How much does an architect cost?

How much does an architect cost? Typical fees for a 2-storey extension.

Often we are asked the following question, how much does an architect cost? Or how much will it cost to build my extension? Followed swiftly by, how much time do you need to spend on completing my project? And, what tasks are undertaken on each phase of a building project?

So often in fact, that we thought it was high time we put together a blog about it, giving you a worked example as a guide – for the purposes of this we’ve chosen a recent 2-storey extension project and detailed the range of fees you might expect. It’s worth noting though, while budget is a key factor when you’re thinking about a building or renovation project, it should never be the only consideration.

Why the answer is it depends…

The answer to the questions above is ‘it depends’… on the type of project, the size of the project and its complexity. Generally speaking, the larger the project in terms of size and / or cost the lower the fees will be as a percentage of the total building cost.

At Apex Architecture we carry out a variety of projects from fairly small extensions and refurbishments to substantial mixed-use developments. Some of these jobs are quite simple and some are highly complex. The complexity can be affected by a number of factors, for example:

  1. Planning permission may be difficult to achieve due to the location of the building in a sensitive conservation area, a building may be listed, or the site mat be outside the development boundary.

  2. Planning permission may be simple; however the project may fall into the category of being a permitted development or the planning authority may have indicated in pre-planning application advice that the desired scheme may be acceptable, subject to a detailed submission.

  3. There may be complex technical challenges to solve due to the requirement for lower carbon emissions for example. Or the project may be close to a noisy road, sustainable drainage solutions may be difficult to achieve, or it may be one of hundreds of other things.

Bearing this in mind, typical fees for a project may vary from £5,000 for a small, simple project to provide design drawing with no contract management services, to £75,000 for larger schemes requiring greater design input and contract management advice.

The Apex approach to fees

At Apex we have a very experienced team of architects, surveyors and technologists with the ability to analyse your requirements, produce scheme designs and deliver projects on time and within budget. Time spent on the initial stages is incredibly valuable, in fact it is at this point that we can add most value. It is important to get off on the right foot.

We have a solid pricing structure based on industry data and our many years of practical working experience.  We understand how long things take to do and invest heavily in our own time management system to ensure we remain competitive.

There are three different ways we can agree fees with you:

  • Percentage of the construction cost - the fee will be broken down into work/project stages.

  • Lump sum - at an agreed rate for each stage.

  • Hourly charges – based solely on time expended.

We will normally carry out an initial consultation and submit fee proposals free of charge if the scope of the work can be easily identified. The consultation helps us to establish your brief and the basis of how we will present our fee. The fee schedule is presented as a lump sum and is discussed in detail and agreed with you before we start work.

Each project we work on is different; the example below will give you an idea of how much we charged for a recent project to extend a semi-detached family house with a 2-storey extension.

How much does a 2-storey extension cost: a worked example

How much does an architect cost

At Apex, we look at each house extension or home remodelling project we take on as a unique opportunity, and tailor our service to suit the needs of the individual client.

We have given an example below of how we would approach the architectural services for a simple extension to a family house. Because we know that what you really want is cold, hard figures. You’ll be able to clearly see what’s involved at each stage of the project and the range of fees that may be charged. The lower end represents a simple scheme with a modest £1,500 per m2, the upper end a more complex scheme with a high-end budget (£3,000 per m2).

Let’s assume the extension is 50 m2. This would give a construction cost of £75,000 - £150,000. Whatever the size and complexity of the project or level of fee, we pride ourselves on delivering high quality designs and excellent management services.

Scheme design through to submitting a planning application

During this stage we:

  • Undertook a measured survey of the property

  • Prepared drawings of the existing house and prepared a scheme proposal

  • Identified the other consultants required and assisted with their appointments

  • Met to discuss the scheme and finalise designs

  • Co-ordinated the consultant reports required to make the planning application

  • Developed the design and made the Planning Application

  • Managed the planning process through to the issue of the decision

Cost: £2,050 - £5,000

Once planning permission was granted

We carried out the following work:

  • Prepared Technical drawings in sufficient detail to be able to submit a Building Regulations Application.

  • Liaised with the appointed consultants (Structural Engineer etc..) to ensure compliance with all legislation.

  • Made a Building Regulations Application and managed the process to obtain formal approval of plans.

Cost: £1,950 - £3,950

Once the detailed design was agreed:

During this phase we:

  • Agreed the detailed specifications for electrical, heating and kitchen layouts and prepared window, door and finishes Schedules.

  • Collated all the documents and sought quotations from an agreed list of contractors.

 Cost: £1,250 - £3,250

When the quotations were received:


  • Analysed them and queried any omissions or additions.

  • Interviewed the contractors and prepared a contract with the successful party on behalf of the client.

  • During the construction period we carried out visits to site to check the quality of work and agreed stage payments.

  • When the building work was completed, we agreed hand over and finalised the accounts.

 Hourly charge costing approx. £500 - £900 per month

After a year:

Most contracts have a small retention fee as part of the contract, this is retained by the customer for an agreed period of time, usually a year. After a year it is generally considered that the property will have naturally settled and any defects in the building should have become apparent.

Following the 12-month ‘defects period’ we visited the site to check for defects and agreed the remediation’s with the contractor. Once these identified defects were ‘made good’ a final certificate was issued and the retention and any other final payments due were paid.

It is, however, worth noting that the contractor still has a duty to rectify any major defects which may occur as a result of poor workmanship for a further number of years. Dependent upon the terms of the contract agreed to this will typically be 6 or 12 years.

The cost of closing out a project at the end of the defects period is typically £600 - £900.

As we noted at the beginning, every project is different, but we hope by giving you an idea of the work and costs involved in a 2-storey extension we’ve helped to give you an idea of the basis for a fees quotation from your architect.

Do you have a building project in mind? Contact us so we can discuss your particular project and tailor a fee quote to meet your specific needs.