How much does an architect charge in Spain?

All you need to know.
Albasini & Berkhout studio
Our studio

In Spain it´s obligatory to engage the services of a registered architect for any new building work and also for any rehabilitation work, if it includes structural changes or modifications to the façades in any way or form. It´s a good idea to ask at your local council before you do anything, or call us here at Albasini & Berkhout. Both Gabriel Albasini (Colegiado 750 COAMU) and Ernest Berkhout (Colegiado 1006 COAMU) are registered as architects to sign projects here in Murcia, Alicante and all over Spain.

While in most European countries the architect arranges the hiring of specialist engineers for structural calculations, mechanical and electrical services, quantity surveyors and energy consultants, here in Spain it is the architect that does this work, which is included in the fees. It´s only for very large jobs where this work would be sent out to specialists. This makes the architect a one stop shop for all services. You get the full package in one go.

The only other services that need to be contracted are usually:

  • The topographical survey. We send a specialist engineer with specialist equipment out to site to exactly measure the site and its contours. This is usually around 500 EUR.
  • The soil survey. Although this is only required at detail design stage, we do this right at the beginning, to avoid any surprises. The engineer drills down into the soil on the site, takes samples and tells us about the bearing capacity of the soil as well as any issues in the soil. The cost is usually around 800 EUR, depending on the complexity of the site.
  • "Visado" costs. In Spain, architects have to be licensed to practise, and each stage of the project has to get the stamp of approval from the official body, called the Colegio de Arquitectos. This carries a small cost, which we usually estimate and but in our fee proposal.
  • Before construction starts, we have to take on a technical architect to supervise the building work. This is an independent professional aparejador who makes sure all materials arriving at the site meet with required specifications, as well as supervising health and safety on site. The "aparejador" charges a percentage fee, based on the "official" budget.
  • During construction, an independent registered laboratory has to test the steel and the concrete used in the works to make sure they meet the required strength. This is an important part of quality control and gives you peace of mind. The cost of these tests is usually included in the contractor´s costing.

In Spain, there are two types of building budget. This often causes confusion among our clients, but it is to their benefit eventually. There is what is referred to as the "official" budget, which we calculate at the outset, based on estimated building area and per square metre cost. We calculate our fees on this figure, which is much lower then the eventual "real" cost of the build. The "official" budget is also used to calculate the building licence fee that has to be paid to the Town Council (usually 4%).

We base our architecture fees on a percentage of the "official" budget, and for a villa of 250 m2 it is usually around 11-12%. This may seem like a lot of money, and it is, but it's divided over the two to three years that it takes to design, define, detail, engineer, build and commission your house. There are stage payments at certain fixed points along the way.

Now it may well be that you get a quote from another architect for a much lower amount, but this can lead to disappointment. Choose your architect carefully! Ask to see their portfolio and their Professional Liability insurance, which is obligatory and rather expensive to maintain.

At A&B, we will guide you through the entire process of designing and building your house in Spain. We will represent you and defend you, making sure costs are kept under control.