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Really need advice on professional fees (I've got to suggest how much we are willing to pay)

(21 Posts)
Twiglett Wed 22-Jun-05 12:06:00

Basically employed an architect to look at dining room / kitchen .. on the basis of we have this budget and it is fixed .. he gave us a fixed fee to a 'design we were happy with'

well after first design being WOW but totally out of budget, 2nd design being completely off brief and 3rd design just him drawing up our thoughts we gave up and have decided just to use the money to refurbish existing space

he has now asked us to 'suggest a figure we think his service has been worth' and he'll let us know whether its acceptable?

what do I do? suggest half? ask him to tell us?


TracyK Wed 22-Jun-05 12:07:38

how many hours has he spent in total?

Twiglett Wed 22-Jun-05 12:09:09

I have no way of knowing .. he's probably been here for 3 hours (collecting and going through initial written brief and measuring up)

elliott Wed 22-Jun-05 12:11:36

hmm he sounds a bit disorganised imo!
We've just had an architect to draw up plans for an extension. He set out fees for each stage of the process, but he'd already spent a couple of evenings (about 2 hours each time)discussing our ideas before we formally engaged him. That time was free.
I think we paid a few hundred for him to do drawings of the existing whole house (he had to measure all the rooms) and a similar amount again to produce outline drawings of the project.
I suppose if you think what your architect has finally done is helpful then maybe a reasonable figure might be £200 ish? based on it only being a kitchen and dining room rather than a big extension?
But its bizarre for him to ask you to name a price isn't it!

elliott Wed 22-Jun-05 12:12:41

how much was his fixed fee? Do you think he fulfilled the brief - I mean is it that you have decided not to do it or that you are not happy with what he has done?

TracyK Wed 22-Jun-05 12:14:03

Initial consultation should be free. We paid our 2nd architect £400 to design a 2 storey extension. What was the fee he was looking for?
But we did pay our 1st architect £600 plus vat for exactly the same thing as you - WOW but far too expensive!

throckenholt Wed 22-Jun-05 12:15:54

I would say if he didn't ever produce something that was what you asked him for, and you never had a contract to start with - or even a list of the price before you started, then you don't owe him much.

You might like to try and architectural technician instrad - they are generally cheaper.

Twiglett Wed 22-Jun-05 12:21:34

ok this job involved taking down wall between kitchen and dining room and putting new kitchen somewhere (possibly in the old dining room) - looking at windows and doors as well .. his fixed fee till we were happy was £875 net so just over £1K including VAT

no, we don't feel he fulfilled the brief as we gave him our budget up front and asked him if it was feasible before we provided him with a full written brief ... we found the whole process quite disappointing to be honest (from a stage of total excitment)

elliott Wed 22-Jun-05 12:25:57

that's quite a lot more than our architect charged for a bigger job (I guess you're somewhere in the SE)
how much do you want to argue/fight?
I suppose in your position I might go for offering half.

Twiglett Wed 22-Jun-05 12:27:50

Yeah we're in London and we checked out his costs and he seemed quite reasonable (he's also a very nice man and a talented architect I'm sure he just couldn't seem to work to brief within budget)

so you think half is fair?

or should I get him to suggest?

TracyK Wed 22-Jun-05 12:30:03

Did you use ANY of his ideas? are you ever going to use any of his ideas? or not do the refurb at all? I'd offer him £200 to cover his costs. £875 seems a bit steep to start with.
I remember being so excited to see my first architects stuff too - and being a bit let down when he came back to us. He spent the first 45 mins of the presentation showing us photos of what 'could' be achieved with other houses - mainly London properties - nothing like ours! He was so 'hip' and poo pooed our practical thoughts that we had in mind for a 'family' life with a new baby. tho we ended up paying him the money as we hadn't really thought about other options. Ended up getting a guy from our village to do the plans and he was much better and was much more 'technically' aware eg - rsj loadings etc.

throckenholt Wed 22-Jun-05 12:32:19

can you face suggesting you draw him what you want and he makes it work technically. That is basically what we did with our architect. It doesn't sound particularly difficult. Can you draw out your ideas to scale ?

I would say until he does what you asked for no money. So far he doesn't seem to have produced anything "fit for the purpose".

elliott Wed 22-Jun-05 12:32:22

well, its a difficult position isn't it, and I'm probably not the best at negotiating in these circumstances! If you are prepared to pay half then you lose nothing by suggesting it, don't you?

Twiglett Wed 22-Jun-05 12:47:22

the 3rd plan was him working up rough drawings we'd done on the sketched blank plan of our existing house (on his last email he said 'I felt we were getting closer on the last plan' .. well duh that's what we did, he just drew the straight lines)

no we aren't using any of the drawn up plans .. we're redoing kitchen similar to a neighbour's kitchen which we've since seen .. and doing it through a local kitchen shop

I think I would feel comfortable offering him £500 in total .. although it does feel like I'm just throwing it away

Twiglett Wed 22-Jun-05 12:48:47

if I asked him to suggest maybe he'd come in lower?? that's the killer though .. I certainly don't want to start bargaining with him .. I don't like bartering

zubb Wed 22-Jun-05 12:56:49

we paid our architect just under a £1000 for the site survey / initial plans and informal discussions with the planning office (RIBA stage C). This involved 3 visits and quite a few draft plans. The fee was worked out on the estimated cost of the build.
Crucially the wording in the contract said 'prepare outline plans for your approval' so until we were happy with it all nothing was paid.

If he didn't think it was possible to get the design you wanted for the budget then he shouldn't have taken on the job, so I would say that really he shouldn't be paid as he hasn't fulfilled his part of the deal. However, as you don't now want him to come up with a design anyway make him an offer - say £300 and see what he says. You can always go higher if you need to, but if you go in high you can't lower it.

TracyK Wed 22-Jun-05 16:42:02

I'd say £500 was a bit generous! as you say - you have nothing to show for it -although if you were to ever sell your house you could pass the drawings onto the new people.

elliott Wed 22-Jun-05 17:05:12

ok my final word on this - think zubb is probably right, offer £300 and then you can raise it to £500 if necessary and that will probably generate more goodwill.

Twiglett Wed 22-Jun-05 17:10:48

right so I'll offer him £300

should I offer to let him come round and inspect the kitchen to confirm for himself that we have not progressed either of his plans (nor even the plans we asked him to draw up based on our scribbles?) .. it will be finished by end July?

sorry can't seem to do this on my own

TracyK Wed 22-Jun-05 20:11:41

If it was me I'd put a cheque in the post with a nice polite letter, explaining you rreasoning behind the amount you are offering. also you could offer in the letter for him to inspect your kitchen now.

Twiglett Wed 06-Jul-05 13:40:11

Just as an update .. he just invoiced me for £300 plus some small admin charges and VAT (he hadn't responded to the email)

so thank you very much for all your input I feel quite relieved that this is over with

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