What is the process of engaging a building designer? Can we have an initial consultation to get to know you?
Yes, this meeting could be done onsite or at our office. We do charge an hourly rate for this consultation where you will get valuable information for your project:
You get our opinion on the feasibility of the project; we produce an outline brief detailing rooms, sizes, orientation etc; we discuss potential solutions in outline form; we discuss look and feel of the potential scheme; we discuss planning viability of the project and your ideas; we give outlining construction costing for budget usage; we outline the requirements for building regulations.
This consultation cost is credited to account on progression of next stage. It is great value for money and an essential part of our service. If for some reason we then discover that we are not an ideal 'fit' then you are free to take what was discussed to another designer for them to continue the process. If you like our style and the expertise we have to offer, a detailed quote will be prepared and emailed to you. When this has met with your approval, you sign it, send it and pay a deposit. Then we begin and the process of designing and your project can come to fruition.
What is the process of designing a house?
Upon getting to know your brief in detail, we usually having another detailed meeting on site, investigating it in further detail, checking solar access, vehicle access, services, slope etc. If it is a renovation, we also do a measure up to produce as-built drawings. In addition to this, we organise a contour plan for you with a licensed surveyor and depending on circumstances a soil test too. Our process is usually divided into three stages (four stages if you need to submit the plans for development application with council):
Firstly we produce a bubble diagram showing the positions and sizes of the rooms in relation to the site so we can discuss the brief in greater detail. After this meeting, we produce an initial sketch drawing presented in coloured format which will include room layouts, room sizes, doors and windows etc. A plan, a section and an elevation of the building is produced to explain levels, heights, roof shapes and the general idea for the looks of the building. Often some landscaping suggestions are included in this.
Once you approve the sketch plans, we start to get into the details of the building. Thinking about materials, solar access, building construction techniques, council regulations, this is when we combine all the technical information with our design creativity. Working with our 3D software Archicad, we can build a virtual model of your house which can be viewed and analysed from any angle. We can also show solar access to all rooms at any day of the year for thermal comfort. We also produce a 3D BIMx model of your house which is emailed to you so you can view on your own computer, iphone and ipad in your own time. You can explore from any angle, even go inside or hide the roof and look from above. At the end of this stage you will be able to experience your house before any building even starts. You will have a feel of space, materials and light in every room. The builders love having this software as they can show their tradesmen on site how the building actually looks and is built rather than having to make do with the old fashioned 2D drawings. We also use Artlantis software which helps produce accurate realistic images that show colours and textures as you would see them live. They look fantastic !
Once you are happy with the 3D model of your building, we proceed with the drawing documentation for tendering and council purposes. At this stage and along the way we liaise with other consultants such as Structural engineers, Soil technicians, Bushfire consultants, Energy assessors, Waste Water consultants etc. Sometimes a Development Approval stage is also required. All copies of building plans are produced in colour pdfs for clarity and presentation purposes and sent whenever and wherever is necessary to enable best practice communication. Council officers are always impressed by our standard of presentation and it makes it so much easier to get those challenging submissions through.
Will I need a Development Approval for council?
Depending on the circumstances, a 4th stage may be required in the process. This stage is necessary if you are building in a special development that requires covenants to be assessed or you are needing some major relaxations ie Code assessment with council. In this case it can be better to move cautiously and not produce too much documentation just in case they don’t approve your requirements. This way your not going to waste money unnecessarily.
What are your fees and what are the payment terms?
Our fees depend on the expected complexity of the project and how much time we expect your design and documentation to take. The fee can depend on the slope of the land, expected budget, the complexity of the project, the shape of the land, renovation, extension or new etc. Our fee usually falls between 3.5 to 6 % of the expected building cost. We are very good value for excellent service and design experience that we provide. Remember “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”. Our fee is divided into three stages and payment is made at the end of each stage. A deposit is required at the beginning which comes off the last payment.
What if I change my mind half way through the process?
Our fees are staged so you have complete confidence along the way. If after any stage you wish to stop work for any reason, you are free to do so.
Which consultants will I need for this process? Do you organise them for me?
We liaise with all consultants and we can organise a few quotes for you to choose from. We have established strong relationships with various good quality consultants and you are free to decide which to choose from. Below is a list of consultants you might need and an indication of approximate fees (includes GST).
Site Surveyor (depends on the size of the block): $880/ $1650 Acreage)
Soil Tests: $550
Structural Engineers (depends on size and complexity): $1,700 - $11,000
Building Certifiers*: $3,250 (Includes Driveway Application, Flood and Sewerage Search).
QLeave Application (paid when submitting plans to building approval)
Energy Assessors: $220 - $440
Bushfire Consultants (if needed) - $ 550
Waste Water Consultants (if needed) - $880
Lighting Consultant (if desired) - $550 - $3300
Interior Designer (if desired) - $3,300 - $11,000
Landscape Designer (if desired) - $3,300 - 6,600
*Gold Coast City Council. Other councils may differ.
Consultant’s fees are usually paid by you directly to them.