knowing the consequences". I am happy to debate, but not if I am to be insulted. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt this time, and continue.

I see you used my previous post to start a thread called "Architects Fees - a Race to the bottom on Price and Quality". How utterly misrepresentative of my position. You should have called it "Architects - how the world owes us a living, no matter what the market conditions, because we went to college for several years"

In fact, I refuse to have this debate on your turf, and on your terms. I'll have it on mine. I'm going to start my own thread with my own title, addressing an issue I feel needs to be addressed - lobbying by vested intersts, masquerading as advice. Feel free to merge into mine if you like :-)

Mods - maybe you need to step in here and decide what to do.... I've opened a different thread, which addresses a different topic if truth be told, because I wasn't happy with my original post being used to start a new thread with this title....
  #7  
Old 06-01-2011, 07:26 PM
regvw regvw is offline
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Did I start all this, oh No
  #8  
Old 06-01-2011, 10:44 PM
Brendan Burgess Brendan Burgess is offline
 
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You did, and I am calling Time

Brendan
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