STANDARDS OF PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE (SPP) ON PRE-DESIGN SERVICES (Part of the IRR of R.A. No. 9266) SPP Document 201 (replacing the 1979 UAP Doc. 201)


1.1. The basic services provided by the Architect have remained relatively unchanged over the years. However, the Architect must expand his services in response to the increasing demands of his/her Clients, the evolution of new standards of regulated professional practice, the advancement of technology and the enactment of new laws.

1.2. It will be most advantageous to the Client to involve the Architect in the earliest stages of the project since the Architect, if suitably experienced, can provide the Client with objective project analysis, establishing parameters to optimize building needs vis-à-vis available resources and attendant constraints.


The Pre- Design Services cover a broad line of architectural services ranging from initial problem identification to activities that would allow the Architect to initially conceptualize an array of architectural and allied solutions. The Pre-Design Services nominally include consultation, pre-feasibility studies, feasibility studies, site selection and analysis, site utilization and land-use studies, architectural research, architectural programming, space planning, space management studies, value management, design brief preparation, promotional services and other related activities.

2.1 Consultation

When a Client calls upon the Architect to give oral or written advice and direction, to attend conferences, to make evaluations and appraisals regarding a contemplated project and similar activities, the Architect renders valuable inputs whether or not the Client pursues the project.

2.2 Pre-Feasibility Studies

These preliminary studies involve the procurement, analysis and use of secondary information gathered for the project to aid the Client in early decision-making. They represent the Architect’s initial assessment of a project’s soundness, allowing the Client to promptly explore available/ readily identifiable directions / options. Researched / processed / validated secondary data are generally used for such studies e.g. electronic, print, etc.

2.3 Feasibility Studies

Detailed analysis of the project based on pre-feasibility studies will determine the viability of a proposed development. The studies will set the project against present and future trends to forecast how it will perform over time. This requires primary data gathering and analysis.

2.4 Site Selection and Analysis

This entails the formulation of site criteria, assistance to the Client in site evaluation as well as analysis to determine the most appropriate site/s for a proposed project or building program.

2.5 Site Utilization and Land-Use Studies

The detailed analysis of the site involves the identification of a site’s development potentials through the proper utilization of land. The analysis covers the context of the site as well as that of its surrounding environment and the development controls that apply to the site and its environs.

2.6 Architectural Research

Architectural research entails the conduct of primary and secondary researches and assembled facts used as basis for conclusion.

2.7 Architectural Programming

This analytical problem-seeking process will lead to the statement and identification of both horizontal and vertical requirements in offering a solution. It incorporates a space program with characterizations of the envisioned spaces such as ambiance, cost range, etc.

2.8 Space Planning

The Architect determines the adequate size and appropriate configuration and assemblage for a proposed project in consideration of the use, allocation and interface of spaces for given activities. Space planning is done mainly through primary data gathering such as interviews, consultations, interfaces, focus group discussions (FGDs), space planning surveys, space audits, etc. and subsequent analyses i.e. spatial layouts with stacking concepts, particularly for multi-storey structures.

2.9 Space Management Studies

An analysis of the space requirements of the project based on organizational structure and functional set-up pinpoints linkages and interaction of spaces. The formulation of the space program will serve as the basis for the development of the architectural plan / design.

2.10 Value Management

This technique is applied in the cost management process to minimize the negative effect of simplified operations associated with many cost-reduction programs. The goal of value management is to achieve an unimpaired program at minimum cost. Thus, a plan, design or system that has been successfully value-managed will still satisfy the same performance criteria as the costlier alternatives.

2.11 Design Brief Preparation

Under design brief preparation, the Architect states the project terms of reference (ToR) including the concept, objectives and other necessary requirements to bid out architectural services (whether public or private).

2.12 Promotional Services

Projects may require promotional activities in order to develop and generate financial support and acceptance from governing agencies or from the general public. In such cases, the Architect can act as the agent of the Owner by producing and coordinating the additional activities necessary to complete the services. In all such activities, the Architect must maintain his professional status as the representative of the Owner.


3.1 After the initial meeting / conversation / correspondence with the Client, the Architect must submit his proposal for pre-design services, stating the following:

3.1.1 Scope of Work

3.1.2 Manner of Payment

3.1.3 Owner’s Responsibilities

3.1.4 Other Conditions of Services

3.2 The Architect can render services in any of the following ways:

3.2.1 As an individual Architect he must have special training and be knowledgeable in different fields to supplement his skills.

3.2.2 Architect’s Own Staff

It is possible for Architects (as natural persons) working in a single firm to specialize in a variety of ways. Many Architects and firms (juridical persons) specialize without losing the generalist approach of the Architect or firm.

3.2.3 By Association, Consultation or Networking

Another common practice is consultation between an Architect and a firm of other disciplines, under the extended terms of the Owner-Architect Agreement.


The Architect’s compensation is based on the Architect’s / architectural firm’s talents, skill, experience, imagination, and on the type and level of professional services provided. Compensation for Pre-Design Services may be based on one or more of the following:

4.1 Multiple of Direct Personnel Expenses

This cost-based method of compensation is applicable only to non-creative work such as accounting, secretarial, research, data gathering, preparation of reports and the like. This method of compensation is based on technical hours spent and does not account for creative work since the value of creative design cannot be measured by the length of time the designer has spent on his work. The computation is made by adding all costs of technical services (man hours x rate) and then multiplying it by a multiplier to cover overhead and profit.

The multiplier ranges from 1.5 to 2.5 depending on the office set-up, overhead and experience of the Architect and the complexity of the Project.

Other items such as cost of transportation, living and housing allowances of foreign consultants, out-of-town living and housing allowances of the local consultants and the like, are all to be

charged to the Client. At the start of the commission, the Architect shall make known to the Client the rate of professionals and personnel who will be assigned to the Project and the multiplier that has to be applied before agreeing on this method of compensation.


A = Architect’s rate / hour

C = Consultant’s rate / hour

T = Rate per hour of Technical Staff, Researchers and others involved in the Project

AN, CN, TN = No. of hours spent by Architect, Consultants and Technical Staff

M = Multiplier to account for overhead and reasonable profit. The value may range from 1.5 to 2.5 depending on the set-up of the Architect’s office and the complexity of the Project.

R = Reimbursable expenses such as transportation, housing and living allowance of Consultant, transportation, per diem, housing and living allowance of local consultants and technical staff if assigned to places over 100 km. from the area of operation of the Architect.

Cost of printing of extra set of drawings, reports, maps, contract documents, etc. over the five (5) copies submitted to the Client, overseas and long distance calls, technical and laboratory tests, licenses, fees, taxes and similar cost items needed by the Project.

Direct cost = AN + CN + TN

Fee = Direct Cost x M

Total Cost of Service charged to Client = Fee + R

4.2 Professional Fee Plus Expenses

This method of compensation is frequently used where there is continuing relationship involving a series of projects. It establishes a fixed sum over and above the reimbursement for the Architect’s technical time and overhead. An agreement on the general scope of the work is necessary in order to set an equitable fee.

4.3 Lump Sum or Fixed Fee

This method may be applied to government projects since they entail more paper work and time-consuming efforts.

4.4 Per Diem, Honorarium Plus Reimbursable Expenses

In some cases a Client may request an Architect to do work which will require his personal time such as:

4.4.1 attending project-related meetings, conferences or trips;

4.4.2 conducting ocular inspection of possible project sites; and

4.4.3 conferring with others regarding prospective investments or ventures and the like.

For these particular activities, the Architect as agent of the Owner may be paid on a per diem and honorarium basis plus out-of-pocket expenses such as but not limited to travel, accommodations and subsistence.

4.5 Mixed Methods of Compensation

The SPP provides for more than one method of compensation on a project. Each project should be examined to determine the most appropriate and equitable method of compensation.