As far as the original question goes, it gives the “Total Project Cost” as $4,400,000. It then defines Cost per sq. ft. as $176, Architect fee as 8 percent, Engineering fee as 3 percent, and consultant and other soft costs as $75,000. The total square footage is defined as 25,000 sq. ft.

Then, the question asks, “What is the cost per square foot of the project excluding professional fees and soft costs?”

Now, the “Cost per sq. ft.” in the scenario is meant to be a red herring in this instance. By the question’s wording, we can start to assume that this number is including the architect fees, which typically shouldn’t be included. It’s then asking you to extrapolate just the the cost per square foot from the given information.

So, the question is taking the total project cost and taking 8% of it to determine the architect fee and then 3% to determine the engineer’s fee. It is then subtracting consultant and other costs to leave only the construction fee remaining. It is then dividing this out by the square footage to get the cost per square foot only including construction.

However, the B101 article 11 makes clear that typically when the architect is compensated as a percentage this is tied to the *owner’s budget for the cost of work.* The question above calculated this based on the total cost they are paying, and not the cost of work.

So, I can absolutely understand how this question can be confusing. The architect should be compensated as a percentage of the cost of work per B101 and not the total project cost as this question is supposing. This question is asking you about a situation that would be atypical according to the AIA contracts.

I’m going to refer this question back to the QC team for their review to make sure it’s really aligning with what NCARB expects you to know. My apologies for any confusion this has caused.

*edit- formatting