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Difference between an architect and building designer?

Building designers and architects share similar skills and offer very similar services. Cost is usually one factor in why many people choose a building designer rather than an architect.

What advantages are there to engaging a building designer instead of a builder to prepare plans?

There are numerous advantages of engaging a Building Designer rather than a Builder to prepare your plans. It has become an increasing trend for Builders to provide ‘off the shelf’ & ‘ready made’ plans to entice the client into a quick sale. Little does the client know, is their ability to compare quotes for the same plans with other builders. If you were spending upwards of $200, 000 for your new home, wouldn’t you like to shop around to get the best deal, as you would if you were buying a new car or TV? You will often find most builders will not allow you to use their plans to get quotes from other builders unless you pay that builder exorbitant fees to release the copyright to you.

Clients wanting a new building must also understand that Building Designers – Design; and Builders – Build. Apart from the obvious difference, each have their own interest in the project. We as building designers pay particular attention to many facets of the design and construction of buildings with consideration to all parties involved. In our experience, many Builder’s primary interests lie within providing a satisfactory standard building at the cheapest cost to them to suit their buyers budget without considering the critical design aspects we specialise in.

What services do you offer?

We provide numerous services appropriate to each project we work on. We can provide simple design advice, site analysis, conceptual designs, plans for building approvals, detailed construction plans, assistance with getting quotes from builders and support during construction. Upon familiarising ourselves with each project inquiry, we determine the right service/s necessary to achieve your objectives.

What type of buildings do you design?

We can design any type of building no matter how adventurous your imagination is. Nothing is too big or small for us.

I want to talk to a designer about a new project, does it cost anything for a meeting?

Generally yes. However, if you are just wanting a 15 minute chat with one of our designers, please let our receptionist know and we can do this free of charge.
A consultation with one of our designers, in our office will cost $200 + GST. These meetings usually take around 1 hour and involves our designers familiarising themselves with your project and forming a design brief. The designer will also advise you of the services we can provide along with other costs you will encounter during the planning stage. Ask us how you can get a 50% discount on the consultation fee.

What does a set of plans cost?

This is an all too often question we are asked and a difficult one to answer on the spot. As every project is different, we have to understand what is involved with each project and estimate the amount of time we require to carry out the work. To do this, we usually need to know the following:

– Type of Project I.e. New home, extension, commercial project
– Construction budget
– Floor area (if you have prepared a floor plan sketch)
– Number of stories
– Site location

Once we receive this information and have a short discussion we can provide an estimated quote based on the services we recommend and how much organising of the project you want to do yourself.

Does it cost more if I want to change my plans?

It all depends on what stage of the service we are at and how much work we have completed at the time you wish to make changes. If you have changes early in the design stage, usually no extra costs will apply, however we will advise if any extra costs will be incurred before amending the plans. For completed plans, extra costs will apply to make changes, so it is important to know what you want and not to rush the design process. Although extra costs may be incurred, it is far cheaper to change plans than change a building half way through construction.

How long does it take to get plans drawn up?

There is no specific time period as there are a number of factors that contribute to how long a project or stage of a project can take. Things like the size and complexity of the project, amount of information supplied by the client, local authority approvals, and reviewing all your contributions. We provide estimated timeframes for all projects as part of our service proposal relative to the above factors.

What is a Concept Design?

In building design terms, a concept design is generally a quick sketch indicating an idea for the arrangement of spaces to show how they relate to one another. It can also include external views demonstrating the look of the building. Before we can commence drafting of plans, we require a suitable concept design whether it be provided by the client or we produce it as part of our services.
For clients that have no idea on where to start with a concept design but know what spaces and special requirements they wish to include in their building, we can assist in providing custom concept design options specifically to the clients requirements and to suit the conditions of the site.
Where the client has their own sketches, we review the design and offer suggestions, where appropriate, to improve the overall functionality, efficiency and construction cost.

What are Working Drawings?

Working Drawings are plans suitable for obtaining building approvals and construction. They also provide a critical part of the building contract as whatever is shown on the plan will be provided by the builder. Generally, there is a minimum level of documentation required for a set of working drawings for a building. However, the more information that can be shown on the plans will assist everyone involved with the project. The more information that’s is provided has many benefits including:

– more control over your builder to deliver a higher quality product
– thorough inclusions of all elements of the building to ensure no cost blow outs from the builder

For all Working Drawings we produce, we provide a Preliminary Design Stage to ensure the design of the building is to the approval of the client. Generally, we include a Site Plan, Floor Plan, Elevations and 3D Views. This also gives the client the opportunity to make any changes to the design before continuing with developing the working drawings.

What is an Energy Efficiency Report and do I need one of these?

When planning your building project you must also consider sustainable housing requirements which involve a 10-star rating system. The design rating requirement for new housing, renovations and or additions is a minimum of 6 stars. The more stars you can achieve, the more your home may be worth if you wish to sell it. Environmental aspects which you may consider in your design include solar systems or heat pumps, 4-star toilets, 3-star tapware, 80% energy-efficient lighting, 4-star air conditioning and insulation for ceilings and walls.