Architects’ fees grew 9% to £4.2bn in 2006 and are set for a 24% increase over the next five years, according to research published by Market & Business Development.

Last year marked a five-year high for UK architects’ fees, fuelled by increased government investment and private housing activity. Earnings hit £4.2bn – up 56% from 2002.

The annual rate of growth will decline from 9% in 2006 to 2% in 2011 but there will be overall market growth of 24% between now and 2011, with fees peaking at £5.2bn.

However the research warns of a possible decline in high-profile design-intensive construction projects in the UK over the next five years.

It says the current market is artificially buoyed by work linked to the London 2012 Olympics.

The research warns of a decline in high-profile design-intensive projects

In 2006, designing commercial and industrial buildings accounted for the largest slice of fees. Practices were paid £1.9bn or 45% of the £4.2bn total.

Private housing was next on the list, generating fees of £1.3bn or 31%.

Public non-residential and public housing were in third and fourth place respectively.