How Much Does an Architect Cost?
The cost of hiring an architect for your building project can depend on a number of factors, such as the scale and nature of the work you are looking to have carried out. Find out more about architectural services and how architects’ fees are calculated.
Why Hire an Architect?
Although an architect may initially seem like a significant outlay in regard to your budget, in most cases hiring an architect will save you money in the long run, as well as making the project run much more smoothly and saving you time. Buildings which have been designed by an architect offer numerous advantageous and offer a higher standard of living and design quality than those simply left to builders and other tradesmen. A quality design also means that in the long term, you won’t have to spend as much on maintenance or future upkeep or renovations later on. Architects can also design buildings that prioritise energy efficiency, even using innovative techniques to create a property offers excellent thermal performance and near zero energy consumption. Investing in an energy-efficient design for your building project means you will save money on your energy and heating bills over the years, offering substantial savings over time. Finally, an architect will be expert in optimising your project - that is to say making sure that the space you have available to work with is used in the best way possible. This way, you will get the best value for money from your investment, and you will have a space which has been expertly designed from start to finish, offering improved quality of life.
The Cost of an Architect’s Services
How much can you expect to pay in architect fees? The cost of an architect’s services depends on a number of factors. The first thing to take into account is your geographical location. If your property is located in London, a London architect’s fees will naturally be higher, but this will be the case with the costs of all aspects of your project and not just the services of the architect themselves. It is worth bearing in mind that even though an architect may cost more money in London, any extension or renovation work you have carried out to your property is also more likely to have a dramatic impact on your property value, especially if it’s a quality, well-considered home improvement project carried out by an architect. This can mean that the money you invest in an architect can be well worth it if you end up selling the property later on. As you move further out of the city and further away from the south-east of England, the price of an architect’s services will generally begin to come down, and will often be lowest in northern England, Wales and Scotland. If you live far into the countryside, you may find that the cost of an architect increases as well. The reason for this is that an architect may be forced to come out from a nearby city to work on your project, and they will be required to factor their travel costs into their overall quotation. In addition, they may also be the only architect that works in the area, and their fees may be influenced by their availability as well.
The scale of the work will also have an impact on how much the architect's fees will cost. Naturally, the larger the project, the more work will be involved and the more the architect will charge you. However, there is often an economy of scale for major projects. Contrary to what you might think, the services of an architect may be less for for a new-build property than for an extension or renovation project to an existing building. This is because designing a new build from scratch can actually be faster than carrying out all the calculations relating to the integrity of an existing structure involved in extending or refurbishing the property. If the building is listed or involves other special circumstances, this will also create additional challenges and constraints for the architect and thus impact their fees. If your project requires planning permission, this may be another area where it’s worthwhile enlisting the help of your architect, in addition to just creating drawings. Architects are often highly experienced in liaising with local authorities and navigating the planning permission process, even for complex situations. If you are asking the architect to work in a more specialised domain, for example the construction of a restaurant or healthcare facility, they may find themselves having to consult with someone in their professional network to carry out the project, which will also be a factor in the price.
How Do Architects Calculate Their Fees?
There are three ways in which an architect will normally bill you. For many projects, the most common way they will quote their fees will be based off a percentage of the overall budget for the project. In Ireland, this percentage most often falls between 5% and 15% of build costs, and can average somewhere around 10% depending on various factors. The percentage will generally be lower for new build projects, while average fee percentages for smaller projects such as home extensions and alterations will generally be higher. One reason architects use this method is to cover themselves in the event that the project turns out to be more complicated than anticipated and ends up requiring more of their time than they had initially planned for.
However, for simple home renovation or extension projects, an architect may also decide that it is better to be paid in a lump-sum. Architects are more likely to quote a flat rate when they are confident of how long the project will take and the amount of work involved before they get started, which they will use their experience to evaluate. They may also charge a flat amount if you are only looking for a specific service rather than assistance with the full project, such as if you’re simply in need of planning permission drawings for a small project such as an extension. If your budget does not permit paying their full fee at once, it may be possible for you to negotiate with the architect in order to pay in instalments. Some architects also charge their fees in stage payments, where certain amounts are due upon different phases of the project.
Finally, architects may also charge you an hourly rate in some cases, such as to offer consultancy services or assessments. They may also quote you using more than one method to calculate their fees. This is a kind of hybrid between the two previous methods, meaning that if the project takes as long as the architect thinks it will, then they can accurately estimate their income, but they are also covered in the event that it does not.