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The Lowdown on Architectural Fees Near Kansas City

by Hoke Ley

two architects determining architectural fees in kansas city

There are several factors to think about when beginning an architectural project: location, permits, contractors, construction costs, and more. If you’re considering working with an architect, then you might be wondering exactly how architecture firms charge their clients, and what are the average costs of architectural fees near Kansas City. 

As it turns out, many architecture firms do not use a one-size-fits-all approach to architectural fee pricing. Many firms go about pricing differently based on a variety of factors. At Hoke Ley Architecture & Interior Design, we want you to feel informed about our pricing policies. That’s why we’ve laid out the answers to common questions about our pricing process and the different cost factors involved in our architectural fees.

What is the role of an architect, and how does it affect cost?

The role of an architect is many things at once: artist, technician, communicator, problem solver. But in more specific terms, an architect assembles a team of competent professionals best suited for your particular project. They act as a team leader to guide the project from conception to completion

The architect takes on the role of liaison between those individuals. That means coordinating with engineers, brainstorming with designers, acquiring building permits, and most importantly, updating and communicating with you, the client! 

Architecture is, of course, both an art and a service. The process of designing and constructing  the built environment involves many different factors, and the benefit of working with an architect is that we know how to manage those factors in a productive, time-efficient way.

Types of architectural fee structures

person making a budget of architectural fees in kansas city

Architectural fees refer to the rate of payment for the provided work. There are a few ways we go about structuring payment rates. Here’s how we bill our clients at Hoke Ley:

Flat rate fee

You have probably heard of a flat rate fee structure before. The concept is simple; you and the firm decide on a project scope of work and an associated rate of pay. The firm completes the scope of work and you are billed the flat rate for that work. 

As architectural projects are highly customizable and subject to project scope changes, pricing is considered more of an art than an exact science. For this reason, we only use the flat rate fee structure on those projects that have a definitive work scope and schedule. For example, at Hoke Ley, we provide project feasibility consultations at a flat rate fee.

Hourly fee

Hourly fee is the structure we typically use at Hoke Ley, as it’s one of the most straightforward and accurate ways to bill for our work while remaining fair for both the client and the firm. 

During your initial architecture consultation, we will speak in-depth about the details of your project, your desired goals, timelines, and foreseeable fees. This discussion allows us to provide you with an accurate estimate of the hours and fees you will accrue over the length of your project! 

Receiving your bill from the firm is straightforward; the charges will simply reflect pricing for the agreed-upon hours of work. If your project takes 100 hours of work, you are billed for 100 hours at the agreed-upon rate. Hourly fees are flexible, and allow for easy adjustments if the scope of the project shifts. Contact us to learn more about our hourly rates!

Blended fee

Sometimes, firms use a blended architectural fee structure that incorporates both an hourly and flat rate fee during different phases of a project. For example, a client may want the opportunity to explore multiple design concepts during the initial design phase. Later, during the remaining phases, they may want to stick to a typical scope of work. In this instance, the firm might bill an hourly fee for the initial design phase to provide flexibility for exploration. Then, a fixed fee could be implemented for the rest of the project!  


Another less common way to structure architectural fees is the design-bid-build framework. Think of it like a buffet bar for clients where we, the architects, create customizable, bite-size designs that the clients can choose from. 

Clients bid on these pre-made designs, purchase them for a flat rate, and use them for their own construction purposes. We do this with our sister company called Porch Light Plans!

How scope of work and deliverables affect architectural fees

Our custom architecture process includes five distinct phases, starting from the project genesis and working their way to the finished product. The phases are:

  • Phase 1: Programming/ Pre-Design
  • Phase 2: Schematic design
  • Phase 3: Design development
  • Phase 3.5: Interior design and development
  • Phase 4: Construction documentation
  • Phase 5: Construction administration

Each of these phases includes different deliverables. Take, for example, phase 3. Some of the included goal completions for this phase are:

  • Floor plans
  • Roof plan
  • Exterior elevations
  • Wall/floor/roof assemblies
  • Window schedule
  • Door schedule 

Depending on the level of detail and complexity brought to each of these elements, the scope of work for phase 3 may change. To give some context to this, let’s take a step into a pretend architecture world:

Pretend world #1

Imagine that for the whole of your life, all you’ve wanted was to live in a spacious, one-floor ranch-style home. It has an open floor plan and 2 four-paned windows facing the front yard. What a beautiful dream home it is! 

Pretend world #2

Now imagine you’re the kind of person who goes crazy for the looming, three-story Victorian style homes. You prefer your architecture equipped with long, twisting staircases, intricate woodwork frames, and turrets on the exterior to top it all off. This project is just as beautiful as the ranch style home, but very different!

Pretend scope of work

While the framework of our project phases stays the same, the scope of work is going to vary greatly based on the deliverables and the level of detail. The Victorian project is going to require our team to spend more time producing intricate details of the project, whereas the ranch home will be fairly simple in all facets of design and construction. Therefore, the price of architectural fees will vary between these two projects based on the effort required to complete each home.

As you can see, it can be tricky to determine exact architectural fees before sitting down with your architect to discuss your project. Every person has different tastes and different priorities when it comes to bringing their dream project to fruition. That is why it’s beneficial to have an experienced architect in your corner.

Listen to Katie Hoke discuss what it actually costs to work with an architect!

Interior design costs

a gorgeous interior design of a kitchen

At Hoke Ley, we provide breathtaking interior design services that allow you to personalize your space! This phase is one of our favorites, as the designers and the clients have fun choosing appliances, light fixtures, tiling, and other customized selections. The scope of work for interior design includes options for:

  • Main Living Spaces
  • Kitchen
  • Bathroom
  • Lighting Design
  • Interior Doors and Hardware Selection
  • Interior Construction Documents
  • Construction Administration 

After you have discussed taste and design style with our design team, we will present two design options for each category for review and selection. 

Our interior design services are billed in the same way as the architectural design services. The higher the level of detail, the more hours it requires for completion. So while the hourly rate stays fixed, your bill for interior design will depend upon the number of hours worked!

Commonly asked questions about architectural fees in Kansas City

How quickly can I get a quote for the architectural fees?

Following our initial project feasibility consultation, our team will work diligently to get a thorough understanding of the scope of work necessary to complete your project. This includes the estimated number of hours it would take to complete. This allows us to provide you with an extremely accurate estimate of your project budget within 5 to 7 days. 

How do you decide how much time something is going to take?

Our experienced team uses a variety of factors to make educated estimates of how many hours of labor each phase will take. We refer to previous projects of similar scope to see the consistent time frames of different tasks within the project, and calculate time as accurately as possible. 

What happens if the project exceeds the contracted scope of work?

If the project exceeds the scope of work, additional service fees will be required and billed at the hourly rate. A time estimate will be provided for your review and approval prior to work commencing on any scope changes.

About Hoke Ley Architecture & Interior Design Studio

Founded in 2016, we are a small and passionate team of creatives, dreamers, builders, and doers. Our versatile abilities allow us to embrace projects of all scales and budgets. From affordable housing to equestrian facilities, we focus our design process on the user and how they will interact with the built environment. 

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Ready to take the next step?

Whether you have questions about cost factors, building material, sustainability, or anything else, reach out to us to schedule a consultation! We would be more than happy to discuss your project and how it is we can get your dream space to a reality.