With interest rates and building costs rising, and a growing focus on the environmental credentials of any new homes and renovations, there’s now more pressure on home owners to choose the right experts for their project.
Major construction work to your home is an enormous process, so it makes sense to have the very best experts on hand to get you the best results and guide you past the pitfalls. People may choose to engage a draftsperson, a building design or a qualified architect to prepare plans for their project.
There’s a wide variation in costs across and within each of these service providers. More importantly, there’s a vast difference in the qualifications and experience that each brings to the job, and also the level of service you get.
10 tips for making money from your project
- Design Concept must be FIRST CLASS
- Working drawings must be detailed and accurate
- Don’t use expensive fittings & fixtures
- Make sure your Builder/Subbies don’t substitute
- Construction system must be economical
- Room sizes must be efficient
- “Architect Designed” can add 10% to value
- Minimum of 3 prices for all work
- Your contract should have ‘liquidated damages’
- Add value – not cost
Source – Archicentre
Drafts person, Building Designs & Architects
What is the difference between a draftsperson, a building designer and an architect?
In most cases, designs by a draftsperson are largely led by the client, with the draftsperson directly translating their ideas into a plan. However, most home owners would like to explore their options, after all it usually is their largest investment in life.
An architect is trained to manage the entire design process with frequent consultation with the client to ensure the end product is something special and something that goes beyond their initial expectations and adds value to their home.
Building designers come from a wide range of backgrounds, with a large variety of skills and experience. Some have qualifications in drafting and building. Others have degrees in architecture but haven’t completed the full training to be registered as an architect.
One important thing that technically differentiates building designers and architects apart, from the level of training is that in most cases they don’t do full project management. If they do project management they have to organise a different level of insurance.
In terms of cost, building designers are sometimes but not always cheaper than architects and their charges vary widely depending on the scope of service offered.
What does an Architect do?
While architects are generally recognised as being the leaders when it comes to home design, it seems few people have a full understanding of exactly what they do. To begin with, many people aren’t aware of the extensive training an architect undergoes. Architects do a six-year university course, then two years additional training before they can be registered with the Board of Architects.
In the same way people are usually not aware of the broad scope of knowledge and skill that training covers, or the extensive service that architects offer throughout a building process. “An architect is trained in a multi-discipline,” says Angus Kell, the state manager of the NSW and ACT branch of Archicentre.
“You can engage an architect to do as little as draw up plans for your home, but they’re also licensed and insured to project manage the entire construction process.”
The use of the title “architect” is strictly regulated. It is reserved by law in NSW as well as with other States and Territories in Australia and in many countries overseas. Only persons who are registered as architects may use the title “architect”, or descriptions such as “architectural” which derive from it.
There’s design, documentation, construction, legal issues regarding contracts, and they’re trained in understanding building codes and compliance. You can engage an architect to do as little as draw up plans for your home, but they’re also licensed and insured to project manage the entire construction process.
It is estimated that using an architect adds a 10 per cent premium to the value of a house. Since architects charge on a basis of 10-15% of the construction cost of your home, you could argue that the architects fees are absorbed by the value added to your home. The value of your home will increase exponentially when house prices rise, the architects fee is a small part of this capital growth process.
What people don't want
- An ugly house – not what you expected
- Cost blowout – costly variations
- Delays – and you can’t get the builder back
- Over capitalisation – common
- Bad workmanship – a dodgy builder, substandard work, rip off
A renovated home is unique unlike a display home. There are many benefits to renovating as opposed to buying and moving to a new home.
- You can stay where you are and enjoy the benefits of your location including schools, transport, neighbours, parks etc and everything that attracted you to your location originally
- no stamp duty
- no legal fees and agents fees
- no mortgage establishment fees
- no moving costs
- no bridging finance
It is estimated that these costs can be between $40,000-$80,000 for a move from one house to another of equal value.
Building a new home
The options are as follow:
Project Home – economical, commonplace, indistinctive, one size fits all.
Package Builders (or Design and Construct) – This is where the builder designs and builds your house. There are problems with this option. You do not own the drawings and cannot take then to other builders for competitive pricing. Also, the cost of design and plans is built into the package cost. This method can cost 20-25% and more than the tendering process.
Negotiated Contract – This is where you have already a builder, it may be a builder friend or perhaps someone recommended to you. This can risky as there is no way of comparing prices. Potentially you could pay much more for your project than if you use the tendering process.
Custom Design – with a complete set of detailed drawings prepared by your architect, you can go out to tender and get preferably 3-4 builders prices as the drawings are yours. It’s comparing apples with apples. This is the most cost effective way of building your home. Detailed drawings also usually mean fewer expensive variations.