Guide to Architect Fees, Costs and Prices
You may need to hire an architect for all kinds of reasons; perhaps you’re building an entirely new property; carrying out an extension or conversion; or maybe you’re planning a commercial construction project. Whatever the reason, hiring a qualified architect should guarantee that your project meets all the necessary legal and building regulations. A qualified, experienced architect will also ensure that the finished building looks great and functions as efficiently as possible. But how much will hiring an architect set you back?
Architect fees guide
While there’s no standard architect payment method, there are three main ways in which architects will charge for their services:
Time charged – this is a good method to use if you only need a certain service such as an initial consultation, a survey or help with a planning application. Time charged architect costs will vary but average at around £50 per hour, according to Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Architects using this method will probably keep time records and it’s a good idea to set an upper limit for fees in these instances.
Lump sum – architects may charge a lump fee depending on the scope of the work; this works well if it’s a straightforward project. However, you may need to agree that this amount may change due to unforeseen circumstances.
Percentage of the construction cost – traditionally, this was the way architect fees were worked out; as a certain percentage of the final construction cost. With this method architects usually charge between 8 and 12% of the project cost, says RIBA.
Architect costs will also vary according to:
- Location – architect costs will vary depending on where you live; for example it’ll cost more to hire an architect in London than it would to hire an architect in Manchester
- Size – the size and scale of your project will also affect the cost of your final architect fees
- Type of architect – hiring a small independent architect may cost less than hiring a member of a large architectural firm; so shop around and take this into consideration before you hire an architect
When hiring an architect you should also check…
- That they are registered with the Architects Registration Board – this is a legal requirement in the UK
- That they have valid Public Indemnity insurance so that you’re covered if anything goes wrong
- That they have good references and a strong portfolio
- That they draw up a comprehensive contract or ‘brief’ for you both to read and sign before the project begins. This should outline exactly what the project entails, the project cost, architect prices and payment schedule
- Make sure that you build a 15% contingency fund into your project budget to cover delays and changes of plan