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HWA Architecture Fees

Updated: Apr 4

Following on from our blogpost on the concern of architecture fees, one of the last questions we get asked at most initial client meetings. How much will it cost us?


When comparing fees between designers / architects etc it is important to put the dollar value to the side and evaluate the actual value being offered. Costs involved in the architectural phase should be seen as the same money being spent on the project, however it is spent to ensure efficiency in the project later.


HWA offers clients the value of a thorough and collaborative design process, robust processes built on experience, and quality documentation. This reduces stress for our clients, issues arising onsite and reduces the risk of on-site variations.

For projects where fees are the primary concern clients often find themselves making changes during the build (expensive, time delays), finding the number of decisions crippling (stressful), and managing aspects of the project they are uncomfortable with (disagreements, performance standards etc.).


Secondly, we don't do this alone.. you will likely have surveyor costs, engineering assessments and council fees on top of our costs. We have preferred sub-consultants that look after our clients with fees because we are easy to work with, but they still charge fees.


View from Seatoun House

We see our value to clients as:

  • Bringing decades of experience to a project. For example, do we apply our experience to enabling a smooth and easy process for the client so time and money resources are maximised or is it our role to work on behalf of clients to challenge councils, consultants and stakeholders in order to achieve a less obvious outcome that works creatively for our clients.

  • Creativity. The double edge sword, do we go simple but clever or get more creative and out there, our initial consultation document will address this early on.

  • Using software solutions to seamlessly present designs. Autodesk, Chaos, Adobe and Epic-Games solutions allow us to tackle design solutions, variations and updates in real time, share our live virtual structures with surveyors, engineers, detailers, MEP designers for design efficiency and modern project and office management.

  • Our hardware utilises high end Hewlett Packard equipment as standard, 100% cloud based services, 360° laser scanners for accurate site measures saving time and money onsite.

  • Establishing a firm client brief - we reduce time and wasted energy by removing variables as much as possible to keep the process streamlined and on track.

  • Being aware of the budget available and how it relates to the design.

  • Co-ordinating the various sub-consultant's information.

  • Our relationships within industry are constructive, communicative and collaborative particularly with:

    • Territorial Authorities

    • Material suppliers

    • Trades people

    • Sub-consultants

  • Engaging with general contractors and trades people on-site.

  • Making or simplifying decisions.... thousands of decisions, no.. millions of decisions. The more decisions we make for clients by way of the drawings and selections leads to reduced stress and variation costs in the build process.

  • Lastly but most importantly we bring pride to our work and our reputation for delivering on hundreds of projects over 20 years.


For projects under $250,000+gst we only work to hourly rates due to each project having the same establishment costs and same compliance requirements. This often means the scope of the project often appears smaller than the actual documentation required. It's challenging to fix a fee accurately.


For projects over $250,000+gst we apply a fixed and flexible pricing model. First we fix most of the controllable design phases up front, for example:

  • Initial Consultation Document covering Site Investigation / Research and Discovery

  • Pre-Design documentation such as the brief, survey review etc.

  • Concept Design time

  • Developed Design time

  • Detailed Design*

  • Council Submission

These are all elements where we know what we're required to do and can control our time to be creative and deliver.


* Detailed Design fees are not fixed up front, this becomes fixed at the completion of Developed Design once materials and finishes are confirmed.


Flexible costs are those costs we cannot foresee at the start of a project. For these components we offer guidance on the typical time spent and our hourly rate such as:

  • Client meetings / Client facing time.

  • Concept Design revisions.

  • Developed Design revisions.

  • Resource Consent applications.

  • Council approval process.

  • Procurement of main contractors.

  • On-site requirements.

  • Contract Observation requirements.

  • Interiors advice.

  • Warrantee concerns / remediation management.


The flexible costs give clients the opportunity to be themselves, to have as much flexibility and one-on-one time as is necessary for their personal comfort regarding project and it's stages.


New Home Interior

We have very insightful guides written up here for New Homes, Alterations and Re-Clad projects that will give a specific idea on fees we charge, what is included, what is excluded and how each stage is proportioned.


We do encourage the preparation of a low-cost Initial Consultation covering Site Investigation, Research about the area, Discovery of your requirements and make comments and recommendations with respect to feasibility of the project.


Once the scope and terms of the project are in place a full and comprehensive Agreement for Architectural Design Services explaining the scope of our services provided, terms and conditions of trade, fee structure and likely sub-consultants is agreed to and signed by both our clients and ourselves before any work proceeds.


This allows a basis for trust and gives assurance and security to all involved.


Contact us here to arrange an initial client meeting and discuss your project with us in more detail.

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