What fees do architects charge?

What fees do architects charge? Architect’s fees can vary considerably depending on the level of service, complexity, location and type of project required. If you are getting competitive quotes you may wish to distinguish between RIBA Chartered Practices and other designers. Anyone can with CAD software offer ‘architectural services’ but only architects can use the name architect and be an RIBA member. Choosing a qualified architect can add considerable value and success to your project. It is a common misconception that architects charge much more than other potentially less qualified designers. Due the competitive nature of the industry, architects can offer surprisingly competitive rates.  Generally, you pay for what you get. Good design takes time and going for the lowest possible quote can be false economy in the overall budget if you are looking for a well designed scheme.

There are no standard architect’s fees in the UK. Historically architects used an RIBA recommended fee scales, but this withdrawn in the 1990’s. For new-build residential projects private clients can expect to pay between 4 and 7% of the estimated construction cost, for a full service. This includes feasibility, planning application, construction drawings, tender specifications and contract administration. The planning stage is generally 30-35% of the overall fee. Therefore, for a small house with a construction cost of say £250,00 for work up to the planning submission you could expect to pay between £3,000 and £6,000. Alteration work, or work to Listed Buildings is more time consuming and thus would attract a higher level of fees. Typically between 30 and 50% more.

Architect’s fee can also be calculated on a time basis with charge out rates between £70 and £120 per hour depending on geographical area and staff qualifications. This compares favourably with other professionals in the construction industry such a structural engineers and party wall surveyors and is therefore offers good value for money. Whatever way the fees are calculated these should work out at similar amounts.

Any architectural practice with an annual turnover above £85K will have to charge VAT on professional fees. Although there is no VAT on the construction costs of a new residential projects clients will still have to pay VAT on all professional fees.

We recommend clients obtain a copy of the ‘A Domestic Client's Guide to Engaging an Architect’ published by the RIBA for addition information on this topic (available from https://www.ribabookshops.com).