Architects

1 April 2022 – 10 Minute Read

How much does an architect cost?

Whether you are planning a new extension or building your dream home, having an architect to help you is a big advantage. A good quality architect will not only help you to design your project, they will also make it easier to get planning permission, find contractors and stay on schedule.

If you are wondering how much an architect will cost, this useful guide has all the information you need to plan the budget for your next project, and will also show you how working with an architect can actually help keep costs down.

From a detailed breakdown of all the different fees to expect to how much an average extension or loft conversion might cost, you can find all the information you need below.

Architect cost guide

As every construction project is unique, your architect may not always charge you in the same way. Most commonly, your architect team will either charge for the number of hours they work or they will ask for a percentage of the total cost of your project. If you are planning a renovation or conversion project, expect to pay a slightly higher percentage than if you are constructing an entirely new building.

You should also keep in mind that architectural services are fairly flexible so you can ask your architect for as much support as you need, which can keep the costs down.

If you need your architect team to oversee your entire project and help find a construction team, you will need to pay a higher fee and will also need to meet with them more often. Instead, if you only want help with drafting blueprints, your architect will probably be able to quote a standard charge and will need meetings with you before work begins.

Keep in mind that it is always best to ask an architect if you feel unsure about part of your project. Having a professional to help will reduce the risk of any problems in the future, and will also allow you to access personalised advice, keeping your project running smoothly.

Standard architect rates

If you are not sure what to expect when you employ an architect, here is some more information on the ways they may charge you for their work so you can choose the best option for your project:

Hourly rates

When you ask an architect to help with just a few key parts of your project, they will charge you an hourly rate.

If you want your architect to check your construction plans or create an artist’s impression of your building design, these tasks will only take a few hours to complete so you will be charged an hourly rate.

Similarly, if you ask for extra consultations with your architect during your project, they will most likely add an hourly charge to your final fee for the extra time.

Generally, you will pay your architect £24 per hour of work but rates can start at just £18 . For example, if you request an extra 2 hour meeting to discuss your project, you could expect to pay £48 for the time.

Upfront fees

If you employ your architect for a fairly straightforward project or service, they may charge you a flat fee which will be based on the average amount of time and materials they spend on that product.

For example, if you ask an architect for help with applying for planning permission, you are fairly likely to be charged a flat fee. This amount will cover site visits, meetings and application writing.

Securing permission for a new building can be slightly more complicated so you can expect to pay more for an architect’s help. Your team will charge around £1,375 to apply for permission for a new house, whereas costs to apply for a 1 story extension start at just £750 .

Keep in mind that when an architect charges a flat fee, they will outline exactly which services are covered by the cost. If you want to employ them for extra help, you may be charged hourly or be asked to pay an additional lump sum.

Project-based rates

If you would like your architect to help with every stage of your project or to provide support for a particularly complicated build, they will most likely charge you based on your project costs.

In this case, your architect will use the total cost of your project to calculate their fee. Generally, they will ask for 8% for new properties but the percentage can be as high as 12% for conversions or extensions. Overall, the higher your total spend, the lower the percentage you will be charged.

For example, if you spend £200,000 on your new home and are charged 8% in architect’s fees, you will pay an additional £16,000. If you spend £40,000 on a conversion, your architect might charge you at a higher rate of 12% so you would pay them £4,800.

It is important to note that architects who are members of professional organisations will not be able to charge you commission so you are less likely to be hit with extra costs. For peace of mind, check that your team are members of the Architects’ Registration Board.

What can affect my architect fees?

Every building plan and project location is unique so your architect fees can vary by a surprising amount.

For example, if you live in London or the South East, you should expect to pay higher rates . The average percentage charged on new build projects in London is closer to 10%, whereas renovations on existing buildings can be as much as 15%.

Not only this, the experience level and parent company of the architect you choose can also boost your fees. As you might expect, a more experienced architect can charge higher hourly rates and larger architectural companies tend to charge more than smaller ones.

If you pay your architect hourly, you may want to decide whether you would prefer to work with 1 person or a team. In general, a team will be able to complete the work quicker, which will keep your hourly costs down so it is worth considering.

You should also keep in mind that renovations to existing buildings will be more complicated than simply constructing a new property, which will take more time and therefore boost your costs if you are paying hourly or in a lump sum.

Rates for different architectural services

If you are trying to decide what level of support you would like from your architect, here are the costs you can expect for each different service:

Planning a project

In general, your total architect plans cost will depend on the type of project you have in mind. A more complicated project will require a longer period of time to draw up, and if you ask for a selection of plans to choose from, this can also boost your overall fee. You should also keep in mind that a basic design plan will cost less than the detailed technical plans your construction team will need.

In general, expect to pay around £3,500 for extension or conversion designs and £5,000 for a new property design. For technical, or ‘tender’ plans, you will pay about £6,000 for extensions and conversions, and £8,000 for a new property.

If you are hiring an architect to support you throughout the entire construction process, the cost of drawing plans will account for around 70% of the total architectural cost.

Applying for planning permission

Many architectural firms will have dedicated staff members on hand who can help you to navigate planning permission applications. The total cost of planning assistance will depend on the amount of support you need, the requirements of your local council and how complicated your project will be.

Generally, planning permission help from your architect will cost £1,375 but prices start at £750 for more straightforward applications.

How much does an architect cost for a new build?

Whilst architects can charge you an hourly or daily rate, for help with an entire new build process, they will usually charge you a percentage of the final project cost.

For example, in the UK it costs £302,812.50 to build a new 3-bedroom home. If your architect were to charge you the average new build rate of 8%, you would pay them £24,225 for help with building designs, applying for planning permission, sourcing contractors and managing the project.

Keep in mind that asking your architect for additional help may cost more so you might want to keep some extra room in your budget, just in case. However, if you only require help with some stages of the project and not all of them, your total architect cost will work out cheaper.

How much does an architect cost for an extension?

In general, the lower the cost of a project, the higher the percentage your architect will charge for their services. Extensions are usually less expensive than new builds so expect your architect cost for a small extension to be around 12% of your total budget.

If you want your architect to help with extension design drawing, applying for planning permission and managing your project, expect to pay around £19,250 for their services.

It is important to remember that extensions can be fairly complicated projects as your architect will have to factor in the requirements of the building you are extending, instead of creating a brand new structure. If you require extra meetings with your architect to resolve any issues, you will need to pay about £24 per hour.

What is the architect cost for a loft conversion?

Your loft conversion architect cost will often be calculated in the same way as an extension cost so expect to pay around 12% for full project management services.

However, not all loft conversions were created equal and some will cost slightly more depending on the style of home you’re renovating, and your final project goals.

For example, roof light conversions are some of the cheaper loft renovation projects as they do not require extensive structural changes, and often do not need planning permission. At the other end of the scale, hip to gable conversions are fairly invasive procedures and require full planning permission due to the effect they have on your roof.

Overall, your loft conversion architect cost will be £10,625 for full project support.

If you are concerned about the cost of your loft conversion, it is always worth asking your architect for advice as they may be able to suggest a different style of renovation that saves you time and money.

How much does a commercial architect cost?

Commercial construction projects tend to be much larger than residential ones so you will often pay your architect a lower percentage of your final project costs.

For smaller projects, expect to pay around 9% but you may be charged as little as 4% for projects worth £50 million or more. Generally, the commercial architect fee in the UK is 6.5% of the full project cost.

If you do require architectural services for a commercial project, it is best to source a team with lots of relevant experience as they will know how to best manage commercial builds, and how to keep costs low.

Overall architectural services costs in the UK

Architectural service Average cost in the UK
Consultation £24 per hour
Technical plans for extensions £6,000
Technical plans for new builds £8,000
Help with planning permission £1,375
Overseeing a new build project 8% of total project cost, or £24,225 for a 3-bedroom new build
Overseeing an extension project 12% of total project cost, or around £19,250
Overseeing a conversion project 12% of total project cost, or around £10,625
Commercial architecture 6.5% of total project cost

3 tips to choosing the right architect

With many excellent architectural teams in the UK, it can be hard to know how to pick the right business for your construction project. If you are feeling uncertain, here are 3 useful tips to narrow down your search:

Ask for different quotes

It is always a good idea to ask a few different architects to quote on your project. It is the best way to make sure you have found a good deal, and it can be useful to get new opinions on your project, too.

Getting several quotes will also help you make sure you are being charged a fair rate for your location so it is certainly worth doing.

Check their experience

Many architects will be able to show you a portfolio of past projects they have worked on, which is one of the easiest ways to check if their design style is right for you.

It is also essential to make sure your architect is fully-qualified and insured to avoid getting caught out as your project progresses.

Most businesses will be happy to tell you more about their past experience so do not hesitate to ask if you need reassurance.

Read past reviews

Choosing an architect with positive reviews will not only put your mind at ease, it will increase the chances of your project running smoothly, too.

As you read reviews, it is important to notice if they mention whether a service was professional, helpful and cost-effective. Some past clients may even post images of their completed projects, which is very useful when you are making a decision.

If you’re searching for good quality architects in your area, you can find a great selection on Yell.com .