1 ARCHITECTS – DO YOU NEED ONE? Is your project suitable?


do you need an architect

Residential Architects.  Do you need one?   Is your project suitable?

If you are considering renovating or building a new home in Sydney, there are generally three options:

    1. knock down and rebuild by a project home company
    1. an addition to an existing home by a design and construct company  or
    1. an individual one-off approach, such as a residential architect, building designer or draftsperson


These options provide services to different segments of the residential building market.

Their offers are different in terms of cost, design, quality, involvement of the client/owner and the method of project delivery.

The differences are significant and relate to project budget, the quality and complexity of design, approvals, construction, the client/owner’s involvement, the control of the project and the level of personal and individualised service.

At the start of a project, consider what you need and what you are hoping for, to start off on the right track.

So, what do you need in terms of design and service?

    1. pre designed and off-the-shelf: project home, fixed design, fixed price, fixed process
    1. custom designed with some pre-designed choices for selection, fixed delivery process: design and construct, most often for specific situations like upper floor additions
    1. individually tailored solutions and service: an architect, a building designer or draftsperson


The following resources are ways to find out more about the options available on the northern beaches and north shore of Sydney:

  • Knock Down, Rebuild – Project Homes: ie Metricon, Lawson, GJ Gardiner etc
  • Design and Construct: ie Add Style for Upper floor additions
  • Individual Tailored Solutions and Services:



If you are seeking an individually tailored solution and service, how do you decide if you need an architect?

Consider the following questions for discussion with your family, to prepare yourself at the outset to make the right choice:

  • What is the value of your site?
  • What is the value of your existing home?
  • Is a knock down and re-build process permitted on your site?
  • Is your existing home and site simple and straight forward, or complex? ie: existing special site conditions or zonings, steep topography, bushfire, environmental living area, foreshore area, heritage conservation, flood zone?
  • Is your existing home a robust and special asset, worthy of adapting to suit your ongoing needs?
  • What will you spend on your project, all up?
  • What will the dollar value of your asset – house and site –  be upon completion?
  • How important is the home to you as a financial asset?
  • How important is the home/site to you, personally?
  • How long after the project is complete will you be living in the home?
  • How much dedicated time and personal resources do you have to undertake and contribute to the project over the next two years?
  • How much experience do you have in residential renovating and building?
  • Who will be responsible for the day to day carriage of the project?


If you home and site are of significant value to your and your family, if it is the most important financial asset, and the renovation/rebuild is going to be the largest financial commitment you have undertaken other than the original asset purchase, then getting sound professional guidance is prudent.

Residential architects are trained and qualified to provide design, advice and management services throughout all stages of pre design, design, approvals, documentation, tendering, building contracts and construction.

Residential architects:

  • act as your independent designer and advisor throughout the project
  • provide a personal, individualised and comprehensive service, from beginning to end
  • can sometimes provide planning, heritage, landscape and detailed interior design services, as well as the co-ordination of all other consultants (ie: structural, certifiers etc)
  • are paid directly by their clients for their time and expertise (they do make money from the building process)
  • generally undertake a limited number of projects a year, providing dedicated resources to their select clients 


If you think the value, significance and complexity of your project warrants the best advice possible, then continue to read MWa’s  client advice articles, to find out more about architects, the ins and out of the process, how to prepare and how to find the right architect to suit you.


Read on…click below on MWa’s  client advice articles:


1 Architects – Do you need one? Is your project suitable?

2 Your Brief: Wish List, Shopping List & Priorities List: Decide what you need, what you want and what you can spend – before finding your architect.

3 Your Architect – A Good Match: How to find the right architect.

4 Process: Strategy, Vision, Compliance, Detail & Delivery: How it all works 

5 Costs & Cashflow – Case Study: A recent renovation case study which shows you where the money goes and the cashflow from start to finish.

6 Time – How long will it take?: How to cut six months off a renovation time frame.

7 Fees – Myth vs Reality

8 Manage Costs, Save Money: 10 Ways to Manage Costs, 10 Ways to Save Money


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