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As architects we are experts, and professionals who will take the lead on all aspects of your project, we will keeping your best interests in mind.

This blog post sets out to explain some of the key aspects of working with us to enable the best project outcome for you.

The blog starts by discussing the beginning of your project, where we will establish a clear direction for the architecture, interiors, materials, and finishes, through in-depth discussions with you and the use of mood imagery.

It will then discuss the outline brief’s development, which follows with a detailed briefing document, that captures all your needs and requirements.

The last section looks into how the above processes provide a foundation for us, as your architects, to then select all the materials, finishes, and fixtures which we feel will be the best fit for your project.

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People love the idea of Passivhaus, however, they are often ‘freaked out’ when they start reading outdated and misinformed articles about cost premiums.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



We are currently in extremely unusual times, where it often feels like we are placing our lives on hold.

However, does this include putting on hold your dreams of carrying out a new-build, extension, or renovation? Depending on your own individual situation this may not be necessary.

This Q&A article aims to demystify the current situation in the world of COVID-19, and to provide you with the tools for making informed decisions.

This is general advice specific to private residential projects in the state of Victoria. And, we recommend that you obtain your own individual financial advice before proceeding with any project, along with legal advice before signing a building contract. 

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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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A brief guide to help you understand our language

Brief – Your wish list

Client – That’s you

Consultant – A person who is consulted for paid expert advice, i.e. structural engineer, surveyor etc. We can advise you on the appointment of your consultants, from our trusted team.

Contingency sum – A sum of money included in a building contract or preserved outside it for costs (if necessary), for things unforeseen at the time that the building contract price was calculated. Contingency sums are highly recommended and we can assist you in establishing a recommended amount, which is normally calculated on a percentage.

Design Contingency Sum – A sum of money allowed in your project’s budget to cover the cost of matters that are unknown or unresolved at the time your budget is established. Your design contingency will typically be proportionally high early in the design stages and reduces as the design develops. Design Contingency Sums are highly recommended, and we can assist you in establishing an amount, typically calculated on a percentage.

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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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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.
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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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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.


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.