How Much are Architects Fees?

How much does it cost to hire an architect or architectural designer in Dundee and how do they set their fees?

If you live in Dundee or the surrounding area and are you thinking of building an extension, a Loft conversion or carrying out internal alterations? If you are, you are probably wondering how much it costs for an architect to draw plans.

This will very much depend on the project that you have in mind and the extent of the service that you are looking for, what do we mean?

To illustrate, think of rolling up to a car wash in your Mini (I love Minis by the way) it’s a small car and you want the most basic wash, no frills, sure the car wash will do that, no problem, now imagine rolling up in your Range rover (big car) and you want the ‘works’ wash & dried, tyre sheen, inside vacuumed, air freshener, no problem they can do that too, but the price will differ, the basic wash might be £5 and the executive wash £20.

It’s the same principle with architectural services, some clients might want a basic ‘no frills’ service and some clients might opt for the executive service; however, this is a simplistic example, the architectural firm should explain clearly what the different services are and how much these cost, you want to know what you are paying for, right!

Click here for a full explanation of Architectural Services, different service levels and stages of a project.

*John Webster Architecture are not architects, we are proud to be a firm of Architectural Technologists that specialize in residential construction projects, such as House Extensions, Loft Conversions & Internal Alterations

Architects Fees

How do Architects & Design Professionals set Their Fees?

There are 3 ways architectural practices set their fees:

  • Percentage of the total cost
  • Fixed Fee
  • Hourly rate

The #no 1 important point for you, the customer is transparency, you will want to see clearly what you are paying for and what you are getting!


What is the best way for you as the client to get the best value?

Let’s have a brief look at these 3 fee structures, this is based on fees to cover stage 1-3 (Feasibility, Design & Planning and Building warrant)


Percentage based (Architects Fees)

The way this works is that the fee is given in % terms relating to the final construction cost, for example

House Extension with an estimated construction cost of £60,000

Say *10%, so the fee is £6000

However, if the construction cost creeps up to £70,000 then the fee will be £7000.

*This may be higher or lower, typically % range from 9-15 %.

What are the advantages & disadvantages of an Architect charging a percentage of the total construction cost?


  • Flexibility – if the project changes, increases or decreases in size then you might save a little.


  • Unfair – There is a compelling argument to argue ‘What is the incentive for the architect to design to budget? If it goes over budget, they get paid more!


Fixed Fee (Architects Fees)

This fee does what it says on the tin, the fee is fixed at the beginning and that will be how much you pay.

House Extension with an estimated construction cost of £60,000

Fixed Fee £4000.

The fee will be set to cover the agreed works if the scope of the work increases then the fee will rise to cover this.

This will be clear when the quote is given to you.

What are the advantages & disadvantages of an Architect charging a Fixed Fee?


  • Budget – You know in advance what you will pay, no surprises.


  • None – Apologies, we can’t think of any for you, the customer!


Hourly Rate (Architects Fees)

Some architectural firms charge by the hour for all projects, you might get an indication of how many hours this might take but by the very nature of this method of billing the fee will not be fixed.

House Extension with an estimated construction cost of £60,000

Estimated hours 80hrs @ £60ph*

Projected Fee £4800.

*This figure may be higher

What are the advantages & disadvantages of an Architect charging a Fixed Fee?


  • Small projects – for small, simple projects or one-off site visits this might suit you.


  • Budget – You might get a fright at the final bill.
Architects Fees

How much are Architects Fees for an extension?


At John Webster Architecture, as a firm offering architectural services here are a few reasons that we don’t use percentage fees.

I prefer to, at the feasibility stage to work out with you, the customer, what architectural services that you will need.

I work out how much time & energy will be required to get you great results, this is based on other comparable projects that we have completed.

Price certainty, its fair for both customer and us, you know how much you will be paying right from the start.


For example, let’s think about our example house extension with an initial estimated budget of £60,000 (that we mentioned earlier).

Say, during the tender process bids come in a little higher than expected (which sometimes happens)

Contractor 1 – £65,000

Contractor 2 – £70,000

Contractor 3 – £75,000

It might be that what is offered is much the same from the contractors, but you prefer Contractor 2, you like his personality, organizational skills and they would be your preferred choice to have in your lives for the next 12 weeks or so.

Budget is no longer the driver in a quest for a Contractor.

Why should you pay me higher fees to do the same work? Great for us, not so great for you, the customer.

In our humble opinion (& experience running residential construction projects) the fairest & most transparent fee structure is the fixed price option.

No nasty surprises at the end of the project, you know how much the fee will be and budget accordingly.


Our Architectural Fees

Most Architectural firms don’t want to talk about fees and pricing?

Why not? were not sure! (we think it’s because they don’t want their competitors to know how much they charge)

Whats normally the first thing we do If we are thinking of purchasing something, most of us will go online and find out what we want to know.

Whats the point in spending a lot of time only to find out that its too expensive?

It’s no different with our customers if you have never built before you probably have no idea how much architectural firm charge, would you like to know?  I’m sure you would.

Click here to see our Architectural fee page.

If you are ready to move to the next stage of your project, contact me Here for an informal chat

Here are the areas that we operate in

  • City of Edinburgh
  • East Lothian
  • Midlothian
  • Central Belt
  • West Lothian
  • Perth & Kinross
  • Fife
  • Dundee City
  • Angus


Read Next

How Much Does It Cost to Build an Extension?

What Does a Structural Engineer do, Why do I Need One & How Much Do They cost?

What is a Building warrant, how long does it take to get one & how much does it cost?


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