Fees for architecture and planning depend on the size, type and quality of the project which a client requires.

Fees vary for many different reasons, yet as with most services, the fee generally reflects the level of service provided and the quality of the completed building.

If the brief and budget are well defined, fees are usually negotiated at the start of a project. When this isn’t the case, sometimes we can work on a time charge basis for feasibility stages until the build cost, size and complexity of the project can be better estimated.


Getting buildings designed and built is a complex and often a slow process, even for quite small projects. If you have never embarked on a building project before, many elements will be unfamiliar to you as a client, so it is worth providing guidelines.

Different methods of calculating fees may be used for different stages in a project and this will be agreed and set out in the at the outset, if this is possible. There are three main ways in which fees are calculated.

Percentage of the building costs

Fixed fees for specified works

Time based fees

Take a look at the work stages under the page “appointing me”. If you need my services for all or most of these stages, one method of calculating fees is to charge them as a percentage of the ‘contract value’. There are different percentage rates for different types of work and different contract values but as an approximate guide, our fees tend to lie between 9% and 15% of the net building costs (what is referred to as the ‘contract value’). Under this agreement, overall fees are broken down into stages (or parts of stages) and are invoiced on a monthly basis or at the end of individual stages.

Time based fees

You might need our services for just a small part of your project. Another method for charging fees is on a time incurred basis. As in the case of other professionals, we charge for the time that is expended on any task or series of tasks associated with the project. Where it is practical and possible we provide estimates of the amount of time we expect to incur on any of these tasks. Invoices that are time based are submitted to clients with an account of how the time has been spent. These time based charges may vary from time to time, and also may vary due to the complexity and significance of the work undertaken. The charge rate is circa £50 per hour.


Fixed fees for specified works

Where a project is clear and obvious, and the scope of the works is defined, we are happy to fix the fees for various small stages within that project. If this method can apply to your project, we will always agree these fee stages with you in writing before work begins.


Services normally outside fixed fee proposals

There are some types of work on a building project that are almost always in addition to the overall percentage-based fee or in addition to pre-agreed fixed fees. These include:

• Measured surveys, building or topographcial.

• Information for a planning application submission which is not a statutory requirement *

• Submiting a planning appeal following a planning refusal.

• Complex interior design specifications (colour schemes, selection of specified finishes, furnishings etc).

• Design of purpose made built-in furniture – desk layouts, reception areas, wardrobes, bookcases, shelving, storage units etc.

• Freestanding furniture items.

• Specialist lighting design.

• Specialist research into specific and bespoke items within a building.

• Party wall negotiations with adjoining owners.

• Liaison with the public utilities companies on a client’s behalf.

• Complete re-designs, if there is an entire change of mind/heart some way into the design process

* Within this category we include 3D images, 3D models, street scene images including adjoining buildings with full rendering, and advanced computer models (as opposed to the simpler photo-montages, 2D scale images, or hand drawn sketches which we produce anyway).

Our small print

Our fees generally include all normal administration costs and reasonable client and site visits and travelling expenses to and from such meetings.

We do not charge for small numbers of photocopies or plan prints for both our use and yours. However, we charge for more major expenses such as large amounts of photocopying for Planning and Building Regulations applications (where applicable), and printing of drawings issued to Contractors, consultants, sub-contractors etc., including copies to you where they form record sets for you to keep. These are always outlined on a drawing issue list accompanying the issue.

We make separate additional charges, by prior agreement, for contract documents, Ordnance Survey location plans, large plan prints issued for construction or Building Regulations and any special travelling costs (long-distance visits to manufacturers etc), as well as any specialist presentation material, such as 3d computer modelling, perspective illustrations or models.

All fees are requested within 28 days of the date of the invoice and interest is chargeable on all fees outstanding after this time at a rate of 4% above the Barclays Bank Plc Base Rate, calculated on a daily basis.

when fees are subject to review

Hoping that the matters outlined below never arise, should we find ourselves in such circumstances, additional fees are probably best based on an agreed hourly rate or fixed fee basis:-

• If there is a material change to the design (and I mean a substantial move away from the outline brief in our initial fee proposal) following drawings submitted for planning approval, or at any other stage following.

• If exceptional discussions and negotiations are required in order to support the planning application and/or additional information is requested by the planning authority in excess of the statutory requirements (an example of this would be perspective sketches or models, or detailed coloured rendering of drawings).

• If we are preparing tender information: If you decide to go to tender on more than one occasion. This increases workload as the tender package is substantial and repeat issues require alterations because of property market changes, or changes in the type of Contractors pricing, for example.

• If additional works are required as a result of a Contractor going into liquidation, or failing to proceed in the correct manner.

• If additional work is required in connection with a planning appeal.

• If we are administering a contract: if additional work is required in connection with dispute resolution regarding the Contract or other consultants.


Building Costs for Small Domestic Projects

We get asked ‘how much will this cost?’ so many times.

The answer is never straightforward; sometimes, there isn’t an immediate answer. However, for work which involves alterations or additions to residential buildings, we have put together this very short summary (compiled in the first half of 2018, so you will have to judge the inflationary adjustment, whenever you read this).

How Much Will a Small Extension Cost?

There are many factors involved in costing an extension project. This is a basic breakdown of average prices:-

For every usable square metre, allow anywhere from £1,300 for basic construction – single storey, for example – to £3,000 and upwards for higher specification. When considering more than one floor, the area of each floor should be counted. Smaller extensions of 15-20 square metres will have higher costs per square metre. Clay, peat, nearby trees and sloping ground will increase groundwork costs. 50% of the budget will be the construction of the building envelope. 50% will cover the interior.

Now consider what you’d like to put inside.

For a kitchen, budget from around £4,500 upwards – and kitchens can go a long way upwards! For a bathroom or a shower room, allow around £5,000 to £10,000. For floor finishes, usually not included in the main build costs, and for anything ‘permanently’ fitted (hardwood, tiles, stone, etc), you will need to allow, at least, £75 per square metre for the materials and labour combined. For wide glazed openings and/or extended roof lighting: add £2,000 for every running metre. Heating: consider whether the existing system can be extended into your new space; the situation may involve a new boiler and could add around £3,000 in addition to under floor heating or new radiator installations in your new spaces.

Professional Fees for small domestic projects

Of course, we will quote for each project individually. However, it’s likely that you will need to budget for our fees alongside the fees of others. Combined fees (including those to local authorities) of between £4,000 and £6,000 are to be expected for small-project planning stage works; and at least around £3,000 to £7,000 for post-planning costing and or construction information, depending on what you need, which may well include the services of a structural engineer – all depending on the type of project.

Planning application fees are published on line by all local authorities. It’s worth knowing that planning approvals may also involve tree or landscape reports, flood risk assessments, ecology reports, and archaeological reports. A building report may also be required if your building is listed. Fees for each of these types of reports are often between £500 and £1500.

If you employ someone like The Genius Loci to give specification and drawing information to a contractor for costing, then to administer a formal contract between you and him, you would need to allow an additional percentage of the build cost. You will also need to allow for Building Regulations fees. Each local authority has its own table of fees or you can use a private building control firm. The size of the alterations affects the fee you pay. If your project involves a Party Wall and your neighbours formally consent to the work, you won’t need a party wall surveyor. However, if they dissent to the work then you need to consider the appointment of a party wall surveyor.