There are no standard architect’s fees in the UK. Practices produce their own fee charts depending on the size, type and quality of the project that a client requires.
Architects charge fees in three ways, and may use a combination across a project’s life cycle:
Percentage fee: gives an indication of fees whilst allowing for flexibility if the project scope changes. It is based on the construction cost (excluding VAT and professional fees), and refined during the design process. This provides a way of adjusting fees without having to renegotiate.
Fixed fee: best for a clearly defined piece of work.
Time-charge fee: (per hour or per day) for an undefined piece of work. Works well for the start of a project when the scope hasn’t been clearly established, but offers the least fee-certainty for the client.
Archmongers typically charges a percentage fee for a full service based on RIBA work stages 1-6, which outlines all stages in the planning, design and building process, from conception to completion on site. A schedule of services will be provided along with the fee proposal, detailing the items of work included, and any exclusions. If a client requires additional services after appointment, these can be time-charged or a separate fixed-fee agreed.
Additional points to consider
For larger projects with higher build costs, the percentage upon which the fee is based will be lower. This is due to the economies of scale in larger projects.
Complex or resource-intensive projects such as listed buildings, residential extensions or basement conversions may incur higher percentage fees than straightforward projects, such as a new build house on a vacant site.
VAT is chargeable in addition to architects fees. VAT is not payable on the construction cost of a new house, although VAT is still payable on architects fees.
Other professional fees will likely also be incurred. Most projects will require a measured survey, structural engineer, party wall surveyor, and any associated statutory fees, namely planning permission, and building control.
A project’s cost is determined by its complexity, geography, size and sector. However, Archmongers’ fees for a typical residential project are:
£200,000-£300,000 - 15%
£300,001-£400,000 - 14%
£400,001-£500,000 - 13%
£500,001-£600,000 - 12%
£600,001-£1m - 11%
1m+ - negotiated on a project by project basis
Archmongers does not charge additional percentage fees for ancillary services such as detailed joinery design, external landscape design, or interior design, unlike most architectural practices.
Investing in good design can add a significant amount of value to a project. This is often reflected in the increased value of the property, or simply the value gained from the client’s enjoyment of the design. A 2018 report commissioned by The Modern House confirmed in quantitative terms the premium for design-led properties.
A good architect usually adds significantly more value than the fee that they charge. It is also worth noting that as a proportion of the overall costs of a project architects’ fees are relatively small. This is particularly true if the whole lifecycle cost of the building is taken into account.
It may be best to select an architect based on the quality of their previous work, recommendations, and their ability to design sustainable, enduring buildings.