Calculating Architectural Fees

The fee tariff which is published by The South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) is a general guideline which most architects will refer to when composing fee proposals. The tariff is published in the Government Gazette and is updated annually. We are aware that this is quite a mouthful and architectural fees can be intimidating so why not come chat to us. We can tailor a solution according to your individual requirements and budget!


Microsoft Word - Scope & Fees.doc

Should the client have a construction budget of R1 000 000. The architectural fee would be calculated as follows:

Base Fee +            % of Project cost             =       Fee

14 250    +    100 000 (10% of R1 000 000)  =   R114 250

The fee for work that includes alterations is based on the total project cost as per TABLE 1 and increased for that portion of the work comprising alterations by 30%. The main reason for this is that the complexity of alteration work is far greater than any new-build and therefore more time consuming. Secondly, an architect will spend a significant amount of time documenting the existing structure before starting any work, and thirdly, demolition of any existing structure will always reveal hidden complications which in most cases leads to a partial if not a complete re-design.

The example below is an illustration of how this fee would be calculated

Base Fee +      % of Project cost                        =           Fee     +    30%          =    Fee

14 250      +    100 000 (10% of R1 000 000)     =      R114 250 + 342750       = 148 525

The total fee is broken down to correspond to the work stages which the architects appointment is divided into. An architect may be appointed for individual stages only should a client choose. The apportionment of these fees are illustrated in the table below and may be adjusted by agreement.


Microsoft Word - Scope & Fees.doc

In certain scenarios an hourly rate would be a more appropriate way of approaching fees. Examples of this would include but not be limited to situations where an architect is appointed for design consultation, preparation of feasibility studies, subdivision applications, heritage applications, joinery documentation and presentation or marketing material etc.
The Table below illustrates the hourly rates which may be charged by architects. Again, this is only and indication and you may very well find architects charging differently.


Microsoft Word - Scope & Fees.doc


8 thoughts on “Calculating Architectural Fees

  1. Pingback: Architectural Fees: How much is too much? | Local Design & Lifestyle

  2. Hendrik Coetzee

    For a residential dwelling of 250 sqm what would a reasonable fee be if the project is terminated up to the stage concept drawings is done?

    1. KUBE architecture Post author

      Hendrik, thank you for your question. Assuming a construction cost of R8000/m2, the total project cost would be R2m. The total architectural fee would be R192 750 excl. Provision of Conceptual drawings usually includes stages 1 & 2 of the architectural appointment, which equals 20% of the total fee so the cost would be R38 550 excl. Of course this could go up or down depending on complexity, availability of information and other factors. I hope this helps. Please don’t hesitate to contact us should you require any further information.

  3. Koz

    We want to enclose a section below our house for a garage. We belong to a HOA, which has a review architect to scrutinise plans i.t.o. the HOA design manual. He has been doing this for the HOA many years and should be quite familiar with the design manual by now. In fact, we did a prior inquiry highlighting the applicable section in the manual to show that we were in compliance with it, so he did not even have to go and look it up. He charged us a full hour’s rate for saying that it was in order. Is that fair? With his experience and the non-complexity of the plan (34m2), I cannot see how it took him longer than 15 minutes to write a letter of approval back. Is this standard practice to charge a full hour’s rate even if the work did not take that long? Can we challenge this? I will appreciate your thoughts before we take further steps. Thank you.

    1. KUBE architecture Post author

      Dear Koz,

      Unfortunately most professions charge the full rate for part of an hour spent on a project. With architects there is a ‘recommended’ guideline as published by SACAP but discretion still lies with the individual. My recommendation would be in future to try to ascertain the fees payable before any services are acquired. This will avoid unpleasantness at a later stage and you will be in a better position to negotiate a price. Regarding your current situation, I would recommend approaching the architect with your concerns in an amicable fashion. Unless he or she is completely unreasonable I’m sure you’ll be able to reach a satisfactory agreement.

      I hope that helps.


      1. Koz

        Thank you Stefan. Unfortunately the architect is appointed by the HOA and we do not have a choice in the matter. We will try to approach him in an amicable way, but he has not been very reasonable in the past. At least his fee is in line with the guideline. Thanks again for your quick response. K

  4. Cris Rosenbergs

    This is interesting information. We are looking at a project with our international JV partners to build in Johannesburg. The estimated project budget for construction hard costs is R200 mln approx. In this case your grid above indicates 5.75% of the project cost as architect fee. This seems very high. Please clarify.

    1. KUBE architecture Post author

      Hi Chris,

      Thank you for your question.

      Please note that the tariff is merely a guideline published by the South African Council for the Architectural profession. Depending on the complexity and amount of repetition which the project entails there will usually be a fair amount of room for saving. Percentages on industrial and commercial projects are also much lower, but in the end it will depend on the discretion of your architect. I hope this helps.

      Please don’t hesitate to contact us should you require any further assistance.

      Stefan Rademan


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