The RIBA is to drop its fee scale graphs in the latest edition of A Client’s Guide to Engaging an Architect
The loss of the graphs, which featured percentage fees based on independent cost survey data, marks the demise of the institute’s once compulsory fee scales – abolished as mandatory in 1982 and as ‘recommended scales’ in 1992.
The RIBA maintained the revised guide would still contain concise written advice about how practices calculate fees and structure payment options.
A RIBA spokesman said: ‘The RIBA Practice Committee felt that the application of percentages based upon fee survey data was an increasingly outdated method of calculating fees, and potentially harmful in the current economic climate, and that it should be removed from this guide.
‘[We] hope to encourage architects to calculate their fees on a resource-based, time-charge or value-added basis as appropriate, in line with the approach of other construction consultants.’
The news has been met with a mixed reaction from architects. Kevin Drayton of Huddersfield practice One17 Design said: ‘Few clients genuinely understand what architects do, and fewer still appreciate the time involved.
‘Haggling over a detailed hourly rate fee quotation can be a nightmare. Being able to point to line on a simple graph or chart gives clients comfort, and minimises haggling. [However] Any architect who doesn’t know the true cost of their quotations to his or her practice will neither be saved nor sunk by a graph.’
Meanwhile, Robert Evans of Evans Vettori Architects in Derbyshire said: ‘We still use the graphs as an upper fee level benchmark. The graphs accurately reflect time needed on bespoke complex projects and I would be sad to see them go.’