Where nothing is said about fences, terraces, grounds or other unusual items, the limit of cost given the architect will be supposed to cover only the bare cost of building, usually without screens, outside windows, or any grading or planting beyond the smoothing of the ground within six or seven feet of the building, and the removal of the surplus gravel, dirt or clay from the excavations to some convenient part of the premises. The architect's fees and the expense of superintending the building are not regarded as a part of the estimated cost. It is, however, far safer here as elsewhere to have a distinct understanding between the owner and architect.

Any estimate by the architect of the cost can be approximate only, because the cost depends on so many matters which are beyond the knowledge of the architect; for example, combinations of local mechanics, monopolies, approaching bankruptcy of the builder, etc. In view of these uncertainties it is considered unreasonable to hold the architect to a strict compliance with the owner's wishes in regard to cost, and the owner has no right to dismiss the architect because the contractor's bid is higher than the limit of cost given, unless such bid is greatly in excess of the limit. In the event of a moderate excess it is common for the architect to aid the owner in modifying the plans so as to come within the limit without making any extra charges for such aid. As to what is a reasonable or unreasonable excess of the limit fixed there is no established rule. It may, however, be said that the courts are rather lenient to the architect in this matter.

There are two ways of providing for an excess of the estimate over the limit given. One is to provide by agreement before the work is begun that the plans may be returned to the architect and no payment made if the contractor's estimate is more than 25. per cent in excess of the limit. The other way is to make it a condition precedent to acceptance of the plans that the contractor's price shall not be above a certain amount. It is strongly recommended that one of these methods should be adopted.