Frequently asked queries about architecture & interior design

Archi Facts Dated:  Feb. 12, 2018
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Courtesy Grotto Architects

The demand for building design and interior works has risen dramatically over the past few years.More and more people now have access to designers. But there are still many queries and doubts that deters them from hiring design consultancy or makes them extremely prudent before taking steps towards the same. It is indeed very healthy for a client to be educated about how a design consultancy works before hiring one. Below are a few very frequent queries that the new client base wants to be answered every time they meet us. To make it easy we have answered them for you. 

- What is the difference between an architect and an interior designer?

Architecture deals with the creation of a built space whereas interior designer designs the interior of the already built space. An Architect is offered an empty plot and conceptualizes the creation of a building from scratch. The architect is the whole and sole of all works including designing, structure, and other engineering services. It is the architect that divides the space into activities, and the one who crafts the movement of people in a space. Suffice to say that a building finally functions as architect designs it to be. An interior designer’s work is to design aesthetically pleasing finishes for the interior of the building already built. Interior designer can breathe life into space by creating the ambiance inside. Works include developing wall and ceiling finishes, furniture, lighting, and décor. In many cases, the architect designs both the built space and the interiors to maintain uniformity in the inside and outside space. An architect, therefore, can be an interior designer but it does not apply the other way round. 

- Who does the structural design of the building?

The architect seeks the help of an engineer who acts as the structural consultant .The architect proposes a design and the structural consultant calculates the load on the building checks the
feasibility of the design and proposes the structural members. The structural consultant is a subconsultant who’s services are hired by the architect and not the client.

- If architect designs spaces then who designs the electrical, plumbing and AC work?

The term MEP denotes all the services that are part of the functional building. Mep stands for mechanical, electrical and plumbing. An architect envisages the layout of services for the building
but hires the help of an MEP consultancy to help calculate, plan and detail out such services.
An MEP consultancy consists of personals specialized in different building services like electrical works, plumbing works, air conditioning, fire-fighting and others. Planning and ultimate installation of all machinery and service related items is made possible by a perpetual co-ordination between the architect and the MEP consultant.
The MEP consultant is a sub-consultant who’s services are hired by the architect and not the client.

- What is involved in design process?

Irrespective of the scale of the project or the type of client (individual or company) the following are the primary stages of any design project. The first stage is that of design proposal, where an architect/interior designer proposes the design through various mediums like, drawings, sketches and 3 dimensional views, model and also nowadays through animation. The client can may make changes or give suggestions. Few of such healthy discussions leads to the finalization of the design. The next stage is of detailed design and engineering where the designer along with the structural & MEP consultant generates all the details of the building. Tenders (detailed list of all the works involved) are made by the designer to be floated by the client.

In case of architects the next step is of getting the drawings of the building sanctioned from the presiding local authority. Lastly the designer provides construction/working drawings. These are detailed drawings meant for the contractor to study and follow strictly to get construction/ interior work done. The designer also visits the site for inspection to make sure, the work is happening as per his/her drawings. Also in case of any contractor query the designer may make them selves available. However to avoid visits at every beck and call of the client, the designer offers the number of site visits at the very beginning of the project which may vary as per the size and duration of the project.

- What does a designer charge?

There are different ways in which a designer can charge depending on the type of project and the budget involved- 
Percentage charge:

In case of architectural projects (building design + interiors) architect may charge a percentage of the total estimated budget of the project. The common number is 4 % but depending on the experience and stature of the architect they may charge anywhere between 3% to 10% of the total budget.
The percentage decreases as the project size increases eg. In case of heavy infrastructure projects ( 100 cr and above) architect may charge 1% of total budget.

Square foot charge:

This method is popular in case of interior design, where design is of enclosed space. Generally architect/interior designer may charge between 60 to 100 rupees depending on the amount of interior work. Popular designers designing luxury interiors may even charge up to 1000 rupees a square foot! In case of very big spaces eg 15000 square feet and above, the per square foot charge decreases.


This generally happens for small works or one particular work. For example if a client doesn’t want comprehensive architecture/interior package but only the layouts of their building. In that case a lumpsum money may be charged, the amount of which may be mutually decided between the two parties.

To consult Grotto Architects click here. View their portfolio of past projects.

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