The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) launched a comprehensive Fees Toolkit for architects, to help the profession combat harmful low fee bids. The Toolkit comprises the new RIBA Fees Calculator alongside the RIBA Benchmarking service.
The new RIBA Fees Calculator is designed to assist the smaller practice in preparing fee proposals that help their client to better understand the process and professionalism involved in the architects' service. The resource aims to ensure architects charge appropriately for their services and are able to properly serve their clients' needs. The Fees Calculator, which is free for all RIBA Chartered Members, has been developed by the RIBA in consultation with the RIBA Small Practice group, and is launched as a beta version using standard MS Excel software.
The RIBA's professional Business Benchmarking service for all RIBA Chartered Practices provides up to date market intelligence for practices to compare their business performance against all practices, practices of a similar size and practices in their region. The specific benchmarks include profit to turnover, profit per fee earner and turnover per fee earner, as well as average daily charge out rates and target annual chargeable hours, and analysis is also provided of a range of other business and market indicators, including client types and sectors.
"Although the RIBA cannot exert control over the individual commercial decisions which lead to destructively low fee bids, the Institute can make the profession and clients aware of the serious damage caused by unsustainable fee bids," said Ruth Reed, President of RIBA. "Architects are encouraged to spend whatever time they need to properly assess, formulate and present the details of the fee required to meet the specific requirements of the project and the client. The fee and service can then be defined, explained and agreed with the client, and can form the basis of a transparent and successful relationship. We believe that the Fees Calculator will help to achieve this goal. Used in combination with the RIBA Business Benchmarking service, we hope this will support a successful and sustainable future architects' profession. It should also improve clients' trust in the profession and increase their awareness of the value that architecture can deliver.
To assist the business effectiveness of practices, the RIBA also publishes extensive guidance on resource-based fee negotiation and management in the RIBA Good Practice Guide to Fee Management, and has also recently launched the Architect's Handbook of Practice Management: 8th Edition, which has been rewritten with an emphasis upon the practical aspects of working as an architect, and specifically includes a section with advice on how to handle fees."