Why hire an architect?

The benefits of hiring an architect may include:

Our knowledge of building materials, new products, how and when to use, them can result in a better building and a way to avoid costly mistakes

The architect is a skilled go-between who stands between you and the builder. In any situation where a lot is at stake, disagreements can lead to tension and conflict. The architect remains informed on all issues and can assist in avoiding disputes with the builder.

How can I justify an architect’s fee?

The architect’s fee can represent real value for money when you consider that:

The architect’s thorough documentation reduces the risk of cost and time over-runs.

By managing the cost of any changes you may require during construction the architect can avoid unnecessary additional payments to the builder.

The architect can assist you in achieving a predictable and secure cash-flow for your project.

It is widely accepted that an architect designed building will fetch a premium price when you sell.

The architect’s fee is reasonable when compared to other costs associated with your property. Compare the cost of an architect providing a full range of services for a fee equal to, say, ten percent of the construction cost. Your architect will probably undertake hundreds of hours of service over many months. Compare this service with that of a real estate agent, for example, who may charge two to three percent of the entire value  of your land and building, A value which is often twice the cost of constructing your building. The real estate agent will typically place an advertisement for your home, attend six forty five minute open days and pass offers on to you. If you compare the magnitude of these commitments with the costs and consider the level of university training your architect must have, your architect’s fee represents a good investment.

Why choose Dunn Architects?

The way we work has many benefits for you:

The process we follow is easy to understand and is tailored to suit your requirements. Wherever practical we will provide a fixed quotation including a range of services from which you may choose. From this quotation you will be well placed to assess what work we will undertake, when it will be done and what the cost of each stage will be to you.

We have adopted what we consider to be the most cost effective and reliable technology to that we can deliver value for money. We use Apple computers for their reliability and efficiency. We have sixteen years experience with this very stable and secure computer system. We have never had a virus yet.

Because we use a three dimensional computer modelling software package, you do not need to be an expert in architectural drawings to understand our designs. We also chose this software  because it is efficient to use, a saving we can pass on to our clients.

Because we are a team of no more than three to five people we have minimised our administration. As a result you are not paying for extensive middle management.

Because of our earlier experience on large commercial projects we continue to give emphasis to providing  thorough drawings and specifications for builders. This attention to detail minimises uncertainty for the builder, enabling more competitive building price tenders

Our earlier experience in Project and Construction Management enable us to effectively negotiate with builders.

Our designs speak for themselves

Do you know any builders who can construct our project?

Yes, we know many proven builders who may be available for your project. We are regularly approached by other builders who are keen to work on architect designed buildings.

What building contracts do you use?

We use a range of contracts jointly approved by both the Master Builders Association and the  Australian Institute of Architects. These Australian Building Industry Contracts (ABIC)  are widely regarded as fair and having resulted in relatively low numbers of disputes. This may be due in part to the fact that these contracts are administered contracts. That is, an independent third party is involved in admiistering the contract on a fair and impartial basis. Architects admistering such contracts are legally obliged to act impartially. However, these standard contracts are not perfect and over recent years their termashave tended to reflect the unusually elevated demand for builders. For this reason we provide Special Conditions where we consider that the standard terms might be unfair to either the bulider or the owner, as the case may be.

Can you help us find an engineer and any other consultants we might need?

Yes, we can recommend engineers and other consultants. We have received excellent service from several firms for many years and can recommend them to you.

Further inforation is available by clicking on this link to Northrop Engineers.

What are your terms and conditions?

Our standard terms are generally those of the Australian Institute of Architects. A full description is included with our quotation.

When do I pay the architect’s fees?

Our fees are generally invoiced monthly in proportion to the amount of progress made. Work is staged and you are only responsible for paying for work completed on the relevant stages at that time. A ten percent deposit is required for lump sum commissions .

How does the process work?

Most building works require approval from your local council. Some council’s (such as Randwick) have fast track approval processes that cover many types of alterations.

The first step is your project is for us to  prepare a written description of what we understand you want to build. We will in most cases provide a lump sum quotation for our services covering all of the stages through to completion.

We will then review the regulations to determine what can be built and prepare preliminary sketches to describe to you what might build.

When you are satisfied that the sketches show what you want to build we will prepare and lodge with council all of the drawings and other documents needed to obtain development approval

Once development approval is given by council we will obtain a quotation from an engineer, arrange for you to hire them and co-ordinate their work. The engineer’s documents and more detailed documents prepared by us will then be submitted to council to obtain building approval. This approval is known as a Construction Certificate.

Once we obtain this approval we will prepare the final and more detailed drawings and documents needed to allow a builder to prepare an accurate tender (building quotation).

We will then send the drawings and other documents to a number of selected builders, analyse their tenders and recommend the appointment of the preferred builder. We then prepare a building contract and arrange for both parties to sign it.

During construction we answer any questions the builder may have, analyse the builder’s invoices and prepare written statements of how much you should pay to the builder in response to each invoice. We recommend that a proportion of the payment be withheld by you as security to assist in ensuring that the building is properly constructed and that any defects are fixed. On completion of the building work we arrange for the final approval from council to occupy the building.