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44CE - Design Fee Psychology & Design Fee Negotiation

09 May 2014 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM

3 ConEd Learning Hours

Part 1 - Design Fee Psychology

Although many of us believe that we make financial decisions based on rational financial criteria, this is seldom the case. This presentation introduces 5 key concepts from the field of Behavioral Finance to demonstrate why your clients make the financial decisions they make and the crucial role that emotions play in the design fee proposal and negotiation process. Key Concepts:

  • Concept 1: Power of Presentation
  • Concept 2: Anchoring and Adjustment
  • Concept 3: Mental Accounting
  • Concept 4: Reward + Punishment (Introduction to ‘Prospect Theory’)
  • Concept 5: Losses + Gains (Introduction to ‘Hedonic Framing’)

Part 2 - Design Fee Negotiation

When negotiating design fees many of us believe that reducing our fee is the only way to win new work and resolve conflict. During this presentation we demonstrate a better way to negotiate by showing participants how to respond to the 7 most common ‘tactics and tricks’ used against design professionals to force fee reductions during the fee proposal and negotiation process. Key Concepts:

  • Preconditioning/Hot Potato
  • Negotiating Against Yourself
  • Good Cop, Bad Cop
  • Splitting the Difference
  • The Power of Silence
  • Body Language
  • The Nibble
  • The Strategies of Principled Negotiation


Alexandra Howieson studied Architecture at the University of Sydney where she received awards and scholarships for her achievements in Architectural Science, Architectural Design, Urban Design and Planning and overall academic performance. After graduation, Alex moved to London to accept a sponsored position with Foster + Partners where she was instrumental in the design and documentation of several key projects in Asia and the Middle East. Alexandra is a Registered Architect in NSW, Australia and has presented on the subjects of behavioural finance and pricing strategies for the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA), the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA), Emerging Architects Network (DARCH), the Building Designers Association (BDA) and many private companies. Alex has also been a panelist for the Design Institute of Australia’s DIAlogues series discussing Free-Bidding and Undercutting.

Ian Motley graduated from university in the UK with a BSc in Building Science [Project Management]. Prior to starting Blue Turtle Consulting, Ian was an Associate Partner with Foster + Partners firm of Architects in London, where he was responsible for proposing and negotiating design fees and appointment terms and conditions for many of Foster + Partners’ new design projects around the world. Before joining Foster + Partners, Ian worked in the United States managing commercial, residential and industrial projects throughout the country. Ian has also worked on development projects in Spain and Honduras where he learnt to read, write and speak Spanish. Ian has been a guest speaker at design fee negotiation presentations held by design institutes and private companies around the world. Ian has also written and published a series of guides on the subjects of architectural fees, appointments and negotiations.