How much does an architect cost?

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Want to find out more about the average cost of an architect in the UK? The cost of an architect in the UK is around 10% of the overall project. Our detailed guide runs through everything you need to know about architect costs. Please note all architect costs are estimates that are accurate as of 2024.

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A good architect is key to the success of your building project. Whether you’re looking to add an extension to your home or want to build a new house from the ground up, the role of an architect is crucial to realising your ambitions.

We'll cover the following topics in this pricing guide:
  1. Average architect costs
  2. Average architect cost for new house
  3. Average architect cost for an extension
  4. Detailed common architect costs
  5. How long does an architect take on a project?
  6. How to reduce architect costs
  7. FAQ
  8. Your architect checklist
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Average architect costs

You might be looking to add an extension to your family home, offering a space for new memories to be made or to add value to your property. Alternatively, your ambitions may be even greater; perhaps a full house build, from conceptualisation to completion, is on your agenda. Either way, you’ll have to factor in the cost of an architect.

For starters, the table below offers a brief overview of what you might reasonably expect to pay an architect for your specific project. Unlike some other tradespeople in the building sector, architects rarely charge by the hour. Instead, you are more likely to pay for them based on a set fee, or a percentage of your project cost.

Core architect jobsPrice range
Planning application drawings£5,000 to £10,000
Creation of building regulations and tender drawings£7,000 to £12,000
Concept to completion of project8% to 15% of entire project cost
Full house build project8% to 12% of entire project cost
Full extension project10% to 15% of entire project cost

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Some architects come up with a lump sum fee based on the projected scale of the project, which is more common with simple projects where the scope can be assessed early on, while others will bill according to the number of hours they spend working on your project.

However, architect fees are most commonly calculated as a percentage of the overall project cost, so you can take the cost of building a house and simply and simply work out the percentage.

The usual percentage fee an architect will charge ranges from about 8% to around 15%. The difference depends on the complexity of the project, its similarity to existing projects, and whether economies of scale can be factored in.

This second table demonstrates the types of fees you can expect to incur at varying levels of project scope and cost.

Project cost8%10%12%15%
£10,000£800£1,000£1,200£1,500
£25,000£2,000£2,500£3,000£3,750
£50,000£4,000£5,000£6,000£7,500
£75,000£6,000£7,500£9,000£11,250
£150,000£12,000£15,000£18,000£22,500

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Average architect cost for new house

Designing a new house is a transformative process that not only enhances its market value but also profoundly influences its overall aesthetics and functionality. The architect costs for a new house can vary significantly due to the diverse scope of such projects. Whether you're envisioning a contemporary mansion or a cozy family home, architects often determine their fees based on a percentage of the entire project cost.

Contrary to what you may expect, fees are generally lower for new builds than for extension projects, since extensions are more complex as they must interact with an existing building structure.

The usual percentage fee an architect will charge for a new house ranges from about 8% to around 12%.
 Total project value8% Fee10% Fee12% Fee
£200,000£16,000£20,000£24,000
£250,000£20,000£25,000£30,000

For instance, if the average cost of constructing a new house is £250,000 and an architect charges 8% of the project cost, their fee would amount to £20,000. The size, complexity, and features of the new house contribute to the wide range in architect costs, making it essential to consider the specific requirements of your dream home when budgeting for professional design services.

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Average architect cost for an extension

An extension can really change the dynamic of your property. Adding more floorspace or extending the attic can serve to increase the value of your property, but these changes will also make a real difference to its look and feel.

Extensions come in all shapes and sizes. You may be extending your kitchen or building a two-storey extension to really expand your home. With this in mind, the range between architect costs for an extension is significant.

Many architects will charge you a percentage of the entire project cost for their fee. So, if the average cost of a basic 20m2 extension is £48,000, and an architect charges you 12% of the project cost, then their fee will be £5,760. The average cost of a medium extension is around £72,000, so with the same 12% fee, you would be paying £8,640 for an architect’s work on the project.

Detailed common architect costs

How much do planning drawings cost?

To kick off your project, you might need an architect to create planning application drawings. Whether you need them or not will depend on whether your work falls under ‘permitted development’. If it does not, your project will be subject to planning permission. As part of their fee, an architect can also submit your planning application for you.

Planning drawings are required by your local planning authority (LPA) as part of the application process. The LPA will review these drawings to understand your application, and they will make amendments if necessary. If your application is ultimately successful, and you are granted planning permission, you’ll be able to proceed with your project. For this reason, getting the right architect to complete your planning drawings is very important.

The cost of planning drawings will depend on the type of project you’re embarking on. To build an extension, for example, the cost of an architect may be around £5,000; for a small-scale conversion, the price may rise to £7,000. And for a new build scheme, you can expect the fee to be upwards of £10,000. However, an architect may charge a percentage of the full project cost, so you’ll need to calculate this to estimate how much an architect is likely to charge you.

Cost of Building Regulations

While planning permission rests on factors like the appearance, location and use of your build, approval for Building Regulations concerns its safety, accessibility and efficiency. You may need both planning permission and Building Regulations approval, depending on the scope of your project, but the latter is required on most building work.

Architect fees for Building Regulations submissions, and supplementary tender drawings, can cost from around £7,000 for smaller extensions, to £12,000 for small new property schemes. Small conversion projects may require an architect fee of around £9,000. Like planning application drawings, architects may charge a percentage of the project rather than requesting a set fee.

Cost for a garage conversion

Converting your garage is a practical way to create more space in your home. It can serve as an extra living space or bedroom, and even a part-conversion can maintain some storage space while adding square footage to your house. In the UK, the average cost of a garage conversion, based on a size of 15m2, is £14,250. Consider an architect’s project fee is 10%, and you’ll be paying £1,425.

If you’re looking to build a new garage altogether, the cost can be anywhere between £4,000 and £20,000. An architect fee will likely be 10% to 15% of the full project cost.

Cost of a planning application

If your building project requires planning permission, you’ll need to submit your application to your local planning authority. In England, the submission fee is £462 per dwelling house, while an application for an extension to a single dwelling house or flat is £206. In Wales, the fee for submission is £460 per dwelling house, while in Scotland it’s £600.

These fees may come as part of a charge from your architect, who you can pay to complete the planning application drawings required for your application submission. These can cost anywhere between £5,000 and £10,000 on average.

How long does an architect take on a project?

The drawing up of plans for a planning application and Building Regulations approval can take around one week. However, there may then be a wait of around six to eight weeks for the LPA to review your application.

If your architect is overseeing a project from conceptualisation to completion, then they’re more likely to be involved for several months. The length of time of your project, and therefore the cost of your architect, will naturally depend on the scope.

How to reduce architect costs

The specialist nature of their profession means architects can be costly. If you’re on a budget, there are some ways that you can reduce the fees while still realising your dream build.

1. Do your research on costs

Rather than opting for the first architect you see, do your research and find the right one for you. This isn’t exclusively to fit with your budget, either. It’s important to work with someone who understands your project and what you’re trying to achieve.

2. Use your architect sparingly

You may want your architect to oversee your project from start to finish. But to reduce the fee you pay, you can instead pay them only for the planning drawings. This way, you can submit your planning application yourself, and employ a trusted builder to complete the project.

3. Opt for an architectural designer

Depending on scale and complexity, your project may not require the expertise of an architect. Instead, you can use an architectural designer with experience on smaller projects, as they tend to be cheaper. You can find an architectural designer near you through MyBuilder today.

4. Assess your long-term plans

One important thing to note with building, and extension fees in particular, is that the more rooms you are building, the lower the cost of extra space per m2. With this in mind, you may want to complete an entire project in one go, rather than first building a one-storey extension with a view to adding a second storey in the future.

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FAQ

How much does an architect cost?

The nature of architect fees means that you’re unlikely to be paying a set fee for their work across a full project. Instead, an architect may charge you a percentage of the project cost. Generally, this will be in the range of 8% to 15%, depending on the scope of your build. A larger and more expensive project, like a full new build, may ultimately see a lower percentage fee than a smaller scale project like a single-storey extension.

Is an architect worth hiring?

The work of an architect can be crucial to the success of your project from the outset. If your build requires planning permission or Building Regulations approval, you’ll be relying on the planning drawings of your architect for your project to go ahead. Similarly, the execution of the project will be based on the expertise of your architect, whether they are overseeing it from conceptualisation to completion or another tradesperson is realising their drawings.

How long does an architect take?

It can take anywhere between several days and a couple of weeks for an architect to finalise the drawings for your project. Their delivery time will depend on the scope of your project and their own workload. But the architect’s work is just one of numerous factors that will impact timings. Others include the time it will take for your local authority to review your application if you need planning permission, and the build itself, which can take months.

Your architect checklist

Still not fully confident about finding an architect for your extension or new build? Finding the right person is key to its success, and the successful completion of your project. Here are five things to check off before you confirm the right architect for you.

Find an architect who understands your project

There are plenty of architects out there, but it’s important that yours has a grasp of your project and your budget. While an architect that goes above and beyond can be great, you don’t want them to be impulsive, making decisions that will send you over budget or deliver a build that’s unsatisfactory.

Make sure your architect is registered with the Architects Registration Board (ARB)

It’s crucial that your architect is officially registered with the ARB. If they’re not, they could be operating unregulated. Ultimately, if an architect isn’t registered with the ARB, then they are not officially an architect.

Get a at least two quotes

Like any job related to construction, it can be helpful to shop around and gather several quotes to compare. Cost shouldn’t be the only consideration when choosing an architect, but if you’re on a budget then a comparison will ensure you don’t overpay.

Check out their reviews and portfolio

Whether you search an architect’s online profile at MyBuilder or gather information via word of mouth, having a more rounded view of their experience will give you a good idea of whether they are right for your project.

Establish whether you need an architect

Depending on the scope of your project, you could opt for an architectural designer over an architect. If your project is smaller in scale, an architectural designer with the right experience may help to reduce your project spend.

You can find a huge range of verified tradespeople simply and quickly on MyBuilder. Just post your job for free and read the reviews of the tradespeople that get in touch, so that you get the right person for your project.