Some architects on this site, and elsewhere, are constantly moaning about a "race to the bottom" on price, fees and quality. They are unhappy at being undercut, they want prices to be somehow artificially inflated, and they have their heads in the sand when it comes to current market reality. They want price control, market control, and they are in denial in my opinion. I also have a big problem with scare stories (peddled here and elsewhere) by vested interests regarding other architects who have faced up to market reality, and who have slashed prices to bring in business/cashflow, and to ultimately survive. ("Don't go for the cheap guy because your house will probably fall down. He must be a charlatan at that price. Beware, or you'll be sorry. Go for the higher-priced guy, because he must be kosher.) That sort of thing. I think this sort of stuff taints the advice given to some punters, because the advice has a hidden agenda, a subtext, which is to further the lot of architects and artificially boost prices. I don't like it, and it should be highlighted for what it is - spin. Ireland is overflowing with architects, all of whom are hungry for work, because there is very little of it out there. That's tough if you are an architect with bills to pay, really tough - and those of us lucky enough to have a bit of an income should sympathise. But it is great if you are a consumer looking for an architect, or a photographer, or a graphic designer, or whatever you're having yourself. Prices are a fraction of what they were during the boom. Hurray! I recently sought prices from several architects - all RIAI registered and qualified - to design a modest extension to my home (design only). The range in prices was unbelieveable for essentially the same service (all of them said they were pitching for the business according to RIAI guidelines). From well under €1,500 incl VAT to €6,000-plus-VAT-plus-a-moxy-load-for-spurious-miscellaneous-unspecified-"expenses". Some of these guys have faced market reality, and some haven't. All of them have the same letters after their name. All would provide references. All would have to file designs adhering to the same building codes and regulations. Standards might differ, but not by more than six grand's worth. Architects prices are so low because there is way, way too many of them. The low prices will drive many of them out of business or else abroad - mainly the ones who won't roll with current pricing trends, the really bad ones, and the ones who refuse to adapt to current market reality. Only then will the market stabilise. It is simple economics. Ireland needs to shed lots of architects for the future sustainability of the profession. Hacked clean for better bearing, as Thomas Kinsella said. But you know what? That's not our problem. The best one that I have heard is the architect who thinks that prices should be artificially bumped up because s/he went to college - "a reward for third-level education". So did half the rest of us, boss. What do you want? Government price control? In the meantime, consumers, let's make hay while the sun shines. Don't be put off by people who say to you that it is unfair on poor architects that you have hired a guy at a price that they view as too low. We are not obliged to maintain whatever lifestyles or cost bases they have chosen to have for themselves. These same people wouldn't have thought twice about charging you a high price during the boom, because the market would have allowed them to. Now the market works in our favour. A pendulum swings both ways. Consumers now have real power when it comes to retaining professional services of all shapes and sizes. Let's use that power, to demand higher quality, as well as lower prices. Let's see how far that envelope can be pushed. The cheapest guy is not always the most shoddy, and the most expensive guy is not always the best quality. The profitability of those professionals is their responsibility, not ours.