There are many reasons to consider an architect for your new build, extension, attic conversation or renovation. An architect has the knowledge and experience to design, co-ordinate and manage your building project. An architect’s skillset covers a variety of areas, ranging from construction materials and techniques to landscaping design, ergonomics and law. This diversity of skills allows an architect to conceptualise many design options while analysing a wide range of requirements and restrictions.
Recently, we did an architect cost survey with some architects and building professionals on our website to get an indication of the fees for preparing plans and certifying a house extension of 40m2 or more. We also asked them for any hints or tips they would have in order to have the best experience. Here is a sample of the replies we received below:-
Michael from Dublin: Typically we break a project down into Stages. For a 40m2 extension you are presuming that you don’t require permission (though this should always be checked as if there is a previous extension / garage conversion / resultant garden less than 25m2 etc then permission would be required. Its also worth noting that demolition of a structure directly adjoining a boundary means (think garden shed / old outhouse etc) means that technically permission would be required) Measured survey of the existing house and site – €350 -€500. Initial design proposals – €1,800 – €2,200. 3D model allowance – € 350 – €500. Detailed tender drawings & tender process – €2,500 approx. On site inspections – Assume 4 – bank certs and opinions of compliance on completion – €2,000 approx. Weekly site visits additional. This is an outline guide only. You can assume that RIAI registered architects fees would vary between 6 – 10% though some may be higher and other professionals potentially lower. For a 40m2 extension suggested building rates from a QS would be in the region of €2,500 – €3,000 per me.
There will obviously be tales of cheaper but this is the day to day reality in Dublin at least. The above fees would come in at the lower end of the scale on this cost basis. I’ve no doubt that people will say that they can get this all done for far less but its vital to ensure that you are comparing like for like when it comes to services. It’s critical for clients to decide what they want. Do they just want a box, already have their design in mind in which case they really just need a technician to draw it up and sign off. If they want a more bespoke space tailored to their needs and/or a unique / difficult site then an architect is recommended. Currently any building project will need the involvement of a H&S consultant – PSDP. Some professionals include this in their service. Also needed is a Structural Engineer. Again some will/can combine this service.
There is a huge variety and scope of service out there. It’s crucial for clients to understand both what they need and what they are getting. It’s also crucial to agree with a professional what is needed and what can be provided. A professional should submit a written fee proposal that outlines what is included in the fee. Like any agreement this should ensure that potential misunderstandings are avoided. Clients should provide a ‘wish list’ of what they hope/want to achieve from the project. This can be 5 lines on a page or 3 pages of images and requirements. A description of what does not work in the existing house can also help and allow the professional a starting point of how to start designing the space. Each house, site and client contributes to give a unique brief and need for a unique solution. The same design may not work on the same house which are on opposite sides of a street simply because of the way the light enters the site. Good design should not cost dramatically increase building costs. Good design whilst it may cost slightly more in fees should ultimately save money overall and give a vastly increased quality of space and improved end product.”
Piotr from Cork: Based on a 40msq extension, a following cost may be applied for the architectural services: stage 1 – taking measurements for initial plans/ concepts – based on a standard 2 storey semi detached house – preparation of the sketch proposals. Total: 500eu. alternative proposals: 150eu per hour once concept proposals agreed with client, a preparation of cad format drawings (based on a building survey provided by the client) forming a base for costing (plans, elevations, sections)total: 2500eu should planning package be formalized and submitted:total: 1500eu. Grand total: 4500eu – 5000eu – (including planning submission) 3000eu – if planning not required.
Declan from Galway: 12% of total construction cost TCC. TCC is calculated as builders contract sum minus the VAT added
Graham from Dublin: Its difficult to answer that question as most will charge based on a % of construction cost. I don’t do this for the smaller residential projects. For an extension up to 40sqm with standard design its approximately:4-8K up to planning. 4-8K for Tender.4-10K for on site inspection/sign off. My advice would be the cost of my (and other Architects) fees increases with the work involved, if the client knows what they want they should be very clear in that in the design brief. It quickens the process reduces time and work load. If the client does not know what they want it can take a bit longer to get the design bottomed out and this obviously takes a bit longer. Get a consultation first of all to try get to grips on what is involved in a project. Many clients can get caught out with statutory obligations that may cost them and eat into the budget. These can include, Assigned Certifiers (generally not required under 40sqm) Engineers and other consultants, Health & safety PSDP & PSCS and even Local Authorities contributions attached to the planning grant.
I hope this helps home owners who are planning a house extension in 2023. Even where planning is not required, we would recommend that you seek the services of an architect, building surveyor and/or a building engineer when carrying out any kind of building works on your home as it is important to have a qualified expert to supervise and sign off on certain stages of build.
If you are looking for a number of quotes from architects, please feel free to post your job here and we’ll send it out for you asap.
12 November 2022