Looking to create a great design for your dream home? Your design is where your home comes together and is a vital part of the construction process. It is the seed from which the rest of your project blooms. Today, we’ll look at engaging a home building designer in 2022. But what is a building designer? How do you know a great designer from a pretender? Buildi is here to help you every step of the way and we’ll help you turn your ideas into your dream home.
What is a building designer?
A building designer is someone who creates working drawings for your floor plans. They draw the layout for house plans, renovations and other structures, such as granny flats. In the past, they were referred to as draftsmen, but this has changed over time to better encompass what building designers do. Their work includes sketching building plans, preparing documentation, calculating labour and material requirements, building site visits and examining relevant codes. They tend to offer their services for less than architects charge, though this isn’t set in stone.
So how is this different from an architect? Architects have higher qualifications, including studying architecture at university and usually can offer a wider scope of options, however, whether you need this will depend on the complexity of your project. Along with the correct qualifications, in Australia, architects need to be registered with their state’s Architects Registration Board if they wish to practice professionally.
For building designers, it varies from state to state. In Queensland, you do need a BSA Building Design License to trade a building designer, whereas, in other states like NSW, ACT, WA and Victoria, there are no licensing requirements to be a building designer.
A registered architect can cost anywhere design fees are anywhere between 2,500 and 10,000, sometimes more. Many architects may charge an hourly fee. While it may seem logical to hire an architect to design your home, with the average home, it may be an unnecessary expense. The building process can be long, so you need to save some cash for construction costs and maintaining your home when finished. With Buildi on your side, we’ll be able to help you find the right person to design your home.
The Building Designers Association recommends you check your building designer’s qualifications and where they’re qualified to work. The last thing you want to do is hire someone who later turns out not to be up to the task!
What type of home do you want to live in?
One of the first steps of the design process is choosing the type of home you want to live in. Consider what type of house suits your lifestyle and needs. How people do you need to accommodate? Will this number change in the future and how soon?
You’ll need to consider the features you want. Do you want an open plan living style floorplan? High Ceilings? How many bedrooms? You’ll also want to consider things like the natural light and how you can use this for extra lighting in your home.
Where do you want the home to be located?
What you’re looking for in a home will determine the location and vice versa. If you want that rural feel with an acreage home, the inner city probably isn’t for you. Also, you’ll want to hire professionals who specialise in rural homes. Likewise, if you’re working on a sloping block, hire a builder and designer who are up to the task. Certain builders and contractors will be more familiar with wherever you’re thinking of building. For example, if a builder has over twenty years of experience in your area, they’re at least worth a look over someone who’s never built a home in your location.
The location of your home can have a huge influence on the price of the home. A general rule of thumb is the more in demand suburbs tend to be closer to the CBD, or near a desired location like a beach.
What is your budget?
Having a realistic and honest understanding of your budget is an important step when it comes to building a new home. Knowing what you can and can’t afford early in the process could save some serious debt and heartache later on. The last thing you want is the stress of financial strain ruining your new home. Once you have a budget in mind, it’ll help keep you on track with building costs.
Like everything else when it comes to building, the costs of an architect or building designer can blow out if you’re not careful. Here are a few tips to avoid cost blow-outs:
- Be upfront and honest about your budget.
- Have open communication with your designer/architect. Designing your dream home is a collaborative process, where your designer should want your input and want to bring your ideas to life. You should feel comfortable with discussing every aspect of your design plans. Having said that…
- Listen to your designer’s advice! Design development is their speciality so if they say your idea will exceed your budget, they’re probably right. While it’s ultimately your decision, it’s wise to carefully consider what you’ve been told and weigh up whether you can afford it.
- Understand the flow-on impact of your choices. Changes can influence the budget requirements drastically, as can being to emotionally invested in older ideas and not knowing when to move on.
- Get cost estimates regularly during the process.
Checking planning permission & regulations in your area
When it comes to regulations, every area will have differences so it’s best to check with the council. You’ll need building approval for any concept design you wish to build. It’s best to stay on top of regulations and acquire any permits needed for a build in a timely manner. Not submitting paperwork on time and cause long delays which in turn will cost you.
Choosing your home designer
You’ll want to make sure that your designer is capable and reliable. You don’t want is to spend hard-earned money on a plan that gets rejected by the council. You’ll want to be confident in the final design before you start construction. No matter how tedious it may get, getting things right in the design stages will pay off dividends down the track.
Check their creditionals
An easy place to start when looking for home designers is to check what qualifications they have. In Queensland, this is a little easier, as there are legal requirements to meet before you can call yourself a building designer. In other states, you’ll need to do a little detective work to find out what qualifications someone calling themselves a building designer actually has. Ideally, your designer will be able to see several steps ahead when it comes to any design choice. They’ll know what will be required to bring your ideas to life.
Talk to previous clients
Odds are, a bad home designer isn’t just going to come out and tell you they’re not worth your time. It’s always a good idea to ask for references, even if you have a great feeling about the designer. Find out what other clients have been saying about your possible designer. You can also talk to experts, like Buildi, who can advise you on who to trust and who’s not all that they seem.
Understand What You’re Paying For
Before you sign anything, be sure you understand what it is you’ll get for your money. Will it be a complete detailed plan, fully dimensionalised or just a quick sketch? The information should be included in the contract and be openly discussed between you and your builder.
Check their portfolio
This isn’t just to check the quality of their work. Like builders, building designers will have specialities or areas where they’re stronger than others. There will also be cases where incredibly talented and qualified designers simply don’t suit your vision.
You can also visit the previous projects they’ve designed and see how they look when completed. If they just don’t click with you, it might be time to consider hiring someone else.
Ask lots of questions
There’s no such thing as a silly question. If you aren’t sure about something, its always best to just ask rather than make assumptions. Professionals should be happy to answer your questions and be honest enough to admit when they don’t know something.
Ask for advice.
Buildi will help guide you through the process of finding the right people for your project. Building a home is a huge undertaking, and Buildi can help you avoid the pitfalls and help you save time and money.
Building a new home can be a daunting process. At Buildi, we work with you throughout the entire build process to avoid any pitfalls and make sure your house build stays on time and on budget by following these simple steps
- Free Consultation – We will sit with you to understand what you are looking to accomplish.
- Due Diligence – We work with you to ensure you’re buying the right block of land at the right price without hidden problems.
- Builders tender – We will take your requirements out to the market of builders and they will bid to win your business.
- Present solutions – We will compile the top 3 options and present you with a comprehensive proposal on builders’ strengths & weaknesses along with prices and specifications.
- Contract Signing – We will work with you and your selected builder to ensure there is full transparency in what you are entering into.
- Building your home – We work closely with the builder to ensure all service levels are met and your project is on schedule.