FAQ - Fees
The following commentary is an overview and should always be adjusted to suit the specifics of your project
Q: Do you give free advice?
We are able to give limited advice over the phone to help get you started. Some service providers offer to meet for free, but we usually raise a modest charge to cover the professional time spent on the initial consultation meeting at your home. This can vary according to the circumstances of the enquiry, so you are very welcome to call to discuss your project beforehand.
The first meeting can often help establish the viability of your project and explore potential options, but the extent of the advice is usually limited as many of the finer details will not yet be established and will vary considerably with the nature and complexity of the work. The initial meeting is a useful 'getting to know you' session for both parties to see how you might approach the project together.
As our appointments and workload are increasingly made through recommendation, it has become difficult to offer unpaid professional advice on speculative enquiries that are unlikely to progress to an appointment. This would apply where there is already an incumbent architect and a comparative quote is sought, or perhaps a homeowner looking for advice when selling their home or to explore the options before purchasing a prospective property whilst house-hunting. In such cases, a 'one-off' charge to cover the cost of the initial meeting (or an hourly time charge consultancy basis if more involved) is appropriate. This is without obligation to continue, but will then be deducted from subsequent fees should the project progress to an appointment.
If you are given free professional input and decide not to proceed any further, we would always encourage you to make a charitable donation in lieu of the free professional time that you have enjoyed.
Q: What are the likely architectural fees?
Professional architectural fees are negotiable and no longer relate to fee scales, so you are entitled to shop around to compare, but fees can vary considerably according to the nature of the work.
When comparing fees, bear in mind that the services offered by a qualified registered Professional Architect can differ considerably to drawings draughted by technicians or 'architectural consultants' as the latter may not hold any professional qualification, accreditation or Professional Indemnity Insurance. The skill set is different, and an architect can bring added value of involving the client more deeply in the design process.
Survey drawings or Planning submissions might be a simple lump sum, whereas overseeing a project to completion is more likely to be linked as a percentage of the final cost of the project. Such percentages can very greatly (typically between 4 and 8 percent of the overall project cost for conventional new build, even up to 14 percent for complex or specialist work).
Professional fees are under constant pressure to remain competitive whilst meeting the demands of an increasingly onerous legislative and professional environment. The addition of new Health and Safety duties, ever improving technical demands of the Building Regulations, and professional membership overheads mean that fees inevitably need to rise periodically to address each of these new requirements.
Our fees will vary according to the project, but a standard domestic planning application as a guide may start at around £1300 to reach Planning stage.
Q: What isn't included in an architectural fee?
Disbursements /expenses incurred and substantial re-design work are normally additional, based on agreed criteria beforehand such as mileage rates, printing costs and hourly rates respectively.
There would normally be a sign-off meeting with your Architect to agree a 'final' layout before proceeding to Planning, and any major redesign or late changes after that point will often require additional fees as the original fee will already have been exhausted. This might take the form of an additional lump sum based on the expected hours needed.
Some important additional costs include fees to accompany the Planning Application and Building Control submission, fees for other consultants (such as a Structural Engineer, Energy Performance Assessor, Party Wall Surveyor, Solicitor etc) fees to Statutory Authorities ( e.g. for a 'Sewer Trace' and 'Build over Sewer Agreement') or the cost of a more detailed topographical or ecological survey will be directly payable by you to those bodies concerned and are not included.
Community Infrastructure Levys (CIL) are increasingly being introduced by Local Planning Authorities with a valid Local Development Plan in place. This gives them local powers to set their own extra CIL charges that can be raised on top of Planning fees for certain developments. Depending on the area, an extension greater than 100 square metres for example may incur an additional CIL charge of between £25 to £40 per square metre.
Q: Do you include structural engineering for any alterations?
No, a Structural Engineer would need to be appointed separately to make a proper assessment of the design and prepare necessary calculations for submission to Building Control, but your Architect can suggest suitable practitioners.
Q: Are my consumer rights protected?
Yes, they are required to be protected by law, especially when they relate to home improvements. Agreements for undertaking professional Architectural services must comply with consumer protection legislation and the RIBA have published suitable guidance that meets the required standards. This includes cancellation rights.
Q: Do I need to pay VAT for Architectural Services?
No, not for smaller companies such as ourselves that fall below the current threshold for VAT. However, larger companies will exceed the threshold and will charge for VAT.