How much does it cost for the design of an alteration?

Residential Additions and Alterations are much more reliant on relationships and co-operation than new builds to achieve a cost effective and attractive outcome. With a new build the restrictive parameters are reasonably simple and often self imposed, however with an alteration many factors come into consideration such as:

- The condition of the existing house

- How much affect on the existing structure can we have

- What's hiding behind the walls we can't see

- The accuracy of existing records for the building

As a result the costs to renovate are often significantly higher than the costs to build new and on top of that a generous contingency sum needs to be factored in to what you can afford to spend.

Therefore working with trustworthy people with competence in the area of alterations is non-negotiable. We will only undertake alteration work when the builder is involved early in the project, is engaged in the design and documentation stages and offers a comprehensive build cost at the end of the process.

So to the point of costs for design services. How much will Architectural Design Services cost?

At HWA for alterations we charge a fixed fee for the site measure and pre-design stages and an hourly rate for all design work and then we fix our fees for the documentation stages once the design is resolved and the scope of the documentation is fully understood.

This approach is fairly common and offers the flexibility to make changes to suit the budget during the most cost effective stages of the project.

For Example: A recent substantial alteration to a two story home in Wellington worked like this:

- Site Measure and Pre-design $3,500

- Concept Design 15hrs @ $225/hr $3,375

- Preliminary Design 22hrs @ $225/hr $4,950

- Developed Design $7,500

- Detailed Design $9,000

Total $28,325incl GST


- Variations and amendments made

during the build phase 13hrs @ 225/hr $2,925incl GST

The site and construction aspects of the project were managed by the builder who referred us to the client.

The construction cost estimate at the completion of Preliminary Design was $360,000incl GST and final build cost was just under $400,000incl GST.

This information is to be considered as a guide only. We prepare a full and comprehensive Design Service Agreement explaining the scope of services provided, terms of engagement and the fee structure which is agreed to by both yourself as the Client and ourselves before any work proceeds. This provides the foundation for a successful project and gives assurance to all parties what lies ahead and what milestones need to be met when.

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