Architecture Myths


Every industry has its share of false perceptions and the architecture business is certainly no exception. Georgina Wilson dispels some commonly held myths about working with an architect.

Myth 1: Architects do not understand cost

One of the most common misconceptions is that architects do not understand cost.There’s a belief that we spend our days drawing pretty pictures of impossible, unbuildable, outrageously expensive designs.

In reality, good design and sound investment decisions go hand-in-hand. A good architect will save you money in the long run, and will make sure that your property value is maximised. Building of any kind represents a huge investment, often the biggest investment that we will make in our lifetime – a good architect can show you how to make this investment a success.

Consideration of budgets and knowledge of building costs and potential risks is a big part of our job as an architect. From our first meeting with a Client, and throughout the design and building process, we are acutely aware of, and intimately involved with the need to align the project requirements with the project budget.

To begin with, we listen carefully to the needs of our Client – we help them to articulate the budget that they need to work within, the outcomes that they are trying to achieve and the type of space that they would like to create. Once this information has been discussed, we review the ‘wish list’ in relation to the ‘desired spend’ to ensure that the figures are realistic and achievable. They almost always are not! It is crucial to begin the assessment of requirements in relation to cost as early as possible in the process, and to take the cost seriously from day one.

We work closely with a Quantity Surveyor or builder early on (usually before DA), to double check our own assessment of where the cost is lying in relation to the requirements of the project.

If you want to control the cost of your project you need to understand the cost of what you are asking for. A good architect will help you to clarify where the costs actually lie in your building project. Often well-meaning Clients may attempt to save cost in a misguided way that compromises the overall outcome significantly, and in some cases ends up costing more.

Many of the decisions that you will make with your architect have a huge impact on the profitability of your investment. For example,

–          developing open plan work areas and efficient floor plans to increase density or make work flow patterns more effective;

–          Selecting high quality, appropriate finishes that wear well and last for a long time;

–          Conceiving clever floor plans that permit future growth and development;

–          Creating desirable outcomes that future buyers will pay a premium for;

–          Securing generous building envelopes in tricky Council areas;

–          Preventing costly mistakes during Construction;

–          Preventing costly delays during Construction.

When a Client and their architect work well together, great design outcomes can be collaboratively achieved. Knowing where to save and where to spend can help a Client’s costs average out so that they can achieve their priorities without blowing the budget.

For me, one of life’s greatest pleasures is working with people to make a great building, space or environment a reality. It is the transformation of an idea into reality that makes a client happy. Part of this is being able to work within a real budget.

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