Architect's responsibility for providing accurate cost of work estimates

Hi All,

We had a great question come up in last weekend’s workshop about the Architect’s responsibility for providing accurate cost of work estimates.

One candidate asked if there was a target percentage that the estimate should be within. For example, the architect’s estimate for the cost of work should be within %15. While I’m sure architect’s aim for a goal like this, I couldn’t find any sort of professional recommendations. My firm doesn’t have any established goals for cost estimating.

I think no architect would publish this goal even if they had one, because doing so might open them up to additional liability. The standard of care is ‘ordinary’ and even by acknowledging a target accuracy number you might be raising the standard of care.

However, I did find a great article the AIA put out talking about the architect’s obligation to design to the budget. This piece also gets into Article 6 - “Cost of to Work” of the B101 and relates back to the architect’s obligations in regards to providing cost estimates. From what I understand, there are no hard and fast rules for how accurate the architect must be with cost of work estimates beyond that the estimate must “represent the Architect’s judgement as a design professional” per article 6.2 and “be based on current area, volume, or similar conceptual estimating technique” per article 6.3 of the B101. This is intentionally done to protect the architect from undue responsibilities and liabilities.

Check the article out at the link below! I think this is a particularly good one from the AIA.

Hope this helps!

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