How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Architect?

Normal range: $1,976 - $9,483

Hiring an architect costs between $1,976 and $9,483, or an average of $5,729. The exact price will depend on the architect’s experience and the project’s complexity.

How we get this data
Stephanie Shaykin
Updated August 31, 2022
Architect checking plan with home owner.
Photo: Westend61 / Getty Images

Thinking of building your dream home but don't know where to start with a budget? The average fee to hire an architect ranges between $1,976 and $9,483, with an average of $5,729. If you're considering hiring an architect but are unsure of the costs and benefits involved, keep reading.

See the price range for hiring an architect in your area

your area
How we get this data
Normal range for U.S.
$1,976 - $9,483
  • Average
  • $5,729
  • Low end
  • $550
  • high end
  • $40,000

How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Architect per Hour?

If you hire an architect on an hourly basis, they charge a rate that ranges between $125 and $250 per hour

Architects typically provide a cost estimate in advance. If you need limited services from an architect, such as simple plans drawn up, it might reduce your costs. They might have you use their intern or draftsperson in this case. 

Here are the most common levels of architects and their typical prices per hour:

  • Principal (owner of the firm): $150–$250 per hour

  • Project manager (10 years experience): $125 per hour

  • Intern architect II (6–8 years experience: $90 per hour

  • Intern architect I (3–5 years experience): $45 per hour

How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Architect Near You?

Costs to hire an architect vary by location, with some costs averaging $3,000 to $9,800

The total project cost will depend on your area's local build or remodeling costs. Research three local architecture firms and narrow your picks down from there. 

If you plan on building or remodeling your home with an architect, you may need to pay the following architect fees, depending on your location:

California$3,600 – $15,200
Arizona$2,800 – $6,400
Illinois$3,000 – $9,800
Colorado$1,000 – $3,300
Maine$2,000 – $9,400
North Carolina$1,800 – $2,000
Pennsylvania$2,600 – $7,400
Nebraska$2,000 – $9,400

Percentage of Construction Cost

Architects almost always charge 8% to 15% of the total project costs. Some architects charge as much as 15% to 20% for remodeling projects and as little as 5% for new construction jobs. 

You might also find some architects who offer their services hourly if they do not have significant experience on the team. Those who work per square foot are infrequent.

Architect Cost Breakdown

New home construction
Photo: fstop123 / iStock / Getty Images

An architect will need one to four months for their initial consultation and planning. Expect first drafts to take only two days to two weeks to complete.

Typical Fee Structure

You'll likely pay a percentage of the total build on a fee schedule based on project levels (new construction vs. remodel). It will look similar to the following:

  • Basic new construction cost: 8–10%; remodels cost 10–12%

  • Basic new construction with cabinetry cost: up to 12%; remodels cost up to 14%

  • Basic new construction with cabinetry and electrical cost: up to 13%; remodels cost up to 15%

  • Basic new construction with cabinetry, electrical, and bidding cost: up to 14%; remodels cost up to 16%

  • Basic new construction with cabinetry, electrical, bidding, construction admin, and project management cost: 19%; remodels cost up to 20%

Custom House Plans

Basic construction documents average $3,000 to $8,000. Including multiple construction documents like electrical and appliances can raise the cost from $10,0000 to $60,0000. In total, you're now looking at an average cost of $30,000 for an average build price of $300,000.

What Factors Influence Architect Costs?

Typically, architectural firms will give you an estimate for your remodel based on several factors:

  • Amount of square footage to renovate or build

  • The complexity of design work needed

  • Site conditions (especially for additions)

  • Level of detail they will provide for a project

  • Experience level and capabilities as an architect

  • Materials and finishes to incorporate

Note: Local building regulations are often more stringent than the national standard. They can vary depending on the type of community (e.g., coastal or city). Your architect should be up-to-date on these local jurisdictions.

Remodel or Home Addition

Add-ons on some existing small homes or remodels cost 12% to 20% of the project's total construction costs. 

Architects charge more due to the following:

  • They expect there to be many unknowns, leading to multiple revisions

  • They are in charge of the site's architectural design, which means that they will have more hands-on work with the project

  • They have to perform oversight and provide direction for any contractors or other tradespeople

Architects know they'll likely need to be on hand as your project progresses. When you add any updates to your existing homes, such as an addition or a new bathroom, the architecture might also make minor changes. Usually, the pricing reflects any extras due to setbacks and changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

You need an architect for many reasons. For example, they ensure an efficient building process without errors. Many permitting agencies require architects to draw any construction plans and layouts before working. Designs in these two areas can have a significant impact on the approval process.

Additionally, architects help a homeowner have a clear idea of their project details before the project starts. Hence, they help unify all parties on a shared vision for the project.

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