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Asking this question is vital so you can get an understanding of what payments are due and at what milestones. This will enable you to properly manage your cash flow during this phase of the project.

Three reasons why this is a great question are:

This is a vital part of planning and budgeting and is just as important during this phase as it is in the build. Some designers will charge a deposit and then nominal amounts (usually percentages) of the total cost once certain milestones are reached. Other designers may charge 50% upfront and the remainder on completion of the documents.


It is important to know where you stand should your situation change. If something happens that will stop you from proceeding with the project, or if you are unhappy at any point during the design process, you need to know your options. Some designers will charge on a stage by stage basis, allowing you to stop the project at the end of any one stage. Other designers will expect you to be liable for the full cost of the project regardless of your situation. This
question will help you avoid any unwanted surprises in the future.


To know whether or not the fee proposal will cover coordination with other consultants for approvals. Some designers will include this in their initial proposal but others will have it as an extra charge. You want to be sure that their fee proposal covers everything you need to get you to the construction stage. Asking this upfront will give you confidence to proceed.

“Space is the breath of art” – Frank Lloyd Wright
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