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40 QUESTIONS TO ASK AN ARCHITECT

Experience

  • Have you worked on any projects like this before?
  • Have you had any experience with this size of project?
  • What point of difference does you practice have from other architects with similar experience?
  • Can I see your portfolio of similar projects?
  • Who from your practice would I be dealing with on a regular basis? Would this person be designing my project?

My Project

  • Are you interested enough in my project to make it a priority?
  • What challenges do you foresee for my project?

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COST CONSULTANTS

image by 401(k) 2012 via flickr

For all my projects I recommend the engagement of a cost consultant, otherwise known as a quantity surveyor. Cost consultants specialise in estimating construction costs in advance. Engaging a cost consultant is fundamental to effective cost management, particularly through the design and documentation stages of your projects. Cost consultant significantly decreases the likelihood of cost overruns that could lead to project delays and/or abortive documentation costs. It is highly recommended that the appointed cost consultant is

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THE AGE ARTICLE

No point building castles in the air by Ann Pilmer (an extract from The Age)

Wish lists are just the start. Renovators have to budget for unexpected costs.

What’s on your renovation wish list –  a new kitchen and bedroom, extra living space, an en suite, outdoor kitchen, cellar and a home theatre?

Whatever your budget, rethink it or stretch it. Fees and hidden costs such as GST will eat up a fifth or as much as a third for smaller projects.

Sole practitioners, architects Jane Cameron and Christopher Hewson, say they frequently have to disillusion new clients about the real cost of renovating.

Bronwyn Pratt in her renovated Albert Park house. Even with knowledge of the industry, she says she was taken aback by the hidden costs. Photo: Ken Irwin

Bronwyn Pratt in her renovated Albert Park house. Even with knowledge of the industry, she says she was taken aback by the hidden costs. Photo: Ken Irwin

”We live in a cut-price world,” says Mr Hewson. ”People can buy at a discount online and they see short cuts and DIY projects on reality shows, or a glossy picture in a magazine, and they think all this is easy to achieve. They don’t understand that costs can’t be readily pruned in real life and can’t be extended to professional services.”

In archispeak it’s about the cost of works versus the overall budget. Read more…

BUDGETS

image by Tax Credit via flickr

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.