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I am renovating my kitchen in a co-op. Fairly straightfoward no new walls, no moving walls etc. In essence just replacing the fittings etc. My building architect charged me over 6 hours ($250 per hour) to review the plans. Seems really excessive for reviewing 6 drawings. Any experience much appreciated
Rand Engineering, a large firm that handles co-ops, currently charges $250 an hour for Principals and $195 an hour for Staff Engineers/Architects. The hourly rate, accordingly, is not surprising. While six hours seems excessive, I suspect your building's architect essentially has a minimum fee. They may have also prepared a recommendation to the board. Since you apparently weren't moving fixtures or walls, I'm surprised your building required the architect's review. In any event, the fees are not unusual.
In my experience the building architects usually charge $250.00 to review the plans. Not $250 an hour. I would call your management company. For a kitchen I would think an architect can review that in less then an hour
Quite excessive. But what choice do you have? Many co-op building architects-of-record are either at the end of their careers, or not competent enough to get new architecture assignments. Their income comes from scrutinizing the work of real architects, and trying to find fault with it. My own building architect wanted to insist on official renderings, complete with city-certified permits. Which was absurd, since we did only a cosmetic renovation - no walls moved, no plumbing changes, just surface repairs and renewal. For this insane opinion I had to pay him around $600, and then I had to get my lawyer to write the management co. a letter citing the law. They backed down. But it was time consuming and expensive.
My experience is $250 an hour is about the going fee for a building engineer or architect, but I think the number of hours charged is absurd given the scope of work you describe. Our entire gut renovation took about 3-5 hours of the building engineer's time for a fee of about $1000 as I recall.
Thanks all for the comments - as I suspected - they charged five hours to review five drawings. Beyond absurd. I contected my management office and I got the stock response - this is industry standard and reflects the nature of the work that was required. Anything else I can do? I feel like there is very little to do - am sure the building architects wine and dine the management companies
i would discuss this with a board member and see if it's the management and the board doing this. in that case, you can just not pay and present it to the board.
"not" the board doing...
Unfortunately the board will be the problem. Recently refinanced my mortgage and despite an extremely low - loan to appraisal (40%), the board took 4 weeks to approve and insisted on seeing every bank account, stock account, letter from employer etc. I tried to explain to them this was a refinancing and that given I had passed underwriting (in a period where underwriting is tough) asking me to basically submit a package similar to when I moved in was excessive. They basically just refused. I suspect they just wanted the chance to review my finances. Landed up costing me $2000. Living in co-ops... sigh...sigh
time to start removing board members... one at a time
Why would they want to "just review my finances?" To what end? In any event, when I've refi'd, my board required very little despite being in a fairly tightly run building. This sort of thing varies a great deal building to building.
As for coops vs. condos, consider this: my coop refi cost $2500. My buddy in a new construction condo is refinancing about the same amount now. But because condo refi's are subject to a mortgage recording tax and maybe other fees, his refi is costing $6500 (his current bank gave an estimate of $8200!). No having to pay a mortgage recording tax in coops is certainly an advantage that leaves money in your pocket. So with the supposed bad, also comes good.
people are nosey - they just like to see how much their neighbours earn, what they are invested in etc. I understand co-ops board have a responsibility to look after the building but in today's environment if the loan is 40% of appraised value and the borrower has passed underwriting the co-op board should not need to see another thing. Banks are being more careful than any time in history with who they lend to - if they decide to lend to someone I think its fair to assume their finances are good