What is value management?
In architect’s speak value management is an effective tool for helping us to help you. It assists you to understand the real implications of your requirements (otherwise known as the design brief).
Value management shares the decision-making. It empowers you to make
critical decisions when it comes to your home’s design and budget.
Some days I feel like I am a lawyer, as I am constantly dealing with legal issues to protect my clients. These rang from planning requirements, building permit issues, to administrating a construction contract on site between the owner and builder.
Planning requires skills in understanding the legislations and rescode, which assists in the town planning negotiation stage with planners and neighbours. It makes it a lot easier to stand your ground when you know what your talking about and you have received an unreasonable objection. It also commands a greater respect from the planners.
Who needs an architect?
This is a great informative video clip illustrating that Architects work on projects of all sizes and complexity, and that they can add value from design and construction to the resale of your home. Warning: it is slightly cheesy.
This image is of the concrete, which has been formed on site, for one of my inner-city Melbourne projects. It has been used for the kitchen joinery, on the sides and the bench top. For the bench top a smooth concrete surface was created, whilst the sides were as per the image. I love the materiality of the concrete, it almost looks like limestone. The use of concrete was my client’s wonderful idea, whilst the builders did an amazing job, which included some experimentation. This is what I call true collaboration: client, builder and architect.
image by Tax Credit via flickr
It has come to my attention that my approach to budgets may be different to the majority of architects.
This is where my point of difference lays. Firstly, I discuss with the client what they would like to achieve. As you can suspect a lot of client’s needs and aspirations far exceed their budgets; so I then work closely with the client to see what can be achieved within their budget.
I suspect a lot of architects establish the client’s brief then announce the estimated cost; which normally exceeds the client’s budget. This results in the architect not being engaged.
Clients have budgets and it is important to keep within these budgets. The last thing you want on a project is for the client’s dreams to be turned into a nightmare with costs exceeding their budgets. It is the architect’s role to keep the project within the Cost of Works budget; and it is important to have contingencies to prevent overruns of costs. It is vital to communicate clearly to the client when an added item or a design change will affect their budget; then they can make a considered decision on whether they want to proceed with this. Life is too short to have the unnecessary burden of debt.
I have a thing for small projects. I adore doing residential renovations and extensions in the inner-city of Melbourne. It ticks all my boxes. It gets me excited.
Firstly, you get to work with existing homes. The inner-city of Melbourne has some beautiful period homes. I adore their detailing with their ornate cornices, ceiling roses, skirting and architraves. I am happy to restore; however, I never recreate. To me recreating has a level of dishonesty. It is always void of the years of use – and often layers of paint – that gives it added character. Re-creating period homes simply does not work. Trust me. I also love how these houses represent a period of time in the past.
image by Jake Bellucci via flickr
People dream about their ideal homes.
And to turn people’s dreams in to reality, one needs to build a level of trust with their clients. It is such a huge responsibility. You are not only managing their cost of works budget you are also managing their expectations. There is so much emotion invested when it comes to residential designs; as you are often dealing with people’s dreams.
The existing floor plan
This project is located in Newport in the inner-city of Melbourne. My client came to me with the desperate need of additional space; and they did not want to relocate to a new property due to the costs involved (stamp duty, relocation costs, etc.).
Their brief was simple. The additional accomodation they required was a fourth bedroom and an ensuite. They also wanted to a new kitchen and bathroom.
The restriction included the Building Regulations setback requirements; which prevented a second storey being build (I was also concerned about the increased costs; along with additional area required for a stair). My clients also did not want to extend into their rear garden – neither did I.
The proposed floor plan
The existing plan was reworked and extended. The design cleverly took advantage of the narrow space beside the house – the area which is never used for anything. The increase in area of 7.5sqm was minimal.
To think my clients were able to achieve one additional bathroom, walk-in-robe and bedroom; with only 7.5sqm of additional floor space is amazing. Plus the estimate come in well under budget. That is what I call a happy client.
I love working on inner-city residential projects. The sites are small, challenging and require creative solutions.
Typically the clients are desperate for additional space. They have the option of relocating or renovating.
They have looked at moving; but don’t want to give up their current location and lifestyle (who blames them). Nor do they want to move further away from the city.
They have explored the costs involved in relocating (stamp duty, relocation costs, potential renovation costs for their new property) and have decided that it is more feasible to stay. Read more…