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Why are the Prices so Different between Different Architects, and How to Choose?

10:00 AM

Planning a new build, or renovations, can be an exciting, if rather overwhelming, prospect. You therefore want to make sure you find the right architect. But how do you choose the right architect? And why do their prices vary so much?

Let’s take a look.

Why Different Architectural Practices Offer Such Different Prices

Obviously to some extent, an architect’s pricing will be influenced by their experience level and type of specialisation; however what people often don’t realise is that different pricings can reflect different levels of involvement in a project.

For instance an architect might simply:

  • Create the design. End of story.

Or they could:

  • Project manage the entire build – this would involve working closely with the builders to ensure the design is implemented, plus obtaining the required planning permits, building permits and other necessary documentation to ensure your build is completely compliant.


  • Another architect might offer a service that’s somewhere in between.

It’s important then, that when you obtain prices from different architects you compare apples with apples. If you’re not clear how much involvement the architect proposes to have with your project, be sure to clarify, AND to think about the level of involvement you actually need. If you’re planning a big, complex build; project management by an architect may well be advisable.

Architects also have Different Fee Structures

  • Some architects will charge by the hour – if this is for anything other than a very minor job we suggest you be wary of this type of charging.
  • Other architects will charge a percentage of the total cost of the build. This percentage can vary significantly depending on the architect and the project. Agreeing to this type of billing can also be risky as many builds go over budget.
  • Finally, architects often charge a fixed fee, so while there’s no chance of scoring a reduction - as is the case with a percentage fee - there’s also no nasty surprise at the end of the build.

How to Choose the Right Architect

So you know you want someone who ‘gets’ your style and is capable of producing what you wish for, but how do know which website to click on?

It always pays to look for reviews and customer testimonials as a starting point. When you’ve found a handful of architect practices with stand-out reviews, your next step may well be to check out their portfolios. What you’re looking for is an architect whose style and aesthetic gels with your own AND one who specialises in the type of build you require.

You may even be able to check out some of the architects’ work in the flesh if they’ve completed any public works. This is a great way to really get a sense of an architect’s style and material preferences, although obviously each design is heavily influenced by the client.

Once you’ve got a shortlist together, you could arrange a meeting with each architect to gauge how receptive they are to your ideas and to see how well you get along. The design and building process can be stressful, and you could be spending a lot of time nutting out details with your architect, so it pays to find someone you click with.

At Design Edge Associates, our personalised, client-focussed service will ensure your project runs smoothly and that you get the ideal result. Contact us today to discuss your vision.