16 Feb 210216 – Architect’s Fees
An architect can add a significant amount of value to a project, potentially much more than the fee that they charge. This might be reflected in the increased value of the property, or simply in the value placed in a client’s enjoyment of the design. 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, therefore, be best to select an architect based on their ability to create an objectively elegant and beautiful, cost effective, energy efficient and low maintenance building. To paraphrase Vitruvius, a Roman architect-engineer from 2000 years ago, a building that is constructed well, functions well and is aesthetically pleasing.
How much do architects charge?
Architects fees (charged monthly on a percentage, lump sum or hourly charge basis) depend on the size, type and quality of the project that a client requires. Practices produce their own fee charts based on their operating costs amongst other factors. For residential projects, architects typically charge between 11% and 14% of the construction cost; approx. 7%-8% on higher value complex commercial projects; and 5%-6% for simpler warehousing and industrial projects. As I use the latest software I am currently charging at the lower end of the range suggested around the World for architects fees as the BIM software I use allows me to be more efficient and productive.
Nearly all countries in the ‘Western’ World have a requirement that buildings, above a small minimum size, have an architect design-team leader. But not in the UK for some inexplicable reason.
What percentage do architects charge for a listed building?
These projects are more resource-intensive due to the complexity of working with listed buildings the architects fee may be around 2%-3% more.
The cost of an architect should be considered in conjunction with the value that the particular practice is able to add to a project.
Percentage fees are usually divided into monthly payments during each work-stage.
Ultimately, as a professional service, an architect is billing for their time.
A construction project is a long and sometimes stressful process, so it pays to select an architect that you feel comfortable with on a personal level and you are happy to spend a considerable amount of time with.
Those offering ‘architectural services’ who are not qualified as architects can and do charge less because they are not architects, or equal/equivalent to either. But then they are unlikely to add as much value to the project either.