I had an email conversation earlier this week with a potential client who asked if he decided to spend more or less on his tenant finish project what it would do to the fees. This is a very interesting question and points out one of the most challenging pieces of deciding the right fee for the project.
First it is important to understand that when we set fees there are some components that scale with the project size and some components that are more static. Typically the mechanical, plumbing and electrical engineering for a tenant finish will be relatively constant. The core systems are generally in place and the engineer is modifying the layout and distribution of those systems.
The swing item in a tenant finish fee is generally going to be the cost of the architectural and interior design. If the cost of a particular finish goes up or down, for instance a more or less expensive flooring, that will have little effect on the architectural fee. On the other hand if the project budget is going up because there are more custom details, the project fee will go up to cover the additional drawings that must be produced to convey the design.
The other item that varies tremendously is the level of involvement that is required during the construction administration process. An involved and complex design will need a great deal of involvement during construction. A relatively simple design will not require the same level of participation from the design team.
In the end, each project fee is unique and tailored to the needs of each project. If you ever have questions about an architectural fee its worth taking the time to get an explanation of what the assumptions are.