• Questions you should ask –


Q. “Why should I choose a registered architect instead of a designer or draftsman?”
A. Designing and building a home, office or investment property can be extremely complex, achieving the right design, navigating the town planning process, managing the budget, selecting materials, selecting the right contractors, administering and supervising the contract needs specialist skills and disciplines.

If you choose a registered architect you know that person has attained the necessary qualifications, has a minimum of 5 years university training, plus mandatory practical experience and has passed the Architect’s Board registration examinations. All registered architects are subject to the Architects Code of Professional conduct.

Building designers and draftsmen are not regulated professionals. Most are qualified drafting professionals. More than a designer, an architect works with you on an intensive exploration of your requirements, to help you realise your dream.

An architect will help you set a viable and realistic budget, guide you through the town planning process, obtain competitive quotes for the work, manage consultants, like surveyors and engineers, monitor the budget and administer the construction contract.

Critically, your architect should be engaged to inspect the work right through the construction period to assist you to get the quality and level of finishes that were specified.

Architects see the big picture. An architect will help you define and create what you want to build, present options you may never have considered and help you get the most for your budget. Architects don’t merely design, they create environments, inside and out, spaces that function well, that define you and how you like to live and work. Architects produce inspired solutions to often complex residential and commercial needs. Creative thinking, attention to detail and functional performance underpin everything an architect does.

If you choose a registered architect you know that person has attained the necessary qualifications, has a minimum of 5 years university training, plus mandatory practical experience and has passed the Architect’s Board registration examinations. All registered architects are subject to the Architects Code of Professional conduct.

Building designers and draftsmen are not regulated professionals. Most are qualified drafting professionals.
More than a designer, an architect works with you on an intensive exploration of your requirements, to help you realise your dream.

An architect will help you set a viable and realistic budget, guide you through the town planning process, obtain competitive quotes for the work, manage consultants, like surveyors and engineers, monitor the budget and administer the construction contract.

Critically, your architect should be engaged to inspect the work right through the construction period to assist you to get the quality and level of finishes that were specified.

Architects see the big picture. An architect will help you define and create what you want to build, present options you may never have considered and help you get the most for your budget. Architects don’t merely design, they create environments, inside and out, spaces that function well, that define you and how you like to live and work. Architects produce inspired solutions to often complex residential and commercial needs. Creative thinking, attention to detail and functional performance underpin everything an architect does.


Q. What is the advantage of using an architect rather than employing a Design and Construct firm?
A. When choosing an architect to design your project, at the end, after payment, you can use the design for your own purposes and are free to request quotes from various contractors without obligation. With a Design and Construct package you are obliged to use their services. The disadvantages of design-and-construct contracts are commonly considered to include the:
• Lack of cost competitiveness, or at least the owner's control over it-
• Lack of independent or impartial professional advice by an architect or consultants having no commercial interest in the outcome of that advice-
• Non-disclosure, in the marketing stage, of all the ramifications of the 'deal' and resultant reduced performance or quality of finish through the absence of supervision.
• In many cases owners are aware of these shortcomings, but do not necessarily consider them to be of great significance. It is apparent that they believe that careful choice of the contractor in the first instance is sufficient to outweigh the disadvantages.

A danger also in Design and Construct contracts is that the Contractor may have underestimated certain components and will then compensate accordingly.
Of course, the client still pays for the design and drafting fees, but the fees are built into the package.


Q. Doesn’t the project cost more if I employ an architect?
A
. It depends. There is obviously a short term cost. But according to the Australian Institute of Architects, architects' fees rarely exceed 1% of the total cost of constructing and operating the building throughout its useful life.
A better designed building – especially a greener, more efficient building – saves money in the long run, is worth more to sell or lease, and costs less to maintain.

Q. Do sustainable buildings cost more?
A.  Yes and No! Big inefficient houses cost a lot to build and enormous energy to heat, cool and maintain. In comparison, smaller efficient houses and cleverly designed can reduce the construction cost as well as dramatically reducing the running costs over a long time.
Some sustainable measures, for example, passive solar design panels or geothermal heating may costs more.
However, some sustainable measures, e.g. correct orientation of the house cost nothing.


Q
How much do Architects' services cost?
A.   Architects fees are by negotiation. Fees may be based on a percentage of the estimated construction cost, fixed fee or on an hourly basis. Fees vary between 6%, for less complex jobs, to 20% of the cost of the works, depending on the level of difficulty and work load involved. The more complex the job the more time the architect has to spend and therefore the more fees will have to be charged.
Choosing an architect on the level of fees charged alone is not a wise course. Like everything you can only expect to receive what you pay for. You cannot expect a Rolls Royce for the price of a Daihatsu. However, that is not to say that price is unimportant.
What is very important that you feel comfortable with the architect and that you have a good rapport with him/her, because you will have to be on a “journey” together for some time.


Q Can I request services up to a particular stage of the project?
A.   Yes, discuss your needs at the start of the project and clarify what your  requirements are and sign up accordingly.


Q  When am I expected to pay for work done?
A.   You will be expected to pay for work produced at the stages defined in your agreement. Frequently, interim invoices are raised during the various stages.


Q.   Does the architect retain copyright on drawings and documentation?
A.   Yes, Your architect retains copyright on this work. The drawings and documentation may be used only for the purpose and for the site for which they were produced.


Q  I want to develop my property and then subdivide. Should I do the subdivision first?
A.   That is not advisable. The requirements for town planning applications are complex and numerous and to do the subdivision first could severely restrict you. When the town planning has been granted, the subdivision stage is quite simple and straightforward.