Category Archives: Benefits of using an Architect

Engaging an architect

Let’s suppose you have the need to expand your house. The family is growing, the kids need a separate rumpus area or separate bedrooms, bring in some morning sun, hide the neighbour’s backyard or you just want to improve your home’s day to day functionality. What are the steps to realizing your dream?

Some people head straight to a builder but the first thing he is going to say is that he needs drawings before he can provide any indication of cost. He could recommend a draftsman who could whip up a layout and your builder could then complete your project in quick time. You might have spent $300,000 but who in that process has given serious consideration to your current and future needs as well as providing a sustainable, climatically-responsive dwelling with enduring aesthetic longevity that you will enjoy living in every day into your older age. Have you spent your hard-earned dollars effectively?

Many builders are not so interested in design – apart from where it can make construction simpler (and their building designers / draftsmen often do a part-time, compliance-oriented course over a couple of years). There is no design focus in starting with a builder as first contact.

Another consideration is that most people only carry out one major building project in their lives – so there is little to compare their major spend with. So to avoid any lingering doubts over the rest of your time in your house, I am suggesting you take a leap of faith and engage an architect as your first contact.

Architects are registered professionals who have undertaken a full time, 3-year undergraduate degree and then a 2-year masters degree, with the focus on ‘design’. This is followed by a further minimum 2 years working as a graduate architect before they do further study to become registered as an architect.

Good design adds value to your investment – and to your life. Architects pride themselves on being 3-dimensional problem solvers who can work with you to assess your family home limitations; discuss your short, medium and long term needs; interpret your dreams and desires and transform these into a workable design; and can be responsive to considered staged transformation – saving you serious money and avoiding re-work in the future.

Living in a well-designed, thoughtful, climatically- responsive home environment will lift your spirits every day!

If you look at the different home magazines, you may see the difference between builders’ project homes and architect-designed projects. But I understand that some people are nervous about engaging with an architect. Let me assure you, that first and foremost we want to look after you as our client. Even though you may know very little of the building process, you will be treated with respect and carefully guided through the long process from first meeting to handing over the keys of the finished project.

All you need for a first contact with an architect is to present the ‘problem’. The architect will soon work through your needs and after a while create the ‘brief’ – the goals of the project – that you will both agree on to move forward.

It is helpful to know your genuine financial limitations, but many people approach it by wanting to see what a ‘full and final’ solution might cost and work towards that – even if it means ‘staging’ the project. If you can see a benefit in a design that will allow you to stay longer in your home and enjoy it more, you may wish to go the extra mile. In any case, if there is a finite budget, your architect will work to that.

In the next blog I will cover how the progression of the project to the design phase occurs and then onward to documentation and delivering the finished product.

Give me a call anytime on 38466800 or 0407374261.

Firing up the blog for a new project

sue old shop purchase

194 Gladstone Road on the day we decided we had to have it Circa June 2002 with Katie Martel (nee Croft) now with her own business @croftpr

It’s been a busy few years since I first commenced my blog 5 years ago. So much so that after the first couple of posts, it languished on the back burner. But now I feel energised to recommence writing it again in order to document a new project that my wife, Sue and I have decided to undertake.

Our saga started October 2018, with our failed intention to quickly sell off this small commercial property, for which we had no further use. But subtle changes to the City Plan over decades, have forced our hand to re-develop the site from a tired, old, small commercial building into a rare form of inner-city accommodation. It is a challenging, dream project that appeals to architects and daring clients, but it doesn’t come without hard work, frustration and potentially financial risk.

The new focus over the next eighteen months for my blog will be on this property that we own at 194 Gladstone Road, Highgate Hill. The blog will plot the property’s connection to us commencing in 2002 when we took it on, through to a redevelopment planned today.

You will learn about the decision making to turn a 1956 classic ‘butcher’s shop’, complete with giant west facing picture window, into a boutique multi-functional residential development.

This blog will form a permanent diary of the process of this project and provide you with an opportunity to learn about design, real estate, finance, town planning codes and processes, architects’ processes, building application processes, construction processes, materials, value management, risk and punting and hopefully the joys of contributing to the built environment of a community in a positive, sustainable and useful way.

And I assure you this project is certainly not about developing the site to make money but rather to give yet another life to a small building which has been dear to both Sue and I now for 17 years. Be sure to follow my blog and join us on our ride – it has already been quite a saga and I am sure there is plenty to come.

initial rough sketch gladstone rd

First preliminary sketches 

The value of an architect and adding value with an architect

Alderley Residence

While the ‘Great Australian Dream’ is owning a property, building or personalizing your home is the next level of endeavour. With the help of an architect, the complex processes involved from inception to completion can be made so much easier. When it comes time to sell your home, all the hard work and expertise poured into your project by your architect will add value to your biggest investment. It will stand out from your competitors and be in demand. Most importantly though, the uplifting emotional value of living within a well designed, creative and elegant space is priceless.

Architects consult with various stakeholders involved in the building process. We coordinate the various other consultants that are needed such as structural engineers, building certifiers and sometimes, town planners and surveyors.

Architects have 5 years intensive university design training. In the design process, we respond to the chosen site and setting, orientation, climate (light, breezes, humidity and temperature range), views, topography and neighbourhood. We can also help secure building and town planning approvals, find reputable builders, choose an equitable building contract and administer that contract to better protect our client from cost overrun, quality control and time control. We ensure that the design is being built in the most thorough and proper way, keeping the clients’ best interest in mind.

Always, foremost are our clients who are building their dream. The benefits of having an architect involved with your project are significant and will provide a brilliant and beautiful outcome.