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Architects Fees in the UK – How much does an architect cost in 2024?

Updated: Feb 26

5-15% of the construction cost is a broad estimate for an architect’s fees for a full architectural service on a small residential project in the UK.  This should equate to around £80 per hour for an architect, and around £50 per hour for an assistant.  These are wide ranges of costs and it is important to understand that architect’s fees vary depending upon several factors.  In this article, we will elaborate on architectural fees, and offer insights for homeowners seeking architects for their home extensions. For a guide to our architectural fees on your project, why not try out our fee calculator.

Fee Structures

Architects may present their fees in different fee structures depending on the nature and scope of the project.  Here are some examples of the types of fee structure that you may find when comparing architectural quotes:

Percentage Fee

  • Alignment of Interests: The architect's fee is directly tied to the project's overall cost, aligning their interests with the success of the project.

  • Scalability: Suitable for projects of varying sizes, as the fee scales with the project's budget.

  • Higher Costs for Expensive Projects: The fee increases with the project cost, potentially resulting in higher fees for more expensive projects.

  • Lack of Incentive for Cost Savings: There may be less incentive for architects to find cost-saving solutions, as their fee is tied to the total project cost.

Lump Sum Fee
  • Cost Certainty: Clients have a clear understanding of the total cost for the specified scope of work, promoting budget certainty.

  • Simplicity: Easier for clients to budget and plan, as they know the fixed cost upfront.

  • Risk for the Architect: If the project scope changes or unforeseen issues arise, the architect may bear the financial burden.

  • Potential for Scope Creep: The scope of works may change without a corresponding increase in the fee.

Time Charge Fee

  • Flexibility: Suitable for projects with varying levels of complexity and uncertainty, as clients are billed for the actual time spent.

  • Detailed Billing: Clients can see a breakdown of hours spent on different tasks.

  • Uncertain Costs: Clients may find it challenging to predict the overall cost, as it depends on the time required.

  • Perceived Lack of Cost Control: Clients may feel less in control of costs, especially if the project timeline extends.

Retainer Fee

  • Availability: The architect reserves specific time for the client, ensuring availability during critical project phases.

  • Client-Designer Relationship: Encourages a more collaborative and long-term relationship between the architect and client.

  • Unused Hours: If the client doesn't use the allocated hours, they may still need to pay the retainer fee.

  • Limited Flexibility: May not be suitable for clients with sporadic or unpredictable project needs.

The type of fee structure will vary depending upon the project.  At Holmes Architects we prefer to quote lump sum fees to ensure cost certainty for our clients.  The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) have created a document known as the RIBA Plan of Work, which delineates the architectural process into stages from the initial conception of the project to the use of the building after its completion.  Holmes Architect follow the RIBA Plan of Work, and break down the architectural fee proposal into stages corresponding with the guidance from the RIBA.

Comparing Architect Fees

Understanding how architect fees vary is crucial for clients seeking the right fit for their projects.  Here are some considerations:

Scope of Works

Look for architects whose practice size aligns with the scale of your project.  A local architect will provide a more competitive quote than an established firm on domestic extensions, whereas on complex projects it may be worth paying more for an established architect.  A larger architectural practice will have a greater body of work behind them, and it will be easy to determine if their work aligns with your aspirations for the project.


When you are comparing quotes from architects, it is advisable to check to see if they are quoting for the same level of service as many differences are possible.  For example, has the architect included a measured survey within their quote, or will a surveyor undertake this separately?  Ask to see examples of the architect’s work, so that you are judging the work by its quality as well as its cost.

Cost vs Quality

Recognise that high-end projects demand attention to detail, often warranting a higher fee.  Consider your project's complexity and aspirations in relation to cost and quality, and be open with where you stand when seeking quotes for architectural services.  Award-winning architects often collaborate with high-end consultants.  Assess where your project stands on the spectrum of cost and quality to make an informed decision.


Understand how important a quick turnaround on the design work is.  Architects can provide an accelerated design programme for projects where you need to meet a tight deadline.  Some services may be able to occur simultaneously to speed up the project. 


When comparing quotes for architectural services you should establish if the company is VAT registered and if this will be added on to the figure quoted in their fee proposal.

Holmes Architects are a small practice, with high aspirations for well-crafted architectural design.  This allows us to provide a high-end architectural design service at a competitive price.  We are not VAT registered, which ensures we are cost effective on each of our projects.  On small projects we can undertake the measured survey ourselves to keep the project cost efficient, whereas on more complex schemes we prefer to hire a surveyor.

Where to find an Architect?

Holmes Architects recommends utilising RIBA's find an architect service to provide a shortlist of chartered architects in your area to streamline the process of obtaining quotes.  Chartered Architectural Practices and their Architects are held to higher standards and are required to maintain continued professional development (CPD) records each year.

Why not try out our fee calculator to provide you with an estimate for our architectural fees on your project. If you would like a quote from Holmes Architects on your project, please do not hesitate to contact us.


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