A room full of architects: the opening of the 2014 architecture awards exhibition in Hobart

Architects – Myths Busted

Brad Wheelerby author page

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The benefits of engaging an architect

“Why would I get an architect? They’re expensive and extravagant.” Have you ever said this when looking at building a house or an extension? Many do, and it’s a common belief – but is it true?


Well, yes and no. It is true that, as an initial cost and as a percentage of the construction cost an architect’s fees seem high, but let’s drill deeper.


First of all, a lot of those fees include Engineers, Building Surveyors and Local Council costs that you will have to pay anyway. OK, I hear you say, I can carpet my house for the cost of an architect. Maybe, but what about the savings you might make?


For starters, an architect can advise on how to minimise the running costs of your home by ensuring the rooms are getting the sun and constructed to properly retain the heat on cold winters nights.


Here’s the thing though, what many people don’t realise is that an architect will give you great up-front advice that can save a lot of money. They can help you make your house size efficient so you are not paying for extra square metres you don’t really need. Architects can discuss your future plans to ensure you don’t build a house that needs another extension in five years time. They can even sometimes tell you how to rework your existing house so that you don’t need to build on at all.


An architect will also manage the construction for you – signing up a builder and checking on the building of your home regularly, ensuring that you are getting what you’re paying for. If there’s a problem an architect will work with the builder to solve it. That’s right – it minimises your risk of being a segment on A Current Affair (you know what I mean).


So what about the extravagant bit? Well, architects will respond to your needs; some people want it “a little bit fancy” but architects are just as comfortable helping you create a modest home as well. You’ll be surprised at the number of smart practical solutions architects have to your home design problems.


There are all sorts of architects, just like there are all sorts of houses and the important thing is to pick the one that suits your needs. So if you’re considering using an architect, talk to one or three of them, they will usually have an initial conversation for free and then you can make an informed decision.


After all; it’s likely to be your biggest investment.


Brad Wheeler is president of the Tasmanian chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects


This article was previously published in The Mercury and appears with the permission of the author


Disclaimer: Any advice contained within this blog is of a general nature only and cannot be relied upon. Details provided are in good faith and relate specifically to this project. Any author will not be held responsible for advice or information presented.

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