How much does an Architect cost?
I can give general guidance on fees below but before I do you need to be aware that under Irish Competition law the RIAI is prohibited from producing a standard fee scale as this is deemed "anti competitive". This however leaves a vacuum for consumers (especially clients who have not previously engaged an architect) in finding out information as to what to expect and leads some to make the mistake of simply shopping for the cheapest with no reference to experience or quality. In the absence of a fixed or minimum fee scale there are some useful RIAI survey results which give some guidance. The Architects fees should be considered in the context of the overall spend and for this reason at ABA Architects we propose the main fee in the framework of presenting the construction budget at sketch design stage.

How much do you charge for a sketch design for an extension?
An initial visit to our office is without charge while an initial visit on site costs €200 (plus 23% VAT). For a typical house extension the initial fee for a sketch design can range from €1,200 up to €1,500 (plus 23% VAT). The preparation of a sketch design involves client consultation, site survey of existing buildings, examination of different design options and presentation of sketch design ideas in ABA Architects office. This presentation may include 3 dimensional representations either by way of perspective sketch, simple computer model, or study model. It also includes a draft budget costings sheet which outlines general construction budget as well as proposed fee for a full architectural service.

How much do you charge for a sketch design for a new house?
A general guideline for a new house sketch design might be in the order of €1,800 to €2,400.

Do these fees give me Planning drawings?
No. The purpose of the above fees is to reach a point where the design is agreed in principle though not in detail. A fee for a full service can range between 8% and 15% of the construction cost of the project. For example, if the budget for a project is €150,000 (excluding 13.5% VAT) the fee might be 10% of this or €15,000 (excluding 23% VAT). Each project has to be assessed on its own merits.
Note: Planning drawings are for the purpose of gaining planning permission only. More detailed construction drawings and documents are required for the actual construction phase.

What are the details of the service you offer?
We employ the standard RIAI Agreement between Architect and Client for Domestic projects. This excellent and detailed document outlines exactly what an architect does and is available from this office or the RIAI at 01-6761703.

Do your fees increase if the builder’s costs go up?
While some architects charge a percentage of the construction cost, we typically agree fees on a lump sum basis at the early stages of a project. We issue the full fee calculation with our proposals. In estimating costs we typically apply rates on a square footage basis, this in turn is based on our analysis of returned tenders on several recent projects. Some architects simply agree percentages and the final bill is not known until the builder's final account is agreed at the end of the project. We, on the other hand, believe that we need greater independence from the contractor in order to facilitate truly impartial advice to you the client.

Can extra fees ever arise?
Sometimes extra work, outside of the scope of the original agreement, may arise. An example of this would would be where the client, during construction, decides to add to the build by way of an attic conversion which was not in the original brief.

Do I need to appoint Health and Safety Project Supervisors?
Since August of 2013 works to your own home are no longer excluded from the scope of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations. In practice this means that you have a duty (for most construction works) to appoint a Project Supervisor for the Design Process (PSDP) (typically the architect) and a Project Supervisor for the Construction stage (PSCS) (typically the builder). We offer the PSDP service only for projects that we design and the fee for this service is in the region of €500 (plus 23% VAT). Easy to understand householders guidance on this law is available from the Health and Safety Authority.

Do I need to appoint an Assigned Certified?
From 1 March of 2014 the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 applies for a new house or an extension greater than 40 square metres internal area you have a duty to appoint an Assigned Certifier. As architects we offer this service under a separate agreement but the cost of this service has to be determined on a job by job basis but might be between €2,000 and €3,500 (excluding 23% VAT) for a major house alteration. The later introduction of S.I.365 in 2015 gives the choice of "opting out" of this assigned certifier appointment but ABA Architects advise against this choice on the basis that it would probably have a negative impact on the value of the house if sold.