How much will you pay?
The fee for using an architect will reflect the degree of personal service, and bespoke design that a project involves. Other factors include the size, type and location of your project and the size, type and location of the architect's practice.
Our fee arrangements also depend on how much information is available about your project at the time, and whether you select all or part of an architect's service. You can choose to have just an initial design discussion or hire us to oversee the completion of a project on site. There are various ways in which it works:
1. Percentage of the Build Cost
The traditional way to pay is as a percentage of the total construction cost. So if you want us to work with you on a project from start to finish you can expect to pay between 8% and 16% of the project construction cost, whereas employing us only up to obtaining planning permission is about 40% of this service. If you have a specific budget in mind then effectively the actual fee is known from the start. A fee calculation will be given to you showing the fees for these construction costs.
2. Time Charges
You can employ us for just a short initial consultation - typically of 4 hours in which we will give you a one-off consultation which can be really worthwhile.
This short sharp session can be a very valuable as, for a couple of hours you will get a tremendous amount of information. The added value of this can be significant and can be worth thousands of pounds. For example George Clarke, architect and presenter of The Home Show on Channel 4 says about this approach 'For a couple of hours you'll get enormous amounts of knowledge, and that can add a huge impact to your job. That's worth thousands of pounds, and it's like gold dust.'
3. Lump Sum
In this case, the fee is fixed for an agreed package of work. Any additions to the package can either be negotiated between the architect and client, or if the additional work needed is hard to assess, by applying an agreed time charge.
4. Pay-As-You-Go Basis
This is really a time charge idea and is not a new concept for fee charges. So here we allow homeowners to pick and choose only those services that they require as you will involve us in as much or as little as you like, it's easier to control those first costs and assess the value of later employing an architect for the entire project. All the fees are known from the start. You pay the cost of an initial visit followed by an hourly rate for subsequent activity or you can switch to a full service which will probably end up being more cost beneficial.
When do you need to pay?
Your architect should provide a proposed schedule of payments at the outset. This schedule will help you plan for the financial requirements of the budget. Invoices are usually monthly, but regular payments can be budgeted over a period. Alternatively, fees might be paid on completion of each work stage.
Does an architect need to be local to you?
'There's nothing to stop you hiring an architect from Wales if you live in the south,' says Julian Owen, a Nottingham-based architect and author of Home Extension Design. 'It would usually have to be a big project with a generous fee for an architect to travel.' Of course what is the most important issue is what the architect can bring to your project. How do you get on with that architect? If you intend arranging the construction aspects yourself then it makes even more sense to potentially use an architect from outside.