What do you need to know about an architect’s fees?



All professional fees are negotiated. For each project we derive fees from an estimate of time and the resources needed to provide the extent of service necessary to achieve successful outcomes. It is important that this assessment happens as early as possible to make sure that everybody is clear about your needs.

The basis of the fee can vary, depending on the type and complexity of the project. The fee may be worked out as a percentage of the building cost, on an hourly basis, or simply as an agreed fixed sum. Fees for domestic work may range from about 7% and 18% for full services but may be considerably lower for partial services.

This flexibility enables us to settle on a fee that fits your individual circumstances.


Reduced Scope of Services

A well designed building can save you the cost of the architects fees many times over. We are frequently asked to provide ways to reduce our fees and our policy is, depending on the circumstances, to offer reductions in the scope of service in order to reduce our fee. By way of example, you may choose to administer the building contract yourself. In this circumstance, we would tailor your specifications, drawings and contracts to assist you through the process. For clients with the available time and who are unskilled in the mastery of complex construction and contract law, the savings will rarely outweigh the risk.

Reduce re-designs, errors, omissions and corrections

Before you commission an architect for your project, it is obviously important to ensure that you are satisfied that you can work with them. It is therefore very important that a clear brief is derived and agreed to satisfy your requirements. Your architect will formalise the brief in any number of ways depending on the circumstances of the project. To establish a brief for domestic work, we generally offer early advice by way of preliminary sketches, charged for on an hourly basis, to enable a satisfactory working relationship to develop. Once the brief is clear, we may then set our fee using a more definitive method taking account of the work already completed.


The Royal Australian Institute of Architects used to offer advice to architect members on establishing a competitive fee. These fee scales depend on the complexity of each project and are used by architects as a guide to establish a profitable and competitive level of remuneration for services provided.

Typically fees are associated with various stages of the work as follows:

Sketch plans 15% of total fee

Design development 15% of total fee

Contract Documentation 35% of total fee

Tender & Negotiation 5% of total fee

Contract Administration 30% of total fee

Depending on the complexity of the work the total fee may range between 7% and 18% of the cost of the works, may be negotiated as a lump sum figure or may be derived from a time based formula. We understand that flexibility is required to satisfy individual requirements and we therefore consider and establish a fee proposal which best suits your circumstances.