How much does an architect cost?

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Price guide

$2,000 - $4,400







Low, median and high bar chart distribuiton

Planning to build or renovate a house is trickier than you think. Architectural designs are not just made for commercial buildings but can also apply to our home designs. After all, going home to an aesthetically pleasing house is a stress reliever from a long, tiring day at work.

Architect costs depend on how the architect wants to charge you: percentage or fixed fees. They can charge through a percentage system, asking for 5% to 18% of the house’s total cost. To give you an idea of an architect cost calculator, if the total cost of your project is $300,000 and your architect charges you for a 10% fee, your architect will get $30,000.

Fixed fees usually cover the cost of renovations. The cost of an architect in Melbourne for simple renovations is $4,400, while in Sydney, you have to pay $3,200. Some architects charge hourly. They usually charge $50 to $120 per hour.

Are you building your dream house or planning renovations? This price guide will tell you how much to set aside. 

How much does it cost to hire an architect?

Architects' professional fees vary according to how they charge you. Renovations usually have fixed rates, while a new home might have percentage rates. 

Your architect might charge you for development applications but can also work on the design brief, building registration, and construction drawings. You will also pay for a site survey or hire a surveyor instead.

Fixed fees

Location matters to an architect’s fixed fees for renovations and extensions. Here's an overview of fixed costs in different parts of Australia:


Fixed fee)

New South Wales




West Australia


South Australia




a female architect looking at a tiny house model

Percentage fee

A percentage fee is usually for building a new home. Projects that only need a house plan are subject to a 5% to 8% professional fee. Complete services include documentation, development application, a design brief, and project management. The charges range from 8% to 18%.

See the table below for a sample computation:

Overall build cost

5% fee

8% fee

10% fee

18% fee





















Per-hour fee

Charging per hour is rare, but you might still encounter an architect who prefers it. Their usual rates are $50 to $120 per hour, depending on your location. Here are the different per-hour rates in Australia:


Per hour charge

New South Wales




West Australia


South Australia




Factors affecting architect costs

Aside from your project type, other things determine your architect’s fees:

Project complexity

Suppose your project only requires development application or permission in a limited area. In that case, your total cost will not be as high compared to a new house requiring building registration. You might only need a construction drawing, which won’t cost you much.


As you can see in the tables provided, fixed fees in Victoria can be higher than in other states. South Australia has the highest rate for per-hour charges, at $120.


The longer an architect stays in the industry, the higher their pay. Newly qualified architects offer lower professional fees than someone experienced. It is best to check their portfolio whenever you ask for a quotation. You can also hire an independent contractor from a large firm if you have a budget.

Local authority fee

You might have to pay your local authority a fee when processing your planning application. Consult your local authorities so that you can prepare well.

Other people you need for the construction

Aside from hiring an architect, you might want to hire a draftsman. Architects are involved in planning, designing, and documentation. On the other hand, draftsmen can provide you with construction and technical drawings. Also, consider hiring an electrician for your home's wiring needs.

a female architect writing something on a clipboard

How long is the planning process?

When building your home, you shouldn't rush the planning stage, as it is the most crucial part. Besides, you won't be paying your architects on a per-hour basis most of the time. Here are the steps to building an extension or a new home:

  • Initial consultation: Meet your chosen architect, lay out your plans, and gather their input. Explain your expectations, from your budget to your timetable.
  • Site visit: Your architect needs to know what they will be working on. It might require visiting your area and hiring other people like engineers and local inspectors. This step can take weeks or a month to complete.
  • Data Compiling: After finalising your expectations and visiting the site, your architect will check what's feasible and make the necessary changes to bring your plans to life. They can also present drawings or images to give you a better idea of what's to come. This step takes a month or two, depending on your satisfaction with the designs.
  • Permits: This is probably the most rigorous step, as its duration is out of your hands or your architect’s. Your architect will submit a proposal to your local authority. If it doesn’t affect any local development plan, approval won’t be a problem. 

How do I find the right architect for me?

Before you get to the crucial part of planning, you have to go through one of the most challenging steps: hiring an architect. Here are some helpful pointers:

  1. Ask your friends and family for recommendations. This way, you might have a finished product to check and get honest reviews.
  2. Determine the design you want for your project and what the architect should do for you.
  3. Check their licences; are they part of the Australian Institute of Architects?
  4. Find professionals associated with the Organisation of Consulting Architects and Professional Architects Australia. They ensure quality in the business of architecture.
  5. Ask for their portfolio or website. Each architect has a specific style, so it's vital to see their products to understand how they work. 
  6. Post a task on Airtasker and let us help you find the right architect for your budget. 

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Most architects give free consultations, especially if you’re considering hiring them. But it’s always better to be upfront whenever you are inquiring!
An architect’s job is to make sure that the design you want is feasible. They are also good consultants for the legalities of your project. You don't need one, but you need to ensure the safety of the people in your house.
An architect’s advice is necessary if your project requires a development permit. You can process your development application through the government website if you are from New South Wales.

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