Sydney Architect Adam Pressley FRAIA NSW Reg. No 6007

Design ⟩ Reference ⟩ Architect FAQ

Answers to our frequently asked questions ...

We focus on our clients brief, provide designs in 3-dimensions and we can manage just one stage or every stage of the process. We also give pre-purchase advice, obtain council or complying development approvals and design passive solar energy efficient homes.
Adam Pressley FRAIA - Principal Architect

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is a 'Registered Architect' and how do I know if an Architect is 'Registered'?

In Australia, a 'Registered Architect' is:

To check if an Architect is 'Registered':

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How do architects charge for their services?

There are three main ways architects charge for their services, and some projects may include all three types of fees, which are introduced at different stages of the project.

1. Percentage Fees

This is probably the most common method because it requires the least work. The architect offers a range of 'Full Service' fee percentages, which vary depending upon the type and size of the project.

Example: New homes are usually cheaper than additions / renovations, and small projects command a higher percentage than larger ones. Most projects would fit within the 8% - 18% range of the projects total 'Construction Cost' for the Full Service.

Initially where the actual 'Construction Cost' is not known the architect bases their fees on the budget for the project.



2. Fixed Fees

This involves the client providing a detailed brief to such a degree that the architect can provide a quote for the work. Whilst it is called a 'fixed fee', it must be altered when there are significant changes to the scope of work.

This method requires the scope of work to be really clearly defined and with all 'Fixed Quotes' there is often a considerable 'extra or margin' built in to keep the architect out of trouble.



3. Hourly Rates or Do and Charge

This method involves the architect specifying their hourly rates, then keeping an accurate record of all time spent on the client's behalf, and invoicing monthly or at the completion of each stage.



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What does an architect mean by 'Full Service Architect' and 'Partial Service'?

Full Service is a term used to encompass all the stages of a project, and these are generally as follows:

1. Concept Design

Where the project brief is projected into an initial design.

2. Design Development

Where the project is altered and refined, reviewed with regard to council controls, fully drafted and prepared for costing.

3. Development Application

This is where all the documents are put together for council, including the involvement of consultants such as engineers, landscape architects and town planning reports. This stage ends with a submission to council.

4. Construction Certificate

Following council approval, a CC set of documents is prepared for approval to build.

5. Documentation

Where details, specifications, schedules, finishes and product selections are made for the purposes of tendering to builders, and for construction.

6. Contract Administration and Site Works

This is where the architect is engaged by the client to administer the contract between the client and builder. This includes the architect making periodic site inspections, processing the builders progress claims, and issuing certificates.

Partial service is a term used when not all of the above stages are completed by the architect.


pdf icon Stage of the Design and Building Process - 119kb PDF

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How much does it cost to build a house?

This is a complex question and depends on many factors as listed below:

Without considering the above factors, there are some square metre rates that are frequently used for 'ball park' estimating:

These square metre rates usually only refer to the area of the house measured to the outside of the external walls, and do not include work outside of this area such as swimming pools, driveways, decks, and siteworks or landscaping.

To accurately find out the cost of a project you can use a Quantity Surveyor (QS) or Building Cost Estimator. Builders costings are often not reliable early on in the design process and can increase greatly when the full scope of work is revealed. Builders also do not tend to provide a detailed costing list as a QS would.

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How do I set a realistic budget for my new home?

This is a detailed guide designed to assist the home-owner to establish a suitable and realistic budget for their project and includes:


pdf iconGuide to preparing a building budget - 238kb PDF

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Should I get pre-purchase development advice?

Pre-purchase development advice is a good idea if you are looking at purchasing a home and considering the option to extend or renovate.

Architects can discuss with you on the spot the feasibility of any home renovation ideas you may have, or offer design advice in order to start you thinking on whether a property is the right investment for you. This can involve foreseeing any structural problems and researching zoning and specific council controls.

When giving Pre-Purchase Development Advice, we consider a number of factors in order to sort out what the project might be (if anything).

Some of the things we consider are as listed below:

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10 Mistakes People make when Renovating?

The answer to this is covered in our short guide, which highlights the 10 common mistakes that people make when renovating their home and includes:


pdf icon10 Mistakes People Make When Renovating - 53kb PDF

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10 Mistakes People make when Renovating?

It is important to consider your site holistically when deciding to undertake any small scale renovation. A masterplan for a project does not isolate the specific area to be renovated without considering how this will effect the property as a whole.

At All Australian Architecture, we discourage starting a small scale renovation without considering the property as a whole, or without getting a 'masterplan' design done prior. Often when it comes time to further build or renovate in the future, the previously renovated bathroom or kitchen, for example, needs to be relocated.

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How can an architect save you money on your home design or renovation?

Architects are skilled at planning. A well planned home design or renovation can save you from the costs associated with building larger and less flexible spaces.

Architects work with you to discuss your individual living needs and tastes, so that your home complements the way you live, both in the short and long term. Architects are capable of ensuring how best your property can cope and evolve with changes.

Architects can also advise you on how to minimise ongoing running and maintenance costs over the life of your home.

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What is 3D home design and why is designing in 3D useful?

Designing in 3D involves using specialised computer programs to create a 'virtual model' of your project to be viewed on the computer. This is also known as 'Building Simulation' or 'Building Information Model'.

Three dimensional models communicate home designs in the form of virtual walkthroughs, 3D snapshots, and photo-realistic renders.

Why is it useful?

At All Australian Architecture, we find designing in 3D helps us design and deliver the best architectural solutions possible, in an easy to understand format.

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What building options do I have to build a residential home within a budget?

Your building options will vary depending on whether you are renovating or building new.

Project Homes:

These are homes which are designed to be built in large numbers from a range of off-the-shelf designs.



Design and Construct Projects:

This is where a building company quotes to build or renovate your home and includes the design as a package. It is a good way of knowing what the final costs are from the beginning and some of the better ones use architects for the design work.



Architect / Designer Homes and Renovations:

This is the best but also the most expensive way to design your home or renovation. Some architect-designed homes can be very inexpensive, while others can be quite lavish and fit into the luxury category. Reasons that architect-designed homes can be more expensive than project or design and construct homes, are because of closer attention to detail, greater use of glass, more expensive finishes, and the designs being one-offs to suit your site and your brief.



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We are planning a home renovation - how do you start the process and what are your costs??

Our architectural process & client service:

In the first instance I discuss the project over the phone to determine if we are suitable. A suitable project for us is;

Assuming this is so, I would then arrange a site meeting with you to;

Up to this point there is no cost. Should you wish to engage us, we would normally work on an hourly rate do and charge basis. We give regular estimates of the likely time to be spent. We invoice regularly and include detailed itemised statements of work done.

We don't charge % fees and each stage of your project is discreet and you are not locked into completing further stages with us. We can be engaged to complete just the design stage or as many of our clients do, engage us for the full service.

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Should I remove work that is Exempt Development from my Development Application / Complying Development drawings?

If you do show exempt development work, then it becomes work to be considered and approved under Complying Development / Development Application.

This means all work including exempt, will be required to comply with BASIX and forms part of a Construction Certificate.

If you want to keep any exempt development work separate from the approval, it should be clearly clouded and noted or left off the drawings completely.

Information courtesy of Insight Building Certifiers Pty Ltd

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Has the Exempt and Complying Development Codes changed?

The NSW Housing Code (otherwise known as State Environmental Planning Policy -Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 has been significantly amended to expand the amount of exempt and complying development across NSW and increase the area to which the Code applies.

A summary of the most significant changes is as follows:

These changes came into effect on 25 February 2011.

Further information on amendments is available from the NSW Department of Planning Website

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