Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

A Guide to Determining Appropriate Fees for the Services of an Architect (Electronic Format)

SKU: FeeGuide_EEng

This guide has been developed by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada to assist Architects and their Clients in determining appropriate fees for Architect’s services.

Following the Second World War, expectations and roles within the design and construction industry were consistent and clearly understood. Architect’s services for any building project were very much the same and builders generally performed in a consistent manner based on a standard set of conventions and procedures. Therefore, it was relatively easy to identify a typical fee for services of an Architect for a particular building type. A schedule of fees for architectural services based on a percentage of the construction cost was widely accepted and used.

Today the situation has changed, and it is necessary to examine every single building project to determine the appropriate fee for an Architect’s services. The practice of architecture and the provision of architectural services have evolved considerably. Today, the Architect and Client must agree upon a wide range of project requirements and negotiate an appropriate fee based on the unique aspects of each project. Some of the reasons for this include:

  • Widely different Authorities Having Jurisdiction and approval processes based on building type and jurisdiction;
  • Increasingly complex and sophisticated building systems and technologies;
  • Different forms of project delivery;
  • Project phasing with multiple building occupancies at various different times;
  • Numerous additional specialists to consult and coordinate;
  • Additional (or reduced) levels of services depending on each project and its method of delivery;
  • Wide variations in construction costs;
  • New project design and documentation requirements such as Building Information Modeling;
  • Requirements for third-party certification (such as LEED®);
  • New demands for rapid construction and tight schedules;
  • Greater overhead costs as a result of extensive and complex “Requests for Proposals” and new marketing expenses;
  • Greater expectations for energy conservation and building performance;
  • Extensive submissions at various stages of project documentation.

Because of these significant changes in the design and construction industry, it is impossible to assume that the same professional fee will be appropriate for all projects even if the projects are of the same size and the same building type. Requirements will vary and this document will help all parties in determining the appropriate fee for an Architect’s services for their unique building project.

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