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Everything you need to know about finding an Architect


An architect is a professional that designs plans for a building right through to supervising the building process. Architects are university-qualified, having completed a Bachelor of Architecture degree that typically runs for five years. As well as this degree, the architect should have developed people skills as they work closely with clients. They also work closely with, and coordinate, other professionals associated with the building project.

Architects must be registered with the appropriate state or national body in order to use the term “architect”. This is proof of their experience and qualifications.

©Phillip Crouch Architects

What Architects Do

Architects, particularly architectural project managers, are responsible for the following:

  • Preparing a design brief according to the client’s requirements
  • Preparing plans, either by hand or using computer-aided design programs
  • Coordinating other professionals involved in the project
  • Drawing up budgets, contracts and assisting with tenders (see architect tender services)
  • Gaining approval from the necessary authorities
  • Observing and monitoring building works
  • Inspecting work being completed
  • Evaluating projects once completed

The architect is also responsible for making sure that the building or project is structurally sound, and this requires an understanding of engineering or bringing in a structural engineer if necessary. Also, once the project has been completed, there is usually a warranty period, and the architect is the professional that liaises with the client and the builder to ensure that the work has been completed fully, satisfactorily and safely.

Architects and Other Professionals

An architect does not work alone on a building project but usually as part of a varied team. Some professionals that the architect is coordinates or otherwise works with are:

This is not a definitive list of professionals as who needs to be engaged to work on a project is dependent on the scope and boundaries of the project itself. For example, the building of a new property may require the coordination and input of more professionals than a simple renovation would.

©Roth Architecture

Choosing an Architect

When choosing a residential or commercial architect, it is important that you speak with them first to ensure that they are able to understand and share in the vision that you have for your home improvement project. You will also want to see proof of their experience and qualifications, and you should ask for previous examples of their work. If possible, get references and find out what insurances they have.

You can read more about the registration of architects in your state/territory at Licensedtrades.com.au.

How Much Does an Architect Cost?

Architects will generally work their fee out based on a percentage of the total building cost, which may also vary with the complexity of your project based on a scale of charges recommended by the Australian Institute of Architects. While architects are not legally locked into this scale, it represents a close indication of how much certain architectural jobs will cost.

Architects who design your home and then are involved through the entire project  may well charge in excess of $10 000, depending on the scale and length of the job. The overall cost is broken down into percentages for each individual component; a costing could be expressed as follows: 15% for schematic design, 15% for developed sketch plans used for planning permits, 40% for construction documentation and specification (for obtaining building permits), 2.5% for negotiating pricing of the works, 27.5% for guidance during construction etc.

Ensure that you are really clear about what is exactly involved in any project so that architects can quote accordingly and all additional charges are included in a final figure.

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