Message - Re: Why architects so underpaids in architectural firms.

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Posted by  Kevin Matthews on March 13, 2003 at 22:17:30:

In Reply to:  Re: Why architects so underpaids in architectural firms. posted by Manuel Oliveros on March 13, 2003 at 15:28:16:

In the U.S. market, it seems interesting to compare the compensation of architects with the compensation of real estate brokers.

For one thing, there is a clear national standard expectation of fees paid to the brokers for a real estate transaction, at least in the residential market. Fees to architects vary much more widely, with some evident competitive pricing pressure.

Yet the federal justice department went after the AIA for anti-trust violations, and forced a consent decree (or something similar) on the architecture profession.

Meanwhile, consider the amount of effort and responsibility the design firm puts into a building project, for a fee of maybe 10% of the construction costs.

Then consider the comparative amount of effort and responsibility a real estate broker puts into selling the building, for a fee of maybe 6% of the total price.

After the first sale, the brokers and the designers have been received roughly similar compensation, for drastically different amounts of effort, skill, traning, liability, etc.

Now run this out over, say, 50 years. The real estate community will have received many times more compensation than the the design community.

A functional approach to redressing this would be for the architect to receive royalties each time his/her design was resold.

An obstacle to such a rational adjustment is the relative social and economic power of the different professional communities.

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