How Much Do Architects Charge For An NYC Renovation Project?

How Much Do Architects Charge For An NYC Renovation Project?

(EDITOR’S NOTE: A great article here found on on the methods architects use to determine their fees. For recommendations on architects or designers for your NYC renovation project, contact us for our list of recommendations. -RJ)

NYC Renovation Questions: How Much Do Architects Charge?

An excerpt from a post that originally appeared on on January 16. 2013

by Tracy Kaler


Mabbott Seidel renovated this Hudson River duplex and used the percentage of construction method for billing.

Q. How are architects compensated? Do they negotiate their fees?

A. Methods of compensation vary depending on the architect.

The two most common options are a fixed fee or a percentage of the cost of construction.

Occasionally, architects will charge hourly. Usually that’s just for smaller projects or in the interim until the scope is accurately defined, or it can be for work outside the scope of the project.

Pricing can vary drastically among firms. Less experienced firms with a smaller portfolio of work will more than likely have lower fees (possibly as much as 25 to 50 percent lower) than an AD100 architect (top firms selected by Architectural Digest).

Fixed fees

Architects Anthony Paul Arnold and Bryon Thomas Russell of Manhattan-based Syndicate Architecture say fixed fees are their preference.

“We decide to use a fixed fee when the scope of services can be precisely defined, our client understands what is and is not included, and our firm is confident that the services can be managed within a given budget,” says Arnold.

When the scope is less clear, the firm proposes a fixed fee initially, and will later use add-on fees for anything not included in the original agreement.


Gordon Kahn of Manhattan-based GK Associates prefers to use “percentage of the cost of construction and materials specified under the direction of the architect.” This may is sometimes referred to as a “cost-plus.”

His firm charges 20 percent, which is average. This percentage is on top of the actual cost of the renovation and the materials specified by the architect and approved by the client. If, for example, the total cost of your renovation is $200,000, your final cost including architects’ fees would be $240,000.”

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About the Editor:

RJ Diaz is a renovation and remodeling construction management executive in New York City. RJ is passionate about high quality, well-crafted construction and started RenovatingNYC in 2010 to share news and information specific to the industry as well as profile the best resources essential for a project’s success. For advice about your own renovation or remodeling plans, preliminary cost estimates and project opportunities, please contact RJ using the form below.