It is important that clients are made aware of the costs of architectural services early in the relationship. Our charges will be specific to the complexity of the job.

Fees can be based upon time charges, lump-sum fees, percentage fees or a combination of these. We use a standard NZIA agreement for architectural services as a contract between client and architect.

We are happy to talk about fees and services and will give quotes once the scope of work is known.

Time Charges:

We generally use hourly charges for small amounts of work or if the scope of work hasn’t yet been decided. For those clients who prefer we can undertake the whole project on a time charge basis. The advantage for you is that you only pay for the time you use. We will provide estimates, but you do have less certainty at the beginning of the process on the overall cost of our services.

Percentage Fees:

A percentage fee is the traditional method of charging for architectural design work as it allows work to begin without knowing the full extent of that work. The percentage charged varies according to both the complexity and the value of the construction work. For example owner-occupied residential projects tend to be more complex than motels, and therefore take longer to design and document for the same construction value. However, all other things being equal, the higher the construction value of a project the smaller the percentage fee required to cover the hours worked. This percentage is applied to the market value (excluding GST) of all work designed and specified for the project by us or consultants coordinated by us. We invoice based upon Quantity Surveyor estimates of this amount until such time as a Contract Sum is fixed.

Lump Sum Fees:

We often charge a fixed fee, and this is calculated specifically for individual projects. This provides more certainty on overall costs for the client, but may include a risk premium. To calculate a fixed fee requires the scope of the architect’s work to be clearly defined, and this may not be the case at the beginning of a project where there is uncertainty over required outcomes.

Fee Breakdown into Stages:

In order that you can see the relative costs of the different stages we have broken down a fee for a typical residential project into percentages:

Project Establishment: 1%
Concept Design: 7%
Preliminary Design: 15%
Developed Design: 8%
Detailed Design and Documentation: 37%
Contractor Procurement: 2%
Contract Administration and Observation: 30%
Total: 100%

Note we may suggest time charge on the final two stages and for complex Resource Consent applications.


We may also charge for some project-specific expense items such as vehicle kilometres for remote sites. Rates for disbursements are agreed before they are incurred.