Guide to Architect Fees, Costs and Prices

At some point in home renovations or home building you may need the services of an architect. When you hire an architect, you know that all building regulations and permits will be complied with and the finished project will look great. Architects fees can be worked out in three different ways, a percentage of final project cost, set fee and an hourly rate.

Hiring an architectArchitect fees guide

There are no standard architect prices as all businesses will charge you a different sum of money but there are three standard ways the architects’ fees can be calculated. Many architectural companies will offer you a free one hour initial consultation before you hire them for a project. RIBA architects fees guide gives all architects in the UK a general idea on fees to charge clients.

  1. Percentage of the project costs-according to Royal Institute of British Architects, RIBA, a percentage between 8 and 12% is charged for the architect fees. If you only need the architect at the beginning of the project up until planning permission is granted the fee may be between 3 and 5%

  2. Fixed fee or lump sum-for many straightforward projects the architects’ fees may be a lump sum that covers all work carried out. You may need to work out a variance for any mishaps that may occur during the work.

  3. Hourly rate-this is a good way to engage an architect for one job such as drawing up a house plan, carrying out a survey or helping with a planning application. The average hourly rate according to RIBA is £52 for an individual architect and up to £90 for other services from the architect’s firm. The RIBA fees for hourly rates are usually capped at so many hours depending on the project. For example you may be charged £52 an hour to a maximum of 40 hours for a certain project.

  4. Note that a building surveyors cost can be added to the architects fees if necessary

Cost of hiring an architect

An architect’s fees will vary depending on several factors:

  • Location – it will be more expensive to hire an architect in London and other major cities over a smaller rural town.
  • Project size – the scale of your project will determine the final fees. A large project from start for finish will cost more than a simple drawing up of house plans.
  • Type of architect hired – hiring a small independent architect for your project will be less expensive than using a large firm of architects.

Some examples of architects’ fees guide for real completed projects from Capital A Architecture UK:

  • Planning application for a garden room in Edinburgh-£800
  • Fees for the renovation of a kitchen in a Victorian house Edinburgh-£3600
  • Modernizing an existing house extension Edinburgh-£8700
  • New house build in Kingsbarns, Fife-£16,250

When hiring an architect you should also check…

  • Make sure they are registered with the Architects Registration Board
  • They have Public Indemnity Insurance
  • Good references
  • A comprehensive contract covering all costs is drawn up (Check out our checklist to hire an architect here)

Catherine Read says:

An architect is obliged to carry PPI, Professional Indemnity Insurance (not public). This covers the professional service so that should there be a problem with the design (mistakes and/or omissions) and the Client chooses to pursue a claim for negligence it will help cover the costs of damages. A Chartered Architectural Technologist must also carry this insurance.

simon wakefield says:

Hello. I have just received the final invoice from the architect for work carried out based upon the Quantity Surveyor’s total build cost estimate (inclusive of VAT). The architect is charging a reasonable 7% fee, but this is based on this gross estimate figure, so in effect, I am paying 7% on top of the VAT element already charged. Is this normal practise as it seems unfair?

mjackson says:

Hi Simon,

Thanks for your post.

We have very limited knowledge on this subject therefore recommend speaking to the architect in order to ask that they explain their charges in more detail, should you have concerns.

You can also contact the Architects registration board (ARB) who may be able to help you figure the charges out.

We hope this helps.


Brian says:

Architects fees are based on build cost less Vat , as it would be unfair as you say! Also, new build is vat free as are charity buildings e.g. Churches, and some projects attract reduced VAT rates, some builders are VAT registered and some are not, hence an ex VAT build cost is more consistent.

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