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Do i have to pay the architdct before i get the planing approval

Do i pay in full amount to the architect before i get the planing approval from the council

4 Answers from MyBuilder Architectural Designers

Best Answer

There is no rule that states you must pay the architect before planning approval, though it is normal for some, if not all of the fee, to be paid up to the point of the planning submission.

Some clients have unfairly used a Councils refusal as the reason not to pay an architect. An architect cannot guarantee a planning application will be approved, and should always advise a client of this before undertaking a commission.

Payment terms should be made clear to a client from the outset, and clients should understand that there is a considerable amount of work required to prepare a planning application. This includes meeting clients to understand their requirements; surveying the property; designing the proposal; preparing detailed drawings (plans, sections and elevations) for both the existing and proposed conditions; preparation of a Design and Access document; research and consultation with planners; and then submission of the application. This list is for a basic application, though there may be additional coordination requirements with other consultants depending on the complexity and context of a project.

Considering the amount of work involved, it is fair and normal that some amount, if not all of the fee, is paid during the preparation of the planning application process, and this should all be agreed upfront and before the architect accepts the commission.

If an architect is willing to accept no payment is required unless planning is approved (very rare!), he/she does so at their own risk. Nevertheless, they must still always advise the client that they cannot guarantee approval will be obtained.

All good architects will have a 'Terms and Conditions' document, which includes this information and should be given to their client when accepting a commission.


Answered 25th May 2017

You are required to pay the Architect for the plan drawings.
The Architect will then submit for planning approval.
Approvals can sometimes take up to 8 weeks depending on the Local council and their workflow.


Answered 25th May 2017

I agree with ArenaFour.

Most architects do take full payment at submission stage, however it is always best to make a mutual agreement between the architect and the client. I have seen in many cases an agreed amount is held back until decision is made, such as e.g. £250 of a £1000 fee is with held. This however is not for approval but for the architect to complete any amendments that may be required on the way.

Its best to have this all in writing before commencing any work so there is proof just in case there are misunderstandings in the process.


Answered 31st May 2017

It is not the architect's responsibility to ensure planning is granted. The whole process is a balancing act between client wishes and permissible development. The worth of a quality architect/technologist or draughstman will have the ability to advise and push what they think is best for all parties.

Irrespective the workload has been done and most I know will charge in full before submission to ensure payment, with potentially a small retention for amendments. I don't partake in this practice as I stick to my word and see a job through amendment or not, obviously, if there is a change in design from a client request then that is assessed on its complexity as to what is charged if anything. However small amendments are covered by the initial invoice. I appreciate it's a somewhat vague explanation but without knowing the context it's hard to give a definitive answer as projects vary quite dramatically. Before i starts to draw my clients understand fully when payment is required, either ask for a letter of intent or request a contract to be in full understanding of the situation.

Hope all is going well.


Answered 19th Sep 2017

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