Process and Costing

for Architectural Work:


The following is to explain the process and costs involved to complete architectural work for a new build or alteration. It includes a summary of:


- the stages included in Architectural Services for new builds, alterations and extensions.

- how the fee is worked out




Architectural Services Stages:


The following stages give an outline of the architectural process.


1. Preliminary Sketch Design: Concept / Feasibility

    This stage covers:
- meeting with the clients to discuss design possibilities and direction
- gathering site information, obtaining a land survey (Surveyor), measuring up existing house (possibly by other), checking        council codes and requirements, identifying problems
- preparing preliminary design sketches


2. Detailed Sketch Design

    This stage covers:

-meetings with the clients to resolve issues, that is identify and satisfy expectation

-provide detailed sketch drawings (plans, elevations + sketches)

-consultation with an Engineer if required

-CAD drawings will be provided and could be used for a Resource Consent (if required) and to get a cost estimation from a Quantity Surveyor                                                                                                                                        -                                                 -


3. Contract Documentation: Detailed Design and Documentation

    This stage covers:

-preparation of contract documentation which includes working drawings, details and specifications necessary to complete the work and to lodge a Building Consent application

- this documentation are construction drawings for the builder

- an Engineer is generally engaged during this stage


4. Contract Administration

    This stage covers:
- assisting you to select a builder by calling tenders or discussing terms
- co-ordinating the signing of a contract
- liaising with the contractor and consultants
- observing the site works and compliance with the contract documents - reporting and liaising with you as issues arise
- issuing variations and payment certificates
- inspect for Practical Completion.






The fee for Architectural Services is based on either an hourly rate and/or on a percentage of the total cost of the Contract Works (the cost of the construction of the building).

The percentage rate charged for alterations and extensions is based on the values of the works and is: 12 - 13.5% for alterations and extensions, for new builds it is 11 - 12%.

The NZ Institute of Architects has a Guide to Architects’ Fees and recommends overall fee percentage rates according to the size and type of project. NZIA also recommends a breakdown of the fee charged with each stage. 

This means that an hourly rate + GST with an expected upper limit of the agreed fee percentage of the construction cost is charged.


The fee percentage is then divided up between the 4 stages outlined above.

This is as follows:


1. 1.5% Preliminary Sketch Design: Concept / Feasibility                        

2. 2.5% Detailed Sketch Design                                                                  

3. 7%    Contract Documentation: Detailed Design and Documentation    

4. 2.5% Contract Administration:                                                                 

  13.5% TOTAL                                                                                                  


Invoices are sent monthly and include a fee summary showing a summary of the estimate of the value of the works according to each stage in relation to invoicing to date. This does involve agreeing on an estimate of the value of the works initially (which is always a good thing to do so people have an idea of what they are in for) and then updating that once there are more accurate estimates available.



Disbursement Expenses are charged separately which include:





-Photocopying and Printing (issued documents only)

-Title searches at cost
-Car travel 62c/km for client meetings + site observation at cost



Other costs not included in the architectural fees are:


-Consultants’ fees: Structural Engineer, Surveyor and Quantity Surveyor if applicable.

-Existing house measure-up if done by other

-Council fees for a Resource and Building Consents (if required)

-Any time required to respond to council requests for additional information after Resource or Building Consents are lodged (if required)


If you decide to go ahead with me as your architect an Agreement for Architects Services will be finalized based on this information and the detail of the brief and will include the standard NZIA Terms and Conditions and Scope of Architectural Services.