Competitive bidding for architectural services

Cost implications of selecting the low bid

While competitive bidding is prudent for certain types of manufactured goods or products, procuring architectural services is a different situation. There is more to it than fees. Check out this excerpt from a brochure published by the Alberta Association of Architects:

“You probably make it a priority to obtain competitive bids for the goods you purchase, and may well wonder why the same procedure is not used in procuring architectural services. When you work with us, you’re acquiring the talents and services of a professional rather than a product you can touch, feel or test drive. Because our services should be judged on a qualitative rather than a quantitative basis, it is not in your best interests to make a decision solely on the basis of cost.

Because the exact nature and scope of the services you require cannot be specified at the outset of your project, it is impossible for you, or for us, to foresee what professional services, technical knowledge, judgement or skills will be required. Such clear specifications are essential to the accuracy of any competitive bid, for without them, you will find yourself comparing apples to oranges.

We agree that competition is a healthy and valuable aspect of every business activity. At the same time, to fully and properly meet your needs we must compete on the basis of our ability to perform the services, rather than on the basis of lowest cost. From your point of view, an insignificant saving on professional services could not only lead to greater expenditures during the construction stage, it could have serious impacts on the ultimate quality of your project.”

Consequences of paying too little

John Ruskin once said: “It is unwise to pay too much, but it is worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money, that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was purchased to do.”

We think you’ll find our fees to be fair, reasonable and well-suited to the type of work we do. For more information contact David Parker or Kelly Seminoff at Parker Seminoff Architects or leave a comment below.


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