Professional architectural fees guidelines are published annually in the Government Gazette. As the name implies it gives guidelines on different types of services and recommended fee schedules. Important to note is that these fees are highly negotiable between client and architectural professional.
However, architectural professionals spend a lot of time studying and continuing their professional development over years to stay abreast of technology, trends, methods and standards to gain a wide range of skills and considerable expertise.
In South Africa there are two basic methods to calculate professional fees, the first being a TIME BASED FEE, and the second being a PROJECT COST BASED FEE. The time-based fee is a straight forward tariff per hour (excluding VAT) agreed between client and architect based on his/her level of experience, and the client only pays for the actual hours worked. This usually works well where the scope of the project has not yet been determined, or for abstract work such as investigations, reports, opinions, inspections, recommendations, or special studies.
Where the scope and complexity of the project can be clearly defined, and the required services have been agreed upon, then the project cost based fee works better, as the architect gets paid according to a sliding scale depending on the final project cost is, or if the architect is employed for a partial service, for instance, design and plan approval only, then the project cost is estimated at market-related prices.
There are six work stages in a standard architectural service and payment of fees is then apportioned according to the completion of various stages.
Some designers and draughtsmen quote on a fixed Rand per square meter (R/m²) tariff, however, this is not acknowledged by SACAP as one of the acceptable methods to calculate professional fees and should be treated with caution.