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How Much Will An Architect Cost For My Home Extension Project In 2023?

How Much Will An Architect Cost For My Home Extension Project In 2023?

When considering a home extension project, one important aspect to consider at the outset is the cost of hiring an architect and what value this can bring to your project.

The cost should not be assessed in simple monetary terms but in parallel with how much time, money and stress they may save you and in tandem how much they could add to your project that will increase the overall value of your home.

Architects play a critical role in the design and planning process of home extensions, ensuring that your vision for your home is brought to life in a safe, functional, and aesthetically pleasing way quite often considering things that you may not even have thought of in a creative, future proof and flexible way.

In this article, we will discuss how much you can expect to pay for an architect for your home extension project and what factors can affect the cost.

The Cost of Hiring an Architect for a Home Extension Project

The cost of hiring an architect for a home extension project can vary widely depending on several factors, including the size and complexity of the project, the location of the property, and the experience and reputation of the architect.

Generally speaking, you can expect to pay between 8% and 15% of the total construction cost for an architect’s services from start to finish – different architects will split these fees in different ways from fixed fees, to percentages and hourly rates – be clear on what you are comfortable with. We tend to work with fixed fees so you can budget for the fees in a transparent way.

To give you a better idea of what this might look like in practice, let’s say you are planning a home extension project that will cost £150,000 to build. If you hire an architect who charges 10% of the construction cost, you can expect to pay £15,000 for their services. However, if you hire an architect who charges 5%, you will pay only £7,500.

Don’t forget VAT is likely to be added to their fee unless they are a very small practice working below the threshold for VAT. If that is the case, be mindful that it is likely to be a single person practice and if anything does happen to that one person that you may have to wait for your project to be serviced.

Factors That Affect the Cost of Hiring an Architect

Size and Complexity of the Project

The size and complexity of your home extension project will be one of the biggest factors that affect the cost of hiring an architect. A larger and more complex project will require more time and resources from the architectural team, which will result in a higher fee.

Additionally, if your project requires a significant amount of design work, such as custom features or a complex floor plan, this will also increase the architect’s fee. If the building is in a conservation area or a listed building with intricate details that need to be managed this is also likely to render a higher fee.

Location of the Property

The location of your property can also affect the cost of hiring an architect. Architects in major cities and urban areas tend to charge more than those in rural areas, primarily due to higher overheads such as office costs and attracting good quality staff.

Additionally, if your property is located in a remote or hard-to-reach location, this may also result in higher fees as the architect will need to factor this into servicing the property.

You may also want to consider hiring a local architect so that they can better serve your project; not only are they likely to be more familiar with properties in the area and therefore associated planning policies etc, when your project gets to site they are more likely to be able to better serve the project when your need their expertise.

If they are local they are also more likely to have a better pool of local contacts that can also support through the project, from builders through to other suppliers. If you want your build to be more environmentally conscious local may also be the way to go.

Experience and Reputation of the Architect

The experience and reputation of the architect you choose can also affect the cost of their services. More experienced architects with a proven track record of successful projects may charge higher fees than newer or less experienced architects – we all have to start somewhere! Additionally, architects who have won awards or have a strong reputation in the industry may also charge more for their services.

With awards, be mindful some awards can be bought and others architects pay to enter – so just because an architect doesn’t have a raft of awards it does not always mean that they are not great at their craft – it may just mean that they focus on doing the things they are good at like delivering great projects.

Some architects also specialise in certain aspects of design and if you are seeking something more refined then finding an architect that can deliver that would be key; this can be critical in some aspects like Passivhaus design or if you own a listed building, as you will want to find someone with experience and record in delivering those.

If an architect is charging more for services than their competitors, try and establish what additional value they will be bringing – going back to the earlier point that this is not a service that should be considered on price alone as it is an investment in what can be a long term relationship through to the delivery of your project.

Don’t also forget you are paying for their years of experience and the value of this is not to be overlooked. The wealth of projects that inform what they can bring to your project should not be taken lightly – buildings are complex and understanding how to resolve issues and some of the science behind how things come together can be intense and understanding this comes with practical experience built over years.

Scope of Services

The scope of services that your architect will provide can also affect the cost of their services. Some architects may offer a full range of services, including feasibility, design, project management, and site based management, while others may only provide design services.

If you require a more comprehensive range of services, this will likely result in a higher fee in monetary terms but more protection in the long term. We find that when we manage projects from start to finish that is where the client and their homes benefit the most, as we have steered the project at key stages, advising what decisions need to be made and when.

As a result this leads to a smoother stressful build and in some instances clients are pleasantly surprised at how much they enjoyed working as a team through the project with all the different parties.

What Services Can Architects Provide for Home Extension Projects?

Design Services

Architects will work with you to design your home extension, taking into account your needs and preferences, as well as the structural requirements of the building and your longer term needs for the building.

To develop the initial designs you will need to have some honest discussions and establish what it is you are looking for; we would say in the early sketch stage this takes upwards of an hour; anything less that is simply put not enough to understand what you want.

Based on the discussions, they will develop some initial sketch ideas.
Don’t be afraid at this stage to take time to think through what is being presented, if you don’t understand what is being presented important that you get clarity so don’t be afraid to ask.

You should also challenge the architect if something is not what you want – we hear all too often when customers come to us that their previous architect was not listening to what they wanted. Ultimately this is your home, your investment and the architect should respect this – they are there to support your project.

Design services do not stop at the initial stage, they carry through as you progress and refine the detailed design.

Statutory Approvals

Statutory approvals will include planning, building regulations and things like party wall awards, CDM Regulations and Freeholder’s consent if you are in a flat.

With in these approvals you may need to engage other consents and their fees may not be included within the architect’s fees – your architects’s fee proposal should outline what is covered for each stage.

Stages can often be broken down into the RIBA stages of work; these are an industry standard stages in a building projects, numbered 0-7.

Detailed Design

Typically, drawings for statutory approvals do not include all the details needed for a builder to provide an accurate cost and build from. Your architect may seek to develop further detail once the statutory drawings have been dealt with.

We always say, the more detail you can give a builder at the outset the easier it is for them to price for the building works and the more smoothly the build will go.

It is a bit like a cake, if you don’t know all the ingredients and have clear instructions on how to bring them all together there is a higher chance that the cake will fail – building projects without all the detailed design elements considered at the outset are a bit like a cake with missing ingredients, not only do you not know what it will cost to bake the cake but you do not know when those ingredients need to then go in thus making the cake a recipe for disaster!

Project Management and Contract Administration

Architects can also provide project management services, overseeing the construction process to ensure that the project is completed on time, within budget, and to a high standard of quality. They will work closely with contractors and builders to ensure that the design is implemented correctly and that any issues that arise are addressed promptly.

This stage can also include contract administration which in simple terms is ensuring that the contract is being executed by the contractor as it should be and as part of this the architect will advise you when to pay the contractor and how much dependent on what works have been completed on site.