How Do Architects Charge Fees?
If you’re planning an extension or new house, one of the things you’ll think about is architects fees. You might have some questions, such as whether you will need an architect right the way through your project, and what their fee includes. Most architects split their fees down in to the 6 main stages of a project. This helps you get a clear picture of what you are getting for each bit of the fee. It also means that you can see clearly what you have to pay to get to each stage of the project, which is helpful if you do not go through all of the stages.
If you have fee proposal from an architect that is hard to understand, ask them to split it in to these 6 stages based on the RIBA Plan of Work; and to explain exactly what you will get at each stage.
- Design Brief
- Concept Design
- Planning Design
- Technical Design
Fee Breakdown by Stage
The following bars show a typical breakdown of architects fees by project stage. For most simple extension projects the 6 stages can be simplified in to 3. Planning (Stages 1-3), Building Regulations (Stage 4) and Construction (Stages 5-6).
To get up to Planning (Stage 3) is usually around 25% of the overall fee. Building Regulations (Stage 4) tends to be around 35% with the final 40% for Construction (Stages 5-6).
How Much Are Architects Fees?
Architects fees will depend on the work involved in the project. Some practices are more expensive than others, and there is no universal fee level. But as an approximate rule of thumb it might be useful to expect total architects fees to be around 8 – 15 % of the overall cost of the project.
Architects fees depend on the complexity and scope of work involved in a project. So try to be as clear as possible in agreeing your brief for the project, and this will help to keep the fee to a minimum.
So based on an overall average fee of 12% and a project value of £100,000 you could expect architects fees to be approximately £3,000 for Planning, £4,200 for Building Regulations and £4,800 for Construction.
How Are Architects Fees Calculated?
All architects must calculate the fees to charge on the project, and send this to their client as a written fee proposal. This will take in to account any unique features or requirements of the project, so there is no standard fee. You might find that architects fees are expressed as a percentage, a fixed cost, or time charges. Each method of calculating fees has it’s own advantages and disadvantages. However it is most usual for architects fees for an extension or house to be given as fixed costs or percentages.
Fees for each stage can be set as a percentage of the construction cost. This can be useful when the scale of the work is still unknown; as the fees can go up and down with the amount of work involved
Fees can be fixed at set amounts for each stage of the project. This is great as you will know exactly what you will need to pay and when; but may not be possible if the scope of the project is not yet clear.
Fees that are charged on a time basis are calculated from records of time spent on the project, and the architect’s agreed hourly rate. This can be combined with a cap on the overall amount at an agreed level.
Many clients value the reassurance of Fixed Fees during the design stages; combined with Percentage Fees during the construction stages so that the fee always accurately reflects the work involved. This often gives the best possible value for money.
Value of Professional Architects Fees
All architects in the UK are required to be registered with the ARB, have trained for a minimum of 7 years and achieved high standards of design, technical ability and professionalism. Although the title of architect is protected by law, the function is not. But when comparing architects fees with those of a technician or designer it is useful to remember that only a professional architect will bring all of the skills and benefits listed below.
- Professional indemnity insurance
- Registered and regulated by the ARB
- Professionally qualified in architecture
- Planning and technical design knowledge
- Trained to administer construction contracts
- Annually assessed continual professional development
In addition to the above, some architects such as 2PM are an RIBA Chartered Practice meaning that they achieve the gold standard in professionalism, design and quality assurance.
How To Agree Architects Fees
So with the information presented above you should just be able to follow these keys steps to agree architects fees that will give you good value and an excellent service.
- Be as clear as you can about your brief
- Get architects to submit fee proposals based on the 6 RIBA stages of work
- Make sure that you are comparing similar standards of architects fee proposals
- Expect the total fee to be in the region of 8-15 % depending on the complexity of your project
- Consider agreeing fixed fees for the first few stages, with percentage fees for the construction stages for best value