Setting and negotiating fees is challenging for many architectural practices. This section offers a range of advice on valuing the work of your practice and ensuring the fee matches the work undertaken.

ACA members can also use the ACA Time/Cost Calculator to help inform fee proposals by assessing the time and costs involved for your practice to provide an appropriate level of service for a range of building types.


Fee Calculation – Part Two

28 June 2022

When it comes to making decisions on an appropriate project fee, time isn’t the only consideration. ACA Vic/Tas President Paul Viney continues his fee discussion with Madeleine Swain from AR, exploring other important factors to consider, such as risk and the value of innovation.

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Architects the Prisoners of Dilemma

10 March 2022

Michael Lewarne uses the Prisoner’s Dilemma to raise the issue of architects low balling fees and doing free work in order to win bids. What can be done to ensure architects value their work and reflect the true cost of projects when setting fees?

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Fee Calculation – Part One

20 May 2024

It’s a topic that is fraught for practices small and large, but the ACA’s Vic/Tas President is an expert. In the first of a series of articles, Madeleine Swain from AR and the ACA’s Paul Viney discuss the most important aspects of fee calculation.

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The No. 1 Mistake Architects Make With Design Fees

21 October 2019

Design fee consultant Ian Motley explains how architects can increase architectural fees and profit margins with a simple change to their pricing strategy.

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A Quick Look at Anchoring

11 October 2018

How can architects benefit from the subtle nudge of an anchor? Ian Motley takes another look at the psychology of negotiation.

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New Business Models

24 June 2018

Jennifer Crawford argues that the question of fees is really a question of business models. Architects need to work out what their ‘super power’ is, and charge accordingly.

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Is Regulation the Answer to Fee Madness?

20 June 2018

Is reintroducing fee scales and further regulation the solution to fee slashing and ‘the race for the bottom’ among architects? Is this really feasible in a world of increasing globalisation and diversification of service providers? Ceilidh Higgins considers other options.

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Addressing Architecture’s Wicked Problems through Affordances

20 June 2018

Fiona Young argues that we need to understand briefing as a key part of the architect's role, develop a common understanding with clients to ensure the best outcome, and charge fees accordingly.

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Fee Redemption: A mutually assured future

19 June 2018

The conversation about fees is taking off across social media. John Held argues that many of the contemporary problems facing architects derive from unpriced risk, and that nationwide research and smarter business practices are part of the solution.

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We Need to Talk about Money

15 October 2017

Peter Raisbeck provides a snappy outline of the ten profit drivers of small architectural practice.

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Negotiation tactics: Preconditioned to succeed

10 May 2017

Preconditioning is a negotiation tactic with a friendly facade and a dangerous bite. Ian Motley from Blue Turtle Consulting shows us how to use the preconditioning tactic to our advantage.

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Negotiation - Beware the Nibble

28 October 2016

One of the least ethical negotiation tactics clients can use is the nibble. Design fee consultant Ian Motley explains what it is and how to strategise to achieve a good outcome for all.

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Architecture and Design Fees: Why Hourly Rates?

8 October 2016

The value of a company today is based on ideas rather than assets or staff numbers, so why do architects still charge by the hour? Ceilidh Higgins explores the possibilities for non-traditional fee structures.

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Want to be More Profitable? Here's How.

11 March 2016

How can small architectural practices be more profitable? Rena Klein outlines the issues to consider, and some strategies for getting started.

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Splitting the difference

10 March 2016

Is 'splitting the difference' really fair? Ian Motley explains how to respond to suggestions in fee negotiations.

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Using the Security of Payment Act - Q&A

3 December 2015

Robert Macindoe has successfully used the Security of Payment Act to recover outstanding fees. He answers key questions about the process.

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When to Keep Silent in a Fee Negotiation

4 November 2015

Ian Motley discusses body language, the power of silence and how architects can turn these tactics to their advantage.

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Are you the Good Cop or the Bad Cop?

7 August 2015

Ian Motley provides advice on how to respond when potential clients use the 'good cop / bad cop' tactic during fee negotiations.

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Are You Negotiating Against Yourself?

12 April 2015

Ian Motley argues that fee erosion is often the result of standard negotiation tactics. He explains how to recognise when you are ‘negotiating against yourself’ and how to avoid it.

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The Art and Science of Increasing Profits

3 October 2014

Ian Motley argues that the profession needs to radically rethink the overall approach to fees and pricing work.

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Architectural Fees: what, how and where to...

2 September 2014

Antony Di Mase canvasses the complexities of setting fees and the valuing of architectural work, arguing that we need consensus on how fees are determined.

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Into the Abyss

4 August 2014

Does excessive fee-cutting mean the profession is presiding over its own demise? George Zillante outlines the issues.

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Getting Paid: Security of Payment

2 February 2014

Peter Sarlos explains the Security of Payment Act and how architects might use it to their benefit.

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Fees & Professional Indemnity Insurance

11 November 2013

Does your PI insurance preclude claims for fees? Peter Sarlos outlines the issues.

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Fees - Being Able To Do What An Architect Should Do

3 September 2013

Peter Sarlos on the challenges of calculating fees and conveying the value of an architect's work to clients.

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