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A full architectural service takes a project from concept through to completion on site. Occasionally a potential client expresses a preference not to engaged us for the construction stage. This is otherwise known as Contract Administration, which is a core architectural service, as opposed to an additional service.

We understand, as an architectural practice, that it is very tempting not to engage us for the Contract Administration Stage, as it may appear to be a cost saving measure, however, there are risks proceeding with the construction stage without the assistance and guidance of the architect.

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People love the idea of Passivhaus, however, they are often ‘freaked out’ when they start reading outdated and misinformed articles about cost premiums.

This article sets out to provide an informative understanding of costs associated with Passivhaus. If you are looking to build a project home, which has have a low square meter rate, the premium to go Passivhaus will be high. However, with a higher budget the premium to go Passivhaus can be kept to a minimum, be cost-neutral, or result in a saving.  

Is there a premium to go Passivhaus?

This section explores examples where Passivhaus can be cost neutral, achieve savings, or requires a premium:

European Cost Premium

In Germany, where the Passivhaus standard originated from, it is estimated that the extra construction costs to build to Passivhaus is typically somewhere between 3–8% when compared with a standard build. Whilst, in the UK the increase is around 5%.



  • 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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savings and budget

If you are thinking about carrying out a new build, extension, or alterations, and you think you can save money by having “mates in the industry” you must read this blog post.

PLUS 10%

Why pay 10% on top of your construction costs for an architect?

Imagine you were buying a new car, and for 10% extra you could have the car fully customised to your own personal needs, with no increase to manufacturing costs. Would you do it? The same precise analogy can be used when engaging an architect to design a home to your own personal needs and aspirations. The 10% (or whatever percent is determined necessary for the complexities of your project, be it 6% or 15%) is buying you expertise that will allow you, for the same construction cost, to create a home that has been specially customised for your needs.


MoneyWhat 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.

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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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Saving for a HouseHow much is my renovation going to cost?

This is a very good question and it is normally one of the first conversations I have with all my new clients. It is like asking how much are a pair of shoes. Of course shoes from Prada are going to have a much higher price stag than ones from Kmart. Some factors that influence the costs of works for a renovation include:

  • The square area – naturally the larger the project the higher the costs are.
  • The number of wet areas (kitchens, bathrooms, laundry’s etc) – wet areas are labour intensive with the highest concentration of trades, fixtures and fittings.. Read more…



Bad design does cost.

Some further thoughts to my earlier posting on the bad design costs.

Good design can provide significant value to both the owner and user; however, there are often greater costs occurred due to bad design. On the initial investment made good design pays back over a long period of time, whilst with bad design the negative effect can be immediate and can continue over its life cycle. It can mean a home may need refurbishment or replacing before it was originally planned. This can imposes unwanted costs on the owner and users.


401KThe Australian Institute of Architects and others work hard to promote good design and its added value to society; however, do we forget about the other side of the story? Does bad design have its costs? Badly designed places incur costs to the building’s owners and occupiers, neighbours and society. This may include monetary value, running costs, maintenance, function, etc. It is certainly food for thought.