How Much Do Architects Charge?

Architect fees in the UK vary depending on the type and scale of the building project. There are no official guidelines or standards relating to how much an architect can charge. Thus, like most other factors relating to a building project, you need to shop around and get the deal.

architect fees

How Much Does an Architect Cost?

There are many factors that affect architect costs and fees and include:

  • The extent of the architect services – see the section below
  • The size of the project
  • The complexity of the project and any specific project requirements
  • The extent of work needed to an existing building
  • Whether the building is listed or in a conservation area
  • Degree of design repetition with a truly bespoke architectural design costing far more than a ‘standard’ design
  • The type of practice – typical architect fees tend to be lower with smaller practices
  • The experience and expertise of the architectural practice

The Extent of Architect Services

The most significant factor that affects architect fees are the extent of their services.
When preparing a cost proposal for your project, most architectural practices will split the overall fee into smaller sections or stages of the build.
This will help you plan your budget over the course of the build but you need to be aware that not all stages are equal.
As a rough guide, most architects apportion the following breakdown to difference sections of a building project:

  • Concept 20%
  • Design development 20%
  • Technical design 15%
  • Tender documentation 25%
  • Construction to hand over 20%

Other architects use a simpler breakdown:

  1. Outline design 35%
  2. Detailed design for tender 35%
  3. Construction phase 30%

The first two sections are when your architect will earn their money in the sense that this is the process of designing and creating the finish product you want. An architect can also be instrumental in persuading local planning departments that modern building can sit within certain areas or that everything that can be done to maintain the integrity of a listed building is being done.

Calculating Architect Fees

For most domestic projects, architects will calculate their fee as a lump sum. Anything outside of this sum will be charged at a pre-determined an architect hourly rate, which can be £80 per hour or more, for a principal partner in the firm working on a project.
It may also be that the practice will apply what is known as an architect daily rate, which can be £200 to £300, depending on the level of experience and the work needed.
As a general architect fees guide, you can expect to pay between five to 15% on the value of your project. For example:

Value of Building Project Estimated % Paid in Architect Fees
£25,000 10.7%
£50,000 9.9%
£75,000 9.5%
£150,000 8.7%
£500,000 7.3%
£1 million + 6.5%

Tips to Hiring an Architect

Hiring a professional such as an architect can seem like a daunting prospect, especially when you consider your choice of professional has your dream build or renovation project in their hands.
Clearly, you want the best service for a reasonable fee. It means knowing your project and what you want, and being to effectively communicate this with your chosen architect.
The more detail and better brief you give them to work with initially, the more successful design plans should be:

    • Have you told them of any specific requirements or certain construction techniques you want to use (or not)?
    • Have you seen examples of their previous work?
    • Do you get along with your architect? This is not to underestimated as the success of your building project rests on this!