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  • 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.


Are you considering not using an architect for the construction stage?

A full architectural service takes a project from concept through to completion on site. Occasionally clients consider not engaging the architect for the construction stage of their project, other wise referred to as Contract Administration; however, there are risks associated with this. Some clients fail to understand that CA is a core architectural service, as opposed to an additional service. While this may at first be seen as a cost saving measure clients may not be aware of the risks involved by proceeding with the construction stage without the assistance and guidance of the architect. Contracts produced by such organizations as the MBA and HIA have no role for an architect and it could be argued that these contracts appear to be biased towards the building contractor. Clients need to understand these risks before making the decision not to engage the architect for the provision of CA services. The risks include:

  • Forms of building contract where there is no provision for an architect.

Read more…

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.

Read more…


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.


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…