There are several types of fees that architects can charge for their services
The architectural fee is a percentage of the cost of the building. Relating the architectural fee to building costs acknowledges that factors affecting the cost to build also affect the time required to design. A large and complex project will take longer to design and cost more than a small simple one. This fee is flexible, if the scope of the project increases or decreases, the overall fee can change accordingly without having to renegotiate.
This is the most flexible fee arrangement, and is often used for very small projects, or for the preparation of initial design concepts. You may choose to agree on a maximum number of hours not to be exceeded without your approval. Some projects begin with an hourly rate arrangement, then shift to a percentage or lump sum once the overall scope has been determined.
A lump sum is also a common method of setting fees, especially where the architect will not be involved in the project during the construction phase. The architect agrees on a fixed sum of money for an agreed scope of work. This has the advantage that the client knows exactly how much the architect's fee will be. However, if the project increases or decreases in size, the overall fees will be renegotiated.
Hybrid Fee Arrangement
Some projects may not fit neatly within a single category. It may be appropriate to begin work with one basis of fees with the intention of changing to another once the scope of the project is better known.