Architects’ fees explained

By Paul

Once you’ve relayed the details of your project, hopes and goals to an architect, next comes the fee proposal. Architects’ fees depend very much on the scope of the work and the involvement you wish the architect to have – do you want them to only create the design, oversee the planning process or take the project through detailed design to on site?

The most important thing to keep in mind is that good, considered design takes time – but delivers enormous value. A fee proposal will set out the time that it will take to do a thorough job, rather than skim the surface of your goals and the project scope.

Depending on which stages of the project they will be involved in, an architect can either give a fixed fee, a percentage fee or an hourly rate. For many projects, they might give a combination.

Fixed fees

The fixed fee often relates to the initial stages of the project: the measured survey, sketch design and the creation of a planning submission. In general, the time needed to carry out these stages can be estimated quite accurately, so a fixed fee can be straightforward.

Percentage fees

A percentage fee is often given for the longer detailed design and on-site stages. The percentage refers to the overall contract price of the project – the sum of the total construction costs, minus vat and professional fees. For example, if the construction costs will total £300,000, an architect might charge 4.5% of that to create the detailed design to give to the builder and then 4.5% again to take the project to on-site stage, ensuring the design is being translated into reality.

This fee is generally proportionate to the work that the architect will carry out and will allow the client to have a rough estimation of what the architects’ fees might be at the end. Architects are bound by the code of conduct issued by the Architects Registration Board to ensure that costs are kept to the correct and expected level.

Hourly or daily rates

Finally, an hourly or daily rate could be given to provide greater flexibility when the scope of a project is unclear. It does provide less certainty on overall rates but might be useful when a previous stage is completed but amendments are needed.

If you’d like more clarity on how we determine the fees for our projects, get in touch.

Tags: Architectural process, Profession

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