Architectural services and fees vary with each project and can be negotiated to suit the requirements of each client. Full architectural services are recommended to ensure the best quality and cost control throughout a project. Full architectural services typically cover all stages of a project from initial feasibility study and concept design through to completion of the building as outlined below:

1. Sketch Design Stage

Pre-design stage including discussion and development of client brief and budget, site inspection and analysis of site conditions, preliminary assessment of relevant authority constraints and preliminary recommendations.
Design Stage including meetings with client and authorities as required, preparation of sketch design drawings and preliminary outline specification, preliminary materials and finishes selections and coordination of preliminary cost estimate by cost consultant as required by client.

2. Detailed Design / Design Develpment Stage

Development of the design and preparation of detailed design drawings and preliminary schedules, coordination of consultants as required for the project and review of design against budget. This stage may also include the preparation of drawings and documents for Planning Application as necessary. Work in relation to Planning applications can be protracted and is typically charged on an hourly basis.

3. Documentation Stage

Preparation of drawings and specifications for the project to be tendered, coordination of work by consultants as required and submission of documents for building approval.

4. Contract Administration Stage

Coordination of the tendering stage including calling and assessing tenders, tender negotiations and preparation of tender recommendation, Preparation of Contract documents and administration of the contract during construction in accordance with the Architects Act, including regular site inspections and site meetings, review of shop drawings, provision of additional details, information and instructions as required, coordination of consultants, assessment of claims, issue of progress certificates, notice of practical completion and final certificate.


Architectural fees vary depending on the size and complexity of each project and scope of services offered. Full services are typically based on a percentage of the cost of building work and this fee is broken down into the four stages outlined above. Fees are invoiced only for the value of work completed. Client approval is obtained before proceeding to each stage. The client may choose to pull out of the project at any stage and will only be invoiced for the value of work completed to that time. Details of fees and services depend on each project and are agreed with the client before commencing. A fee proposal for full services can be provided following initial consultation.

Alternatively lump sum, or hourly rate fees may be offered for partial services, for example where only a one-off sketch design is required. Again, the scope of services and corresponding fees vary with each project and are discussed and agreed with the client before proceeding. A fee proposal to suit the project can be provided following initial consultation.


Information and Reference:

Architects Registration Board of Victoria (ARBV)
Working with an architect
Why engage an architect?
Building and Renovating in Victoria