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  • Sarah Bland

Calculating Architect Fees

We’ve made quick and convenient guide on how architects fees in the UK are often calculated, to give you a steer on your project budget .

An architect is billing for their time and depending on how extensive the project and services required by the client will depend on how the fee is calculated. Architects fees are relatively small in relation to the lifecycle cost of the building. Therefore, when selecting an architect, the client should take into account the quality of their previous work, any recommendations and how well you get on with them. It is also worth noting that a client can end any agreement at any time of the appointment providing the fees have been paid for the work completed to date.


Fees vary depending on ...


How large your project is will either increase or decrease the cost of construction. A percentage of the construction cost (ex.VAT and professional fees) is therefore often used to estimate the architects fee over the whole project.

Complexity and type

This depends on the complexity of the final building use as set out below on a scale from 1-5, what the procurement route is, the timescale for the project and whether the project will be for a new building or existing building. Generally existing buildings are more complex and so require more time from the architect.

The complexity scale is summarised below, with reference to the former RIBA fee scale:

  • Class 1 - Industrial/Agricultural/Commercial sheds and storage facilities

  • Class 2 - Industrial workshops/warehouses/garages. Agricultural stables. Commercial multi-storey and underground car parking. Community Halls. Residential dormitories.

  • Class 3 - Purpose built industrial warehouse. Commercial supermarkets etc. Community centres and public buildings. Residential estate housing and shelters.

  • Class 4 - Commercial shopping centres and restaurants. Civic centres and museums, etc. Residential apartment blocks and hotels. Recreational leisure centres. Medical health centres and hospitals.

  • Class 5 - High risk commercial premises. Theatres and cinemas. Houses and flats for individual clients. Specialist leisure facilities. Teaching hospitals.

Procurement Route

The procurement route is significant as it affects the scope of services the architect will be required to complete.

Common types of contract

  • Traditional - this contract means your architect is involved throughout the whole project, from design through to construction. In general this provides the most design assurance and is often chosen for more bespoke projects.

  • Design & Build - this contract generally requires a more stripped back scope of service from your architect and often only requires services up to tender. The design element post tender is then transferred to the appointed contractor carrying out the building works.

Extent of services required

Clients can choose how involved they want their architect to be.

Planning Permission Only

  • Planning Application submission

  • Fees up to RIBA Stage 3

  • 30% of a full fee

Plans Only

  • Planning Application, Building Control and Tender

  • fees up to RIBA Stage 4

  • 70% of a full fee

Contract Administration & Site Inspections

  • Plans plus construction, onsite inspection and contractual management

  • Fees up to RIBA Stage 7

  • 100% of a full fee


Types of Fee Proposal

There are 3 types of fee structures commonly used by architects; a percentage of the construction value (ex.VAT and professional fees), a lump sum or fixed fee, or a time charge or hourly rate.

The percentage of the construction value

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