Firstly, before we get into the architectural fees, I need to reiterate the value of an architect.  Making use of a professional architect will save you money in the long run.  An architect is a skilled problem analyzer, assessor and solver.  Therefore they are trained to keep in mind the “gestalt” (design as a whole) whilst focusing on the tiniest detail.  Certainly, they have a vast amount of skills and experience that you just can’t fake. 

Let’s make a quick analogy.  Firstly, if you were to have eye surgery, would you use a skilled Ophthalmologist or ask your uncle Jo to put his new electric drill to use for a quick procedure?

Similarly, say you were facing jail time for taking your neighbor’s pet tarantula hostage, would you hire a lawyer or use the skills you learned in debate class in 6th grade?

Therefore, there is no substitution to use a skilled architect if you want to end up with a quality product.  It is well worth the cost in architectural fees.

OK, lets talk dough.

Architectural fees are not an exact science. Every project is bespoke and there are different details to be factored into every fee calculation.  Keeping this in mind, I will try to keep this as general and concise as possible in order to give you a general indication of fees.  If you want to read an in-depth break down of the fee guideline proposed by the South African Institute for the Architectural Profession, click here.

There are mainly two types of fees: 

Time-based fees:

Architects would typically charge hourly for services not covered within the scope of the project cost-based fee such as specialist designs within a standard service, participation in rational designs by other consultants, additional hours on site, etc.

As an example, LVN Architectural Studio typically charge R550/hour.

The architectural fee guideline can be consulted for what the industry recommends.

Project Cost based fees.

Most architects will make use of this type of architectural fee structure.  As there is no other suggested guideline, they base their fees on the sliding scale fee guideline proposed by the institute.

A general description of the fees of the sliding scale are as follows:

Cost BracketValue of WorksFee
1 R1-R200 000 R18 000 (primary fee) + 14% of balance over R1
2 R200 001-R650 000 R46 000 (primary fee) + 13.5% of balance over R200 001
3 R650 001-R2 000 000 R106 750 (primary fee) + 12% of balance over R650 001
4 R2 000 001-R4 000 000 R268 750 (primary fee) + 10.5% of balance over R2 000 001
5 R4 000 001-R6 500 000 R478 750 (primary fee) + 10% of balance over R4 000 001
6 R6 500 001-13 000 000 R728 749 (primary fee) + 9.5% of balance over R4 000 001
7 R13 000 001-40 000 000 R1 346 249 (primary fee) + 9% of balance over R13 000 001

The table continues, but I’ll stop here.  You get the idea.  For further reading, please check out the fee guideline for a full list of fees.

In South Africa, Architect’s services consist of 6 Workstages.  The fee amount that you end up with according to the sliding scale is the Total Fee that you will pay if you appoint the Architect for all 6 Workstages.

These are:

Workstage 1: Design Inception  (Assess client’s requirements) 5% of Total Fee
Workstage 2: Concept and Viability (Concept Design) 15% of Total Fee
Workstage 3: Design Development 20% of Total Fee
Workstage 4.1: Local Authority Submission 20% of Total Fee
Workstage 4.2: Construction and Tender Documentation 10% of Total Fee
Workstage 5: Construction 27% of Total Fee
Workstage 6: Close Out 3% of Total Fee

Lastly, there are a whole lot of different services that can be discussed, but I won’t bore you with all this detail.  This article gives a general idea of what you can expect to pay if you approach an architect.

At the end of day, we all benefit from a thriving architecture profession that invests good design back into the city we enjoy.

LVN tip:  Do not focus on overall cost only, but on getting the most bang for your buck.  Therefore, when you compare architectural fee proposals, pay attention to the services that they offer.  For example, one architect will include 2 x site visits per week while the other will allow for 1 every two weeks.  Similarly, one fee proposal may include project management and in another it will be excluded.  Also, if the quote falls outside what your budget allows, talk to the architect about how they may reduce their scope to accommodate the fee that you can pay.  Remember that the fee proposed by the institute is a guideline only.

Please contact us if you want to know more about architectural fees or if you just have a general architectural query.  We love to give advice.

Until next time.