Architect fees – 7 reasons why you should spend the extra money. Part 1

Posted by on Mar 4, 2014 in Blog, How to/ Tips | No Comments

I am often asked – “Why spend extra on architect fees?” In this blog post and the next, I will explain the difference between using an architect, or going the other cheaper option of using a draftsperson.

1) Training.

To become an architect requires:

  • A 5 year university degree.
  • Followed by a minimum of two years experience working under an architect, logging time in each aspect of designing a building.
  • Upon completion of the required experience, you sit your registration exams to become an architect.
  • That’s a minimum of 7 years, or in other words, a long time.

A draftsperson requires:

  • A TAFE level diploma of 1-2 years.

I highlight this as it points out the biggest difference between the two roles. Essentially a draftsperson is trained to draw the technical drawings the architect hands them, which are in sketch form. A draftsperson’s work is an important part of the process, which many architects rely on. However building design is not regulated in this country unlike elsewhere, so anyone can design a house in Australia. As a result drafts-people have taken on the task of design also (despite no design training) cutting the architect out.

Only 3% of houses in Australia are designed by architects, and it shows. Take a drive down any street and you will see one terribly designed drab home after another. It saddens me how many people live in such homes, and more so to think that these houses will remain with us for decades to come. Some examples by drafts-people below. Uglies2) Design

We are surrounded by and spend every day of our lives in buildings. Your environment, usually a building, has an effect on your mood and the way you operate. For example: Imagine you’re on holiday. You turn up to your hotel and it’s old, tired and dirty. You know that feeling of total disappointment, as your mood moves from excitement to upset. The flip side is turning up to a stunning hotel, your excited by what you see, it makes you feel special and when the time comes you don’t want to leave. This is how good architecture affects us. Architects spend years at University studying design, and the homes they create benefit their clients by creating spaces that positively impact their mood and the way in which they function. I believe we all deserve it live in a great home. Great design not need cost the earth either, it must simply work well.

Currently on my drawing board.

Malvern Rd- TP1

Elm - Rear Left

3) Time Spent

A draftsperson may spend a 2-3 weeks on designing your home. I spend 2-3 months! Such is the level of detail and thought that goes into a home designed by an architect. That extra time allows the architect to respond to the site’s conditions, working around any issues, like overlooking neighbours, a tree blocking the natural sunlight etc. The small fee a draftsperson charges is due to the small amount of work they do. You will lose that sunlight due to that tree, you will have neighbour’s overlooking your bedroom, and your house will have zero design flair – just a plain box with a pitched roof.  If that’s all you want then that’s fine. A draftsperson isn’t concerned or being paid to deal with such issues, so you are left with a house that fails to provide the best possible  liveability, functionality, energy efficiency, site responsiveness and design.  Just remember you get what you pay for.

Tune in in a fortnight, for part two.


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