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Architect fees cost guide

Thinking about hiring an architect to bring your new build, extension or renovation project to life?

If you have a design in mind, a skilled architect can help to turn your idea into a detailed technical drawing; complete with calculations, specifications and timescales. It’s well worth instructing a professional for large-scale projects. That said, even small extensions can benefit from an architect’s touch.

Before you start planning ahead, it’s a good idea to understand exactly how much money will be needed for the project. There are various levels of architects and architectural technicians; it is essential that you know who you have had quotes from.

An architect and an architectural technician are very different due to their level of experience and therefore their pricing structure varies significantly. The following costs are to do a planning application (these exclude the planning fees and any other specialist surveys that may be required).

We recognise the importance of keeping within budget, so we’ve spoken to the online estimators at My Build Estimate – a professional estimating company monitored by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Architect fees for a new house

Architect job typeLow rangeHigh range
Single storey extension planning application£1,000£2,500
Double storey extension planning application£2,000£3,500
New build planning application£3,000£5,000
Single storey extension building reg and construction drawings£3,000£5,000
Double storey extension building reg and construction drawings£4,000£6,000
New build building reg and construction drawings£5,000£7,000

The cost of an architect will first and foremost depend on the service you are receiving from them. If you simply want plans for the project drawn up, the cost of the architectural drawing itself may be as low as £1,000. If you require an architect to draw up plans, oversee the application and manage the build, their costs will rise accordingly.

Architect fees are typically calculated in one of three ways: percentage, lump sum or on a time charge basis.

Note: The costs shown in this cost table which mention “building regs” do not include local council’s actual fees, this is because these fees vary from council to council and we recommend you call your local council planning office for guidance.

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By percentage

When it comes to large-scale or complex construction projects, such as the design and build of a new home, architects will charge a percentage of the building cost. In this case, architect fees range between 5% and 12%, depending on the scale and complexity of the project.

For a new build in a vacant plot with a building cost of £150k, we found average architect fees to be £3,000 – £7,500; that’s 2 – 5% of the total building cost.

For architectural drawing and planning for a new home valued at £300k, you might see a 4 – 6% price tag of £12,000 – £18,000.

By themselves, architect plans cost as low as £1,000 for simple single story extension.

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By lump sum

If the nature of the project is simple and straightforward, an architect’s fees may be calculated as a lump sum. This method is commonly used by architects to charge for small extensions or standard renovation projects rather than new houses. Once again, costs will be determined by the exact works, tasks and outputs expected of the architect as agreed by the client with revisions charged in addition to the agreed scope of work.

The average costs of an architectural technician on a lump sum basis to do a planning application (these exclude the planning fees and any other specialist surveys that may be required) are:

  • Single-storey extension – £750 – £1,500
  • Double-storey extension – £1,000 – £2,000
  • New-build house – £2,000 – £3,000

This can range from 1.5 – 3% on a percentage basis.

The average costs of an architect on a lump sum basis:

  • Single-storey extension – £1,000 – £2,500
  • Double-storey extension – £2,000 – £3,500
  • New-build house – £3,000 – £5,000

This can range from 2 – 5% on a percentage basis.

The average costs of an architectural technician on a lump sum basis to produce building regulations drawings/construction drawings are:

  • Single-storey extension – £1,500 – £3,000
  • Double-storey extension – £2,000 – £3,500
  • New-build house – £3,000 – £4,000

This can range between 3 – 5% on a percentage basis.

The average costs on an architect on a lump sum basis:

  • Single-storey extension – £3,000 – £5,000
  • Double-storey extension – £4,000 – £6,000
  • New-build house – £5,000 – £7,500

This can range between 4 – 6% on a percentage basis.

If you’re looking for drawings at a more detailed level to include things such as furniture layouts, flooring types, lighting designs, then the cost can range between 10 -15%.

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By time

Some architects choose to charge on an hourly rate basis, although this is becoming increasingly rare. It is common, however, for an architect to charge by the hour for additional consultancy or amends on an ad-hoc basis.

In the UK, the average hourly rate of an architect ranges between £50 – £100. The main influential factor to pricing is seniority within the practice and the size of the practice.

For example, while the average rate of an architect with less than five years in practice of 3 – 5 people is £55, an architect with the same level of experience in a practice of over 30 staff is £71.

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Architect fees for a house extension

Architect fee for extension

Architect fees for extensions will be calculated in the same manner as new builds. As with most home renovation projects, the exact cost will depend on what you want.

Obviously, architect fees for small extensions, such as the addition of a bay window or the conversion of a garage into a covered walkway, will be cheaper.

However, large or particularly complex extension projects can often see fees charged by a percentage rate even higher than a new build.

For a two-storey extension project at a total cost of £50,000, you can expect an architect to charge a fee of £5,000 which equates to 10% of the finished building cost.

Architect cost calculator

In order to calculate the cost of an architect, you first need to understand what you actually need from them – is it a planning application, or construction drawings? Once you know what you need, it’s also important to discuss how you’ll pay for architect fees – a lump sum, percentage of the project, or an hourly rate.

To plan a budget for architect fees, it’s worth speaking to local architects to get accurate costs in your area for the work you need them to do.

Architect quote

As with hiring any local tradesperson, we always recommend getting quotes from a number of different architects in your area. That way you can ensure that you’re being quoted fair and competitive architect fees for your project. It’s also sensible to ask for a detailed breakdown of costs and time, so you can compare each of the quotes.

Architect hourly rates

The average hourly rate for an architect in the UK will vary both regionally and based on the individual architect. You can expect an architect to charge an hourly rate in the region of £50 to £100 per hour.

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Other costs to consider

Before you draw up a budget for your architectural needs, it’s important to bear in mind the additional costs that will factor into the final sum. These include:

Planning application

You may not need planning permission at all, but if your local authority deems it necessary, this may be a task that your architect takes on as part of their service. Planning applications come at a cost: either your architect will charge you as part of their fee to submit and manage the application or you can choose to pay the fee yourself to your local authority.

Structural engineer

Architect fee - architect drawing

Undertaking a significant home renovation project often calls for the skills of a structural engineer to help assess the viability of the project.

Structural engineers charge between £50 – £90 per hour, depending on their experience, location and whether they work independently or as part of a firm. If you require a building survey, costs will fluctuate between £200 for a small flat to £2,000 for a large house.

Inspection and building control

Before you build, extend or renovate a property, you or your architect must advise the local authority by submitting a Building Notice or Full Plans. If you submit Full Plans for approval, you will need to pay a plan charge to cover the passing or rejection of the plans and an inspection charge to cover the inspection of work to which the plans relate.

Architect fees in the UK

Average architect fees differ by region. It goes without saying that the high demand in London makes for higher fees, with the typical costs of an architect in London and the South East being approximately 10% higher than the UK average.

On the other end of the spectrum, architect costs are about 10% lower in Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and the North of England.

Key takeaways for hiring an architect

  • Hiring an architect can make all the difference to the design and build of your new home or extension of your house.
  • Before you go ahead with a transaction, always make sure all parties involved are in agreement on costs so that the project can remain within budget.
  • Most architects will charge by a percentage of the total cost of the building works. This ranges between 5 – 12% on average.
  • Architect fees for larger, more complex house extensions are usually charged at 10% of the final cost.
  • Architect plans can be purchased by themselves and cost an average of £1,000.

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