If you are thinking about doing some work on your home, whether it’s a conversion or an extension, you might need to use an architect.
Architects can draw up plans for your projects and give you advice about making the most of light and space.
They also know all about your local authority’s planning laws, so they will be able to advise you who you need to contact and what you should do.
In this guide, we’ll show you how much it costs to hire an architect, what affects that cost, how you can save money on architect’s fees, how to find and hire an architect and what questions to ask them.
Finally, we’ll answer some of your frequently asked questions.
How Much Do Architects Charge?
You can see from the table below that architects have different ways of costing a project. Mid-sized projects are often charged on a fixed fee basis.
|Fee Structure||Service||Estimated Cost|
|Fixed Fee||Site Survey||£300 to £500|
|Drawings and plans for planning permission (extension or conversion)||£2,000 to £4,000|
|Drawings and plans for planning permission (new build)||£3,000 to £5,000|
|Drawings and plans for building regs approval|
(extension of conversion)
|£3,000 to £6,000|
|Drawings and plans for building regs approval|
|£5,000 to £8,000|
|Percentage of Build Costs||Extension or conversion costing £150,00||12 percent (£18,000)|
|Extension or conversion costing £300,000||11 percent (£33,000)|
|Extension or conversion costing £500,000||10 percent (£50,000)|
|New build costing £150,000||8.7 percent (£13,050)|
|New build costing £300,000||8 per cent (£24,000)|
|New build costing £500,000||7.3 per cent (£36,500)|
The architect will see what work needs to be done and quote you a price for the work. Site surveys, drawings and plans are often fixed-fee projects.
Larger projects, as you will see from the table, are charged on a percentage basis. They will charge you a certain percentage of your build costs and cover building projects like conversions, extensions, and new builds.
Small projects are often billed by the hour. An average hourly rate for an architect is between £50 to £100.
When you need an architect, use HouseholdQuotes. Simply fill in the online form and tell us briefly what you need.
We’ll find architects in your area to give you no-obligation quotes for your building project.
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What Affects the Cost of Hiring an Architect?
There are several different factors which will affect the cost of hiring an architect.
The Nature and Complexity of Your Project
If your project is small and all you require are plans or a site survey, then your costs will be less. If, however, you are converting your home, or having a new build and you want the architect to draw up the plans and project manage the job, then you are going to have to pay more.
Whether You Need Planning Permission or Building Regs Approval
If a job requires planning permission or building regs approval, it is normally more expensive because the architect has more paperwork and/or calls and visits to make.
Whether You Choose an Independent Contractor or a Large Firm
An independent contractor is likely to be cheaper than a large firm. Using someone local might also be an advantage as they will know the area and the people in the planning department of your local authority.
If you live in London, the surrounding area or the South East of England, services are always more expensive than in other parts of the UK. You should add between 10% and 20% to any costs quoted for services in this guide.
What Are the Steps an Architect Will Take When You Hire Them for a Project?
The first step will be for your architect to visit your home, meet with you and do a feasibility study to make sure that it is possible to make the changes you want to make to your property.
Your architect will then draw up design options for you to approve. You might be given a choice of designs.
Make sure you want the designs your architects have come up with. It will be expensive to change your mind once the building work begins.
Now is the time to apply for planning permission if you need it. Building regulation documents will also need to be drawn up.
At this stage, you may also need the help of a structural engineer. If you are knocking down walls and changing the structure of your home, you will need a structural engineer.
A structural engineer will make that the structure of your property isn’t compromised by the changes you want to make. If you need steel beams, for example, they will tell you the measurement and weight you need to have to provide strength and security for your home’s structure.
If you need planning permission, it can take between four and six weeks for the planning department to go through the proposal and give their decision.
When you have planning permission and approval from building regulations, your architect will draw up the plans for your builder.
The work will begin.
You may also need other tradespeople to finish off your project. Depending, what you are having done, you may need:
An electrician will install new lighting and any new wiring you need. Electricians charge on average between £30 and £55 an hour or £240 to £440 a day.
A Heating Engineer
A plaster will charge on average between £15 to £25 an hour or £120 to £200 a day.
A Painter and Decorator
If you need a painter and decorator once the work is complete you can expect to pay on average between £15 to £22 per hour or £120 to £176 a day.
You’ll probably find that most traders may also give you a per-project fee for their work.
Is There Any Way to Save Money on Architectural Fees?
If you have a small or medium-sized building project you could hire an architectural technician instead of an architect.
They are not as highly trained as an architect and that’s why they don’t take on large construction projects, but they are still skilled at what they do.
You should also try to use an independent contractor rather than a large firm. Their overheads will be lower, and they can charge less than a big company.
Do your research so you find an architect that designs buildings that match your vision. Contact a few architects and compare your quotes.
When you need an architect, use HouseholdQuotes. Fill in our online form (it takes less than a minute).
Tell us briefly what you need, and we’ll find local architects to give you no-obligation quotes for your home improvement project.
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When Do I Need an Architect?
You can use an architect for any home improvement project, large or small. For example, if you want to create more light and space in your home but you’re not sure how to achieve it, an architect can help you.
Some of the most common projects that involve an architect are:
- New builds
- Basement conversions
A basement conversion can cost you from £1,000 to £6,000 per square metre, depending on the type of conversion. If you want to know more about the costs of converting your basement have a look at our guide.
A standard garage conversion should cost between £5,000 to £7,500; it will cost more if you then add a bathroom or kitchen to the space. You can read our guide if you want to know more about garage conversions,
A loft conversion can cost between £21,000 and £44,000 depending on the size and design you choose. You can read more about the cost of converting your loft in our guide.
You can read all about the costs of building an extension in our guide. Depending on the type of extension you choose you will be looking at between £1,000 and £3,000 per square foot.
- Vaulting a ceiling
If you need to heighten your ceiling or you just want to make a design statement you can install a vaulted ceiling. The costs on average are between £13,000 to £18,000 depending on the height and style you choose. Read more about vaulted ceilings in our guide.
- Knocking down walls and creating a new living space
Removing a load-bearing wall to create a larger space has become very popular as householders like the benefits of open plan living.
- Reforming kitchens and bathrooms
Modernising or increasing the size of your kitchen or bathroom will add value to your home. A new bathroom will cost on average between £2,750 to £6,500 and a new kitchen on average will cost around £8,000, but you can spend thousands more.
- Dealing with building projects in listed buildings or a conservation area
If you live in a listed building or a conservation area there will be regulations regarding what you can and can’t do to your home. An architect will be able to explain the restrictions and help you get things done in compliance with planning rules.
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What Does an Architect’s Day Look Like?
A typical day for an architect might begin with reading and answering emails and organising the tasks for the day.
By mid-morning, an architect may be on the computer drawing up plans or designing a particular project.
After lunch, the architect might have a site visit with a client. This might be a project that’s already underway or one which is in the pipeline.
Back at the office there might be a team discussion amongst other members of the office about a project or working on projects including phone calls and meetings with clients.
How Do I Find and Hire an Architect?
It’s always useful to get personal recommendations. Ask family, friends, and work colleagues if there’s an architect, they can recommend to you.
You can also use HouseholdQuotes. Fill in the online form and tell us briefly what you need.
We’ll then find architects in your area to give you no-obligation quotes for your building project.
Click To Get Quotes
Ensuring the Professional Is the Right Fit
Asking questions is a good way to find out more about an architect and his business. You’ll soon find out if you’re going to get on with each other and if the architect can create your vision.
We suggest asking the below questions:
- Do you have a website? A website will tell you the type of projects they work on and the services they provide. They might also have case studies from past projects and testimonials from previous clients.
- Do you have experience in the type of project I need? If you want to use an architect that has done something similar to your project in the past you can ask this question. However, if you look at an architect’s website you can normally see what they do.
- What are your qualifications? By asking this you will know whether the person is an architect or an architectural assistant.
- Do you belong to any professional organisations?
- Can you manage my entire building project? If you want an architect to manage your building project you need to make sure that you are talking to an architect and not an architectural technician.
- Do you have Public Liability Insurance? An architect should have public liability insurance. An architectural technician may not need it.
The below checklist walks you through the best steps to take to find a professional architect to help you with your projects:
- Write down what you want to do
- Decide how you want an architect to help you
- Find an architect (HouseholdQuotes can help you with this)
- Compare quotes and pick the architect that suits you
- Ask for a free initial consultation
- Appoint the architect to help you with your project
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Frequently Asked Questions
Do Architects Charge for an Initial Consultation?
How Much Does an Extension Cost?
Single Storey Extensions
Householders generally build a single-storey extension to extend a kitchen, make their lounge larger or create an entertainment room.
Two-storey extensions are generally built so that the householder can have more living space downstairs and an extra bedroom upstairs.
Side Return Extensions
If you have a pathway running along your kitchen a side return extension is a great way of making it bigger.
If you want to know more about the costs of building an extension, have a look at our guide.
Do I Need an Architect, a Structural Engineer, or Both?
A structural engineer will tell you whether your wall is load-bearing and the type of beam you need to put in place of the wall to keep the structure in place.
You might also need an architect to draw up any plans for a proposed extension or conversion.
Do I Need Planning Permission or Building Regs Approval for My Project?
That depends on what you are going to do. For example, you will need building regs approval if you are:
- Having a new house built
- Altering or extending an existing building
- Installing things like drainage, replacement windows and hot water cylinders.
You will need planning permission if you live in a listed building or a conservation area. Or you are:
- Building a new building
- Changing the use of a building
- Building a large extension
Before you commence any work is it recommended that you contact your local authority planning and building regs department to talk to them about any regulations and planning laws.
You can also get information from the Planning Portal website.
Can I Do My Own Architectural Drawings?
If you want to a pre-application meeting with your planning department you can arrange this. There is a fee, but it will help to ensure you have all the necessary papers and will prevent any delays.
The cost of a pre-application meeting varies from council to council, but you will likely pay something between £150 and £500. For example, Brighton council will arrange a meeting with a written response for £414.
Leicester council advertise their meeting and written response at £162.
Swansea’s costs are £250. In Edinburgh, they are £252.
How Do I Choose an Architect?
- First of all, think about what you are doing to your home and what you want to achieve.
- Decide what you want an architect to do for you.
- Do some research online. Find an architect that specialises in the type of work you want to do.
- Look through the website for case studies or a portfolio of work.
- Arrange two or three free consultations and explain what type of help you want from an architect and get their fees.
- Compare quotes
- Choose the architect
How Can I Help My Architect Realise My Vision?
It doesn’t have to be a work of art, it’s just to give the architect an idea.
Include pictures in the file. Print off pictures from the internet or cut out photographs from magazines.
Take the time to do your research on how you want your home to look so you can be as detailed as possible when speaking to the architect.
Tell the architect how much you can spend. Be upfront and honest about this so the architect knows how much they have got to work with.
Write down how you intend to use your living space. Tell the architect about your family and how the new living space will change what you do now.
Jot down your favourite places in your home and tell the architect why you like them so much.
By giving the architect as much information as possible, you are helping them get into your head to visualise your vision for the building project.
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