Profile pics from Pereen, Tom and Liam, architects on DfM.

Architect’s fees for a home project vary depending on the type and scale of the project. There are no official standards or guidelines, so it is between the client and the architect to negotiate the fee, often dependant on the following:

  • The extent of the architect’s services (see ‘splitting the fee up into stages’ below)
  • Size of project
  • Complexity of project & specific project requirements
  • Extent of works to existing buildings
  • Repair and conservation of historic buildings
  • Degree of design repetition
  • The type of practice e.g. a small office or freelancer may have fewer overheads
  • The experience and expertise of the architect or firm. The adage “you get what you pay for” often rings true!

 

Splitting the fee up into stages

Probably the most significant factor affecting cost will be the ‘extent of the architect’s services‘.

When preparing a fee proposal for your project, the architect will usually split the fee up into the stages of the project. This will show you how much of their fee will be apportioned throughout the job. This will help plan and budget over the course of the project. Some people also choose to appoint the architect for one or two of the stages, depending on the nature and complexity of the project and relationship with the builder.

 

Not all of the stages are equal of course:

As a rough guideline, the percentages below show the weighting of each stage in relation to the architect’s workload (figures from RIBA www.architecture.com notes on fee calculation):

  • Concept 20%
  • Design Development 20%
  • Technical Design 15%
  • Tender Documentation 25%
  • Construction to hand-over 20%

(Or, in more simplistic terms, Outline Design – 35%, Detailed Design for Tender – 35%, Construction Phase – 30%)

 

How are architect’s fees calculated?

 

For domestic projects, the most common way for an architect to calculate their fee is as a lump sum.

This is based on the estimated time it will take for the architect to complete the work multiplied by their hourly rate. Usually your architect will provide a lump sum for each stage of the project to ensure you can budget for your project effectively.

 

As a very rough guideline, architect’s fees for a domestic project could be anywhere in the region of 5-15% of the overall project budget, dependant on the factors set out above. The following figures are taken from independent annual fee survey carried out by the Fees Bureau, showing average fees relative to the whole project budget and include all of the project stages listed above:

  • £25K – 10.7%
  • £50K – 9.9%
  • £75K – 9.5%
  • £150K – 8.7%
  • £500K – 7.3%
  • £1M – 6.5%

 

Before you start even thinking about fees…

There’s no point in asking an architect to provide a fee quotation if you haven’t asked yourself these questions first:

– Do you have any special requirements? for example, experience with listed listed buildings or with a certain construction technique?

– Have you seen some examples of their past work? Do you like their style?

– Do you actually get along? This shouldn’t be underestimated. This person will be designing the space that you live in everyday so it’s important that you meet. They should be enthusiastic about the project, and likewise you should have confidence in them.

 You can learn more about hiring an architect with our article here!

 

Emily  Design for Me

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