Reasons You Need To Hire An Architect In The Philippines And How Much To Budget For Them

Under the Republic Act 9266 or The Architecture Act of 2004 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR), it is stated that only licensed architects are allowed to engage in architectural providing services in the Philippines. This means that if you are looking to have your house built, you don’t call a carpenter or an engineer, you should call an architect.

How much to hire an Architect in the Philippines

For this guide, we are not going to dive into all the specifications of the Act. The act segregates the kinds of structures an architect may be hired for in 10. Residential buildings are a part of Group 4, so this is where this guide will be concentrating on.


The minimum basic pay for architects for residential units is 10% of the whole construction cost.

Architectural services consist of 4 phases, and the payment for their services is paid by percentage per stage. Note that this is a percentage of the already indicated 10% of the entire project.

Before all the phases are started, an architect is paid 5% of the total payment.

  1. Once the first phase or the Schematic Design Phase is done, the architect gets paid 10%.
  2. The architect will then start the second phase which is the Design Development Phase. Once done he or she gets paid 20%.
  3. The Contract Document Phase includes all the plans and signatures needed. Once done, 50% will be paid.
  4. The remaining 15% will be paid after the Construction Phase.

Even before the construction starts, the architect already gets a whole chunk of payment. The 15% is also often called the retainer fee. If ever there are problems that would arise, the architect won’t get the whole payment.

The Stigma

For the longest time, architects are seen as a luxury for house owners. A lot of people think that only the rich and famous are able to hire an architect.

If you think about 10% of your total cost, you’ll no doubt think it is very expensive to hire an architect. So most people tend to just call their neighbor who happens to be a foreman or carpenter, or sometimes just contact an engineer to “save”.

What they don’t realize is that there are a number of reasons why getting an engineer or carpenter to just build their houses without proper planning, can most of the time result in more expenses and hassle.

Reasons why you should hire an architect

Let’s talk about why you should not listen to what they say and actually hire an architect for your house.

An architect can help you save money.


Sounds ironic, right? You’ll be paying 10% more, then how can it save you more money? Here’s an example: A person wanted to have his house done and decided to call the carpenter from their area. He instructed him to just go and build the house. Once the walls and door jambs are constructed, the owner notices small mistakes, like the door being to small, a corner that is unused, a hallway is too skinny, or the stairs are too steep. The only way to remedy these examples is to demolish those that are already build to restart based on the new specifications. This results to actually having to pay “more”.

An architect knows the law.


The simplest and probably the most common example of this is the law for easements and setbacks. By law, residential houses are required to have a minimum setback from its property line (bakod) or the owner can opt for a firewall. Easements are front setbacks that depend on the location. Houses on riverbanks have more requirements than those on a subdivision lot. If caught by the law, a house is required to pay and fix the structure which will then cost more money. Another thing that is important is the required papers and documents needed by the city government in order to build a house. A carpenter wouldn’t know that and would probably just pay a “fixer” in the City Hall to have your papers fixed. This does not translate well to the owner most of the time.

An architect will plan for YOU.


The key to a great design is to plan according to the way the occupants use it. For example, for a household with several senior citizens, it wouldn’t make sense to have a lot of elevated surfaces and steps in the structure. An architect analyzes a client and a household’s needs and wraps the design around it. This will be very different from online plans that are readily available on the internet. An architect will design something that YOU as a client will actually find useful. This will be based on who will occupy it, and what their traits are. Another thing that an architect can do is to plan the orientation of your rooms. Just having a ready-made plan may prove to be difficult especially when you find your room under direct sunlight. These seemingly small considerations can result in big discomfort.

An architect will finish efficiently.


Because everything will be planned for from the start, there will be wasted time and money. Here’s an example, if the materials and schedule are not properly planned, the people on-site won’t know that they need to order let’s say CHB or hollow blocks. When they order, they are told that it will take two weeks to have it delivered. Everything on site stops because the CHB is needed to continue. The owner will then be paying the workers daily rates for 2 weeks even if no work is being done, especially if they are staying in. This small example is enough to realize that a carefully executed plan will help you finish on time and with less hassle.

Last but definitely not least is that hiring an architect will make your life easier. From the first stages to the actual occupancy, you’ll thank yourself for hiring an architect and saving yourself from headaches and hassles. The peace of mind that it will bring you is priceless.

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