How are architecture fees calculated?
Every practice has their own way of calculating fees, however, a common method is to charge a percentage of the estimated total cost of construction. The exact percentage charged depends on the complexity of the project, which can sometimes outweigh other factors such as the floor plan size.
Antony explains, ‘An addition to a Victorian terrace house in a heritage overlay is more complex and takes longer to resolve than a new house on a flat piece of farm land. Our fees for new homes or large alterations/additions that do not require a planning permit are 9-11% of the total construction budget, while smaller projects alterations/additions are around 12-14%.
Fowler and Ward also charge a percentage-based fee, which varies from about 8-12% of a project’s total construction cost.
For comparison’s sake, of all the architects we spoke to (all of which are based in Melbourne), the total construction cost of projects they’ve worked on has been between $300,000 (for a new addition only) and $10 million (for a 1000 square metre house).
‘A home with a complicated form and hidden box gutters will cost more than one with a simple shape, standard construction details, and simple structural solutions. A laminate kitchen will be more cost effective than one with plenty of timber and stone,’ says architect Lisa Breeze from Lisa Breeze Architect who runs her own practice. ‘Costs also tend to vary between the inner city and coastal and rural areas.’
Other practices including Lisa’s and Architects EAT charge an hourly fee or fixed fee, based on their experience designing similar sized and detailed projects. ‘This means that if you chose an expensive stone rather than a cost-effective stone, for example, you don’t pay us more for that decision,’ says Albert.
When you reach out to an architect, be sure to ask them how they calculate their project fees, and their level of experience.