Work with an Architect: Commercial

Delivery of buildings is complex and Architects are the profession with the skills and training to see a project from feasibility and design stage through planning, regulation and contract administration. Architects' skill is in designing to exceed expectations and deliver outcomes to meet a client’s need.  

Maximising the return from investments in commercial buildings is critical from a client’s perspective. Whether the objective is a new retail space that attracts customers; an office building that stimulates your staff and represents your company well or an investment project that demands quality design and delivery, working with an RIAI Registered Architect will add value to your project.

Registered Architects have one of the most onerous training requirements of any profession. A Registered Architect can assess your needs, advise on the preparation of a brief that responds to your project requirements, set a viable budget, guide you through the planning process, obtain and assess quotes from contractors, manage ancillary consultants, monitor costs, and administer the construction contract.

You can find an RIAI Member Practice in our Practice Directory.

Rigorous and Continuing Training

In Ireland, Architects are among the professions that require the most comprehensive training. Prior to joining the RIAI, Registered Architects will have studied for seven years in an approved university or institute, following which they are required to obtain a Diploma in Professional Practice over a two-year minimum period. This extensive education reflects the importance of design and building socially, culturally, and economically. Architecture, at any scale, is a significant investment and should be the responsibility of appropriately qualified individuals.

A condition of registration is that RIAI Architects maintain continuing professional training in relevant fields such as regulations, standards, contract administration, project management, construction methods and practice throughout their careers. This means that Registered Architects are aware of and up-to-date with latest building regulations and planning legislation, energy reduction strategies, and best practice in providing universal access, for example. Architects in practice are required to carry appropriate levels of professional indemnity insurance.


Professional Conduct

Working with a Registered Architect, you know your project is in safe hands. Their professional training, expertise, and conduct, which is governed by the RIAI Architects’ Code of Conduct, obliges RIAI Registered Architects to carry out work on behalf of the client honourably, independently, and competently.

While your Architect can provide specific advice in relation to your project, it is generally recommended that prior to commencing, building owners should read the Code of Practice for Inspecting and Certifying Buildings and Works. This document, issued by the Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government, outlines the role and responsibilities of building owners, designers, assigned certifiers, and builders in relation to a project's compliance with the Building Regulations.

Budget and Costs

Architects’ Fees
An Architect’s fee depends on the requirements of each project and the scope of services employed. Some Architects will charge on the basis of a percentage of the total project cost, while there is also the option of a fixed price lump sum or a time charge basis. Fees need to be agreed before a project begins.

Building Costs
The cost of a building project will depend on a wide range of factors, including size, construction method, materials, finishes, and site context. The RIAI has published Building/Construction Cost Guidelines to provide clients with guidance on building costs. The RIAI has compiled this guide using average costs for different building types under ‘Commercial Works’ and ‘Domestic Works’. The Building/Construction Cost Guidelines can be used as an accompaniment to the RIAI Client/Architect Agreements.