Fee Proposal

Modern glazed timber box extension

Fee Proposal

Our design services are underpinned by over 400 completed projects as a design & build business. Experience acquired across the past 20 years. 

Drawing on this knowledge, we’ve created a competitive and affordable fee structure that’s based on efficient design service. We intrinsically understand how projects are built and how much they cost. So we don’t waste time developing designs that can’t be delivered in the real world.  

We’ve broken our fee structure into separate stages of the design process. This means you can choose the stages you want. You will only be charged for the work we undertake.  

Modern terrace with city views

How do we calculate our fees? 

All of our fees are based on time. We estimate the time required based on previous projects and experience. This allowance will reflect the scale and complexity of the project. 

The fee is broken into clearly defined stages, outlining what you will receive at each stage. The initial fee proposal will be provided after our first site meeting or telephone call. But, once we have a more detailed brief, this fee is subject to change.  

What do traditional architectural practices charge? 

You might expect to pay an architect around 7-10% of the project’s total construction cost (not including any project management, contract administration or interior design).  

We calculate our fees on a time basis. Like-for-like, our total project fees typically end up being around 5-6% of the total construction cost. But this does not include any detailed Interior Architecture package. 

Balconies and glass extensions

How are you able to offer lower design fees than a traditional architectural practice? 

Because of our experience delivering over 400 projects. It manifests in two key ways: 

  • We understand how much it costs to build things and what works on the ground – so avoid wasting time designing details that will need to be redrawn to meet building regulations or when a structural engineer gets involved.
  • We have a huge catalogue of design details that we can draw upon – saving time instead of reinventing the wheel.
Crittall internal doors

Rooflight detail

Not your typical Architectural Studio

How does working with Moon DESIGN differ from appointing a standard local architectural practice?

It’s close to their offering. But there are some big differences.

The typical issues that we hear from people who have appointed a local architect are:

“They came up with a lovely design, but when we got it priced by a builder it was way over our budget. We had to go back to the drawing board, resulting in more fees”

Having delivered over 400 projects, we know a thing or two about the cost implications of design solutions. We don’t design in a cost vacuum. We aim to marry, as best we can, the design solution with your budget.

Double height kitchen with bookcase design

“Our building contractor found the drawings difficult to follow and often impossible to execute”

Again, our heritage as builders as well as designers means that the knowledge of how buildings are constructed is embedded deep within our DNA. After all, it’s your home and project, not a test ground for unproved details or a portfolio piece for us.

“They weren’t very interested in the interior aspects”

It is quite common for architectural practices avoiding getting too involved with the interior architecture. Our history tells us that this is the aspect our clients are often most excited by. Moon DESIGN provide a full interior architecture service.

Rear timber extension with raised terrace

“They weren’t able to give me a good indication of the project costs at the concept stage”

Providing an estimate or budget requires a wealth of experience of delivering projects on the ground. Moon has this experience and can offer a Budget Review service after the concept stage to help guide the design development.

“Their fee was based on the build cost which meant their fees were very high”

We have never really understood this traditional approach to fees for domestic projects. We work on a time basis and a fee that is based on what each individual client needs. By breaking up the fee into bite-sized chunks we can provide a bespoke fee structure to reflect the services you need; not a catch-all service that means you pay for services you don’t need. Think of it as a ‘pay as you go’ fee structure.

Four tread winder stair

Appointing your Structural Engineer

The majority of projects undertaken by Moon DESIGN require the services of a Structural Engineer.

Structural Engineers design and size structural elements such as foundations, steel beams and columns, Glulam and timber beams, sometimes designing more complex padstone and connection details. They will assess the safety, strength, and durability of the structure. They also provide the calculations for Building Control.

You appoint the Structural Engineer directly, this creates a sound contractual relationship between you and them and allows you to have an on-going relationship with them if needed as your project progresses through the construction phase. Moon do not leave you to search the internet to find a suitable company, we have done this for you. They will invoice you directly for their services.

We have built good working relationships with several different tried and tested Structural Engineering companies. Sometimes we ask two or three to provide a fee quote for their services, but on some occasions we choose who we think is best suited to the type of project and its structural complexity, and who will find the most appropriate solution. Who can best conform to the time scale, and geographical location also play a part in the choice.

Moon’s design and construction knowledge means that we can establish the principals of the design solution and structural member sizes, this allows our brief to the Structural Engineer to often resolve most of the issues thus making the Engineers work easier and more cost effective.

We periodically check our pool of engineers for good value against the marketplace, and they have proven they are good value and provide the right level of service. They are not the cheapest, as we believe the cheapest doesn’t represent good value in either time or energy. Cheap fees tend to result in a clumsy and more expensive design solution that ends up impacting the architecture of the scheme. We don’t consider this to be a sensible area to try and save money.

It is worth noting that the Engineer may need to visit site either during design stage or during construction, it is the industry norm that this is charged on an hourly basis, as forecasting what is required is very difficult. Also, certain assumptions about ground conditions, wall and/or floor construction and condition are made in the design phase. The start of the construction process can reveal differences in these assumptions, and can mean a change in the design solution, or additional works for the Engineer and/or your builder.

Porch detail

Proceeding at Risk

The general rule is to wait until you have received your planning permission before starting the Building Regulation Drawings.

However, there are times when this rule becomes less important and the Building Regulation drawings can be started earlier, this is known as ‘proceeding at risk’. 

What is proceeding at risk?

Proceeding at risk is when your architect or technician starts the building regulation drawings before you have the Planning approval. It means that you can use the time period of the planning process, often 8-10 weeks, to progress the project and resolve the construction drawings. 

This also enables other professionals such as the structural engineer to become involved at an earlier stage. The process of co-ordinating the structural design and construction drawings can take weeks depending on the complexity of the project.

By starting this process during the planning stage, you will be able to start your project soon after planning consent is granted- subject to contractor availability of course. 

What is the risk?

The risk will be determined by the sensitivity of the planning application, the planning constraints such as Conservation area status etc. Moon DESIGN will discuss these risks with you and make a recommendation of the likely outcome of the planning application. If we feel there is a real risk of the application being refused we will not recommend  ‘proceeding at risk’.

The risk will be the Stage 3 Fees set out in your fee proposal, or at least part of those fees depending on when it becomes apparent that a planning consent looks unlikely. 

The other risk will be any third party fees such as a structural engineer or CCTV footage for a drain survey. 


Moon DESIGN will provide you with advice on the Planning risk, but it is not in our control and therefore we cannot take any responsibility for applications that are refused. If an application is refused, we can always re-submit making the necessary changes. This approach will usually allow for part of the Building Regulation drawings to be re-used or altered, reducing the wasted time & fees. 

Ultimately, the decision to ‘proceed at risk’ must be yours, as there is no such thing as a guaranteed planning approval. Therefore, we can not be held responsible for the cost of any wasted time and fees as the result of an unsuccessful planning application.

A Recipe for Living

The kitchen has always been the heart of a home, just as it was the heart of Jonathan and Emma’s brief. A space to cook, entertain and come together. Somewhere to chat as flour spills over the counter. 

The delight is in the detail. German made carcasses combined with bespoke white Corian doors and work surfaces by Moon Joinery. The back units are fitted under the ground floor landing. This provides a sense of scale and a more intimate enclosure beneath the new double height space.

Emma and Jonathan wanted the hob on the island to make cooking a more sociable occupation. With no ceiling above, we used a downdraft extractor. A variety of matte whites provide a timeless finish. The splashback is hand painted wallpaper – an injection of colour that can be changed as tastes evolve.

From this core, we worked outwards. Doors integrated into the tall back units lead to the rooms behind. At one end: a pantry, cellar and utility room. At the other: a multi-use family room. A space where the kids do their homework, play computer games and watch films. Not always in that order. 

A new cantilevered staircase leads down from the ground floor, replacing the old steep and poky servants’ stairs. While a large dining space leads out to the terrace, through a new extension with a large slim-framed glazed sliding wall.

Jonathan and Emma’s love of books is put on display thanks to a double height bookcase. Following much discussion as to the correct strategy for organising the collection, a simple alphabetical approach was adopted.

Down one of the corridors is a panelled door from their old house in London, used to record the heights of the children as they grew. A little bit of family history integrated into the new house. 

The story continues. 

Concealed Beauty

Hansgrohe iBox

Innocuous in appearance, yet beautifully considered, the Hansgrohe iBox is a testament to form following function.

Invented by Alois Schönweger, the universal shower installation unit is built directly into the bathroom wall. The concealed nature of the device allows plumbers to connect or replace any type of shower fixture without the need for major construction work.

Designed for use with all common installation systems, connection types and fittings, the rotationally symmetric box has now been used in over seven million new builds and refurbishments since its launch in 2001. 

The perfect example of beautiful functionality.