An architect reveals what you need to know before starting your project


 Author: Georgia Madden


Building or renovating a home is likely to be one of the biggest investments of your lifetime. With so much at stake, you’ll want to make the design and build process as smooth and efficient as possible. With that in mind, we’ve asked architect Clinton Cole, principal of multi-disciplinary Sydney practice CplusC Architectural Workshop, to tell us the 3 things he wishes every client understood before the start of a project.


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Why these are my big three

For my company, these three things are the difference between a great project, a difficult project that does not come to fruition, or no project at all (as we did not entertain the preparation of a proposal in the first place).


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1.  Choose an architect that focuses on understanding your needs – and be honest about what they are

A fabulous portfolio and a pleasant first meeting don’t necessarily give you an indication of whether that particular architectural practice is suited to your project. Tough questions and realistic budget discussions need to occur before a proposal is prepared by the architect. I believe that a client who decides not to proceed with their project based on the above questions and advice is better than a great design a client can’t afford to build and never could.


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 2.  RTFC (read the friggin’ contract)

Architecture is a business and architects that run professional businesses consistently deliver successful, professionally managed results for their clients.If you sign an agreement that states a timeframe, describes the service to be provided, and clearly outlines what is being delivered and the associated costs, then that is the totality of each parties’ relationship obligations and expectations.

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Although I don’t hear them often, I do receive comments along the following lines from time to time, and generally in response to proposing a variation to the architectural agreement: “That was always part of our brief.” “It is common sense that this should have been included.” “You should have known that is what we expected.” “We were never in a rush and we want to take our time.”

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Any good contract will provide all the answers to these questions in terms of whether they are reasonable or not, and how they are dealt with under the terms of the agreement. A client should ensure that all their needs and expectations are clearly outlined in the contract before signing it.

3.  Trust expert opinions

When an architect-builder or quantity surveyor gives you a likely budget or cost range of a project, that will be the likely budget or cost range of the project. Quantity surveyors have a professional duty to provide accurate market rates for particular project types, based on an expected level of design and construction quality. And architect-builders have a vested interest in providing clients with accurate rates for their projects, as they generally price the project as they are designing it, and do so as if they are going to sign a construction contract to build it.


Houzz is a platform for home renovation and design, bringing homeowners and home professionals together in a uniquely visual community. These guest posts are supplied by their community of authors and first appeared on www.houzz.com.au

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