Architects' Time/Cost Calculation Guide

9 February 2015

The Architects’ Time/Cost Calculation Guide is a vital tool to assist practices in assessing the time and associated costs involved in providing an appropriate level of service for a broad range of building types.

Log in to the Architects Time / Cost Calculation Guide

The Guide provides a fundamental knowledge base for practices when developing fee proposals and budgets, based in the specifics of their practice. It can be used by practices of all sizes for a wide range of building types, and accommodates a range of service levels and procurement types.

The calculation guide combines information supplied by users about their practice’s overheads, costs, expertise and project particulars with historic data about required hours to generate a suggested fee. It enables practices to tailor this information and knowledge to the particulars of their office. 

The Guide means that architects are better informed about the real time and costs associated with projects, and will, therefore be in a better position to negotiate fees that represent adequate time and resources to complete commissions to an appropriate standard. This is to the benefit of all.

The Architects’ Time/Cost Calculation Guide is an ACA member resource, and is available to all members at no cost.

Accessing the Guide

The guide will be launched in Melbourne on 5 March. This is followed by seminars at each branch to introduce members to the Guide and how to use it. (See here for details of the release schedule.) Access to the Guide will be on a branch-by-branch basis following the seminars.

Log in to the Architects Time / Cost Calculation Guide here

You will need your member number to set up an account – you will receive a reminder email with this number following the launch for your branch. 

Follow the instructions below to obtain your login details and then login in.

Step 1. To access the Guide for the FIRST time 

Enter your ACA member number into the box on the RIGHT hand side of the screen. Click 'Get Account Details'. You will then be emailed your login details. Keep these is a safe place and use them to login all subsequent times.

Step 2. To access the Guide subsequent times 

Enter your login details (as received through step 1) into the box on the LEFT hand side of the screen.

Do not try to login using your ACA website login details 

The ACA Architects’ TIme/Cost Calculaton Guide has its own login, which is separate to your login details for the ACA website. This ensures appropriate security for all.

For further assistance, email the helpline [email protected]

Time Cost instrections

The Guide Process 

The Architects’ Time/Cost Calculatation Guide provides a four-step process:

  • Steps 1 and 2 allow practices to calculate their office overheads and office variables – this means that the cost calculations for each project are specific to the particulars of the individual practice. The data entered for Step 1 and 2 remain in place over time, and can be readily edited as practice circumstances change. 
  • Step 3 identifies the estimated range of hours required for the project, based on multiple sets of historic data for different project types.
  • Step 4 identifies a charge-out rate for the project based on the information supplied about the practice and the project. Individual practices must then make their own adjustments in relation to project hours – based on specific knowledge of the expertise and experience within the practice. This enables the architect to determine a fee appropriate to their circumstances.

If you have queries about using the guide please contact us at [email protected].


The Guide has two levels of access:

  • Practice Directors
    Directors have access to all steps. This enables them to enter information about office overheads and variables into Step 1 and 2, as well as completing the project specific information for Steps 3 and 4.
  • Project Architects
    Project architects have access to Steps 3 and 4 only. This allows them to calculate time and costs for particular projects, without being privy to the office’s financial data.

We hope you find the Guide useful. 


Paul Viney led the development of the ACA Architects’ Time/Cost Calculation Guide on behalf of ACA – Vic/Tas, and Jeff Beach of Big Dog Software built it. The ACA thanks Paul and Jeff for the enormous commitment they have made to this project, which will become a highly effective tool for architects across Australia.