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:

Architects

Building Costs

Renovation Advice

3D Design

Building Codes

Ocean House Concept Design - All Australian Architecture

Architects

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':

Do you need an architect?

Not every project needs an architect. Ask yourself ten simple questions to find out if you need an architect for your home renovation project? Then if you do, we have a list of questions for your architect before you engage them.

Also:

(Updated Dec 2014)

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

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

Benefits:

Disadvantages:

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.

Benefits:

Disadvantages:

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.

Benefits:

Disadvantages:

Also:

For most projects we work on a 'do and charge' basis so we are best placed to vary our service as your needs change - we can do full or partial services depending upon your needs.

(Updated Dec 2014)

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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 moulded into an initial concept design and presented to the client.

2. Design Development

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

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. These incorporate any approval conditions, minor changes and structural details.

5. Documentation

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

6. Contract Administration and Site Works

Contrace administration 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, checking the quality and value of work done, and issuing certificates for payment to the builder. There are other similar but non contractural roles for the architect here also, which can benefit the project greatly during the building process.

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

For further and more detailed information on each stage of the process including a Pre-stage called 'Feasibility Study', please see our guide - the stages of this design & building process.

At All Australian Architecture we consider each project in terms of self contained stages. Each stage is independent and does not tie you into completing the other stages.

(Updated Dec 2014)

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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.

As architects who specialise in residential homes, we are experienced at providing pre-purchase development advice. We can discuss your home renovation ideas and offer design advice or feedback that will really start you thinking about whether a particular property is the right investment for you. We can also point out what to look for when house hunting so you are much more likely to buy the right property and achieve success.

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:

Also:

Are you planning to buy a house in Sydney? See our Pre-purchase advice page or simply call us for free phone advice. Are you in a Hurry? Try our Architects Guide to Buying a House in Sydney with 15 point checklist.

(Updated Dec 2014)

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

Architects are skilled and experienced home design professionals, so there are many ways we can save you money on your next new home or renvotion.

Also:

At All Australian Architecture we are exclusively single home architects. We can accommodate your unique style and we aim to make good design available to everyone.

(Updated Dec 2014)

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Some architects charge percentage fees, how does this work?

Traditional Architectural Fees: (An explanation)

Traditionally architectural services are calculated as a percentage of the completed building cost. For domestic projects the architects fees will normally range between 7 - 18%* for full service but dependent upon the scope of work and economies of scale. Partial services, where the architect is engaged for specific stages will total significantly less.

For example, a small renovation costing around $100k may total $18k (18%) for the ‘full service’, or around $9K (9%) up to the Construction Certificate Stage only. With a larger project costing around $2M, the architects fees may be closer to $200k or 10% for the full service.

nitially, the clients budget is used to calculate these percentage fees, until the final building cost is established.

From the architect’s perspective, percentage based fees are easyto calculate & offer some protection when the client’s brief grows & more work has to be completed. Where there is a higher building cost, the architect is entitled to a larger fee.

From the client’s perspective, it sometimes seems unfair that the architect’s fees may increase simply because they have chosen more expensive building materials & fixtures, or because the architect themselves have designed a more expensive product.

A Typical % fee breakdown: (Not how we charge)


13.5 % Total (Of completed building cost) Nett

* Fee range provided by Archicentre in their guide ‘Working with your Architect’.

Also:

The Architects Code of Professional Conduct provides architects and their clients with a statement of the standards required of architects when engaged to provide architectural services.

(Updated Dec 2014)

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Curve House Queenscliff - Completed new home designed by All Australian Architecture

Building Costs

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.

Try out our home building cost calculator, and make a quick check of your home building budget.

(Updated Dec 2014)

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

the home-owner to establish a suitable and realistic budget for their project we have prepared a 7 page Guide to Preparing a Building Budget. This guide includes comparisons of different budgets, discusses why building costs can vary and touches on architects fees and how they work.

Also:

You might also want to download our guide to Design & Building Approval Timeline, which includes information on critical paths and notes on how to fast track the process.

(Updated Dec 2014)

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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.

Advantages:

Disadvantages:

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.

Advantages:

Disadvantages:

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.

Advantages:

Disadvantages:

Also:

Our Building Costing Calculator lets you quickly estimate your likely build across 9 different 'quality levels' of design & construction.

(Updated Dec 2014)

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Jellicoe House Balgowlah Heights - Completed Renovation by All Australian Architecture

Renovation Adivce

I’m planning a home renovation - what simple mistakes might I make?

The answer to this is covered in our short guide, 10 Mistakes People Make When Renovating which highlights some common mistakes that people make when renovating their home such as, undervaluing their property, skimping on design and not being clear about their renovation budget.

Also:

We also have a guide with notes on tendering home builders and the building process, which covers the 10 ten steps from start to finish, and might help you achieve a successful tender and a lower building price.

(Updated Dec 2014)

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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.

Also:

If you are planning a home renovation, then briefing an architect may be the first step. Following our briefing your architect - 10 step guide to get started your project.

(Updated Dec 2014)

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I’m planning to renovate but not sure if I need an architect or a draftsperson / home designer?

Not every new home or home renovation project needs an architect, so we have prepared a simple list of questions to help you out: Do I need an architect for my home renovation?.

Also:

(Updated Dec 2014)

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Do you provide home renovation advice?

Yes, home renovation advice is our specialty and we even offer a simple hourly rate design service. Our minimum service is 2 hrs and you can book us online once we have agreed on a suitable time to meet.

We also have a similar service for pre-purchase development advice, which is free for office advice or a small fixed fee for on-site advice. Hourly rate and pre-purchase advice is only offered in some areas of Sydney.

(Updated Dec 2014)

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Long House Seaforth - Concept home designed by All Australian Architecture

3D Design

Does my home renovation first need a masterplan design?

Ideally, yes. Before you undertake any renovations you should have an architect prepare a masterplan design. This is so you can best explore all the opportunities available to you, and then prepare the scheme you will work towards in stages. This way you far less likely to do redundant work.

For example: I went to see a home and give advice on the next stage of their renovations. It turns our that they really needed to mover their recently renovated bathroom - this caused some dissapointment and regret at not getting advice sooner.

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 recommend you start your smaller scale renovation works after a more thorough assessment and ideally with a masterplan design mapped out. You will then be able to work in stages and towards your final goals.

Our hourly rate advice service:

A little professional advice can make a difference to your home design. Our hourly rate service may include a feasibility study and assistance with future planning / masterplanning. Just let us know what you need, we'll make a time and you can book us on the website. Contact our principal architect now on +61 2 9938 5180.

(Updated Dec 2014)

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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 design for your home renovation which can be viewed on the computer, tablet or smartphone. This is also known as 'Building Simulation' or 'Building Information Model' BIM.

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.

Download Free sample of 3D walkthrough model:

With Archicad BIMx (Building Information Modelling) technology we can model your new home in 3D and gives you the chance to see your design before it's built. Download a free sample of the May House Renovation or our Clover Home and see for yourself.

Also:

(Updated Dec 2014)

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What is LED lighting and why is it so popular?

LED lights are a relatively new and evolving technology. Because of the significant cost savings over time, it is a long term investment and one you can start investing in now. See our tips on LED lighting for your home.

Additional energy saving ideas;

(Updated Dec 2014)

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Sommerhaus Library - Designed by All Australian Architecture

Building Code

Granny Flat - What is the easiest way to get an approval?

A granny flat can be a positive way to add value and flexibility to the use of your home.

New Affordable Rental Housing - SEPP provides a range of planning incentives and made granny flats, easier and faster to build.

The approval for the addition of a granny flat to a property can be processed in Complying Development or Development Application.

Please see our checklist for Granny Flat design and provision options. This will guide you to the availavle pathways of action in the addition of granny flat.


(Updated Dec 2014)

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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 www.insightbuildingcertifiers.com.au

Also:

Visit our before / after renovations portfolio.

(Updated Dec 2014)

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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.

The first round of changes came into effect on 25 February 2011. Since then the last update was 22nd February 2014. Please see Council vs Complying Developent Code Comaprison to see which approval option suit your home.

A summary of significant factors affecting Complying Development;

To keep up to date and for further information on amendments to this code, visit the NSW Department of Planning Website at www.housingcode.planning.nsw.gov.au

Do you need an architect for your complying development approval?

(Updated Dec 2014)

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I have kids - Are there any restrictions for openable windows?

Children and adults can be at risk of falling through windows. Children especially will jump around, on furniture or bedding and risk a life threatening fall through an open window.

Finally there are some regulations that put protections in place that could minimise death or injury.

Please see our checklist for openable window protection with 6 simple diagrams.

Also:

(Updated Dec 2014)

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