Architectural Fees: How much is too much?

Whether haggling with a vendor in a third world country or sitting in an architect’s office the question remains the same, How much? The simpler the product or service on offer, the easier the question is to answer. For a street vendor selling soft drinks the price is determined by cost + overheads + profit. For a taxi driver offering a ride the price will either be based on previous trips along the same route or the meter reading. Consulting an architect regarding fees is unfortunately not as simple.

Architecture is an intricate process and most projects are unique meaning that reference to previous work is only useful to a certain extent. This is why prior to providing a fee proposal an architect will conduct a significant amount of research in an attempt to determine the amount of hours which will be necessary to complete a job successfully. That being said, there is a general guideline which is published by The South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) which most architects will at least refer to. The tariff which is published in the Government Gazette is updated annually and is a recommendation and some architecture firms might choose to lower while others choose to inflate their fees. You can find out more about calculating architectural fees here.

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