What Architects Do
Architects bring more than their design skills to the table. These include knowledge in coordination and project management, skill in building precedents, and independent and professional advice that provides a unique perspective to a builder’s.
According to the Australian Institute of Architects, architects can add value at four phases in the construction process:
- Schematic design (the what and how to build)
- Design development (what construction materials to use and why)
- Contract documentation, plans and instructions (ensures that the building meets yours and the local building authority’s requirements)
- Contract administration, and recommending reputable builders and tradesmen
Reasons to Hire an Architect
Architects can offer options you that might not have crossed your mind, create a style for your building and design it to function efficiently, and solve space and function issues. An architect can give you something that is customised to your specific requirements, so that you can anticipate whatever needs or issues that may arise later.
And needless to say, architects are creative, and skilled at solving problems, which can be very helpful in renovation projects. With renovations, you often need to be inventive to make the most out of an existing building, and an architect will be a great help to you in that area. Architects are also good at design judgment, which is evident in the resulting finished building and the vibe that it gives off.
Anything that needs the approval of council or a private certifier needs to have BASIX certificate. This ensures the continuing improvement of the standards in all housing jobs. An architect will be valuable in helping you navigate the jungle of sustainability, insulation and energy performance. They are also experts at design elements of orientation, which can play a major role in a building’s functionality and liveability.
What Using an Architect Really Means
Many people believe that the words “architect designed” denotes luxury and high-end design. But the truth is, an architect can help people no matter what their budget, by giving them the best design for their money, and guiding them around costly mistakes.
The amount you will spend on hiring an architect will vary depending on who you pick and the kind of service you need.
The normal full service process, which includes the whole thing from preliminary design, through to post occupancy, could be 10-15% of the entire building cost depending on how big the project is.
However, you might just like to know what the property could be converted into, or minor assistance during the process, so most architects are amenable to discussing a partial service, where they provide advice at certain points of the project.
So is it worth it? Yes, because you will almost always get back the money you spent on an architect.
People often tend to just evaluate a project’s value by the number of services or things we get for the money. This mentality can be credited to the emergence of the McMansion phenomenon of huge houses on small lands.
When you’re using an architect you are expecting quality, and while the results might be the same cost, the money is usually recouped from quality, liveability and other elements such as environmental factors.
You can maximise your budget and open up new possibilities by working with an architect. It can actually add value. Building is big-ticket item so you should try to obtain the best value you can for the investment.
Ordinary People Can Benefit from Using an Architect
The pros of architected designed homes can be had on most budgets, but clearly not all homes are architect designed. However, they can be.
If you are purchasing an apartment in bigger blocks, you’re probably already getting the benefits from architect designed quality. The NSW law, called SEPP 65, mandates that buildings higher than 3 stories be designed by certified architects. This law has been in effect for over ten years and is deemed to be responsible for improved standards in apartment living.
This means the public has been benefiting from better design standards since the implementation of SEPP 65.
No Job too Small
You will be surprised by the value that an architect can bring, especially if they are hired for guidance early in the project. An architect should be used for any situation, as their skill and expertise can be beneficial even on the smallest project.
If you are considering hiring an architect or just want to know what services they offer, check out Archicentre, the advisory service of the Australian Institute of Architects, to get basic information.