When hiring an architect to design your new home or renovation, excellent communication between you and your architect is of vital importance. It is not only important that your architect understands what you hope to achieve, it is also vital that you feel comfortable with discussing your life and financial circumstances. Though friendly conversation is fantastic, it is important to also remember that your architect is a design professional. Just as you wouldn’t tell a doctor how to do their job or ask them to provide drugs without a prescription, there are some things your architect would prefer that you didn’t say.


image1.   I have the design already, can you just draw it up?

When someone says they “have their design already”, this could mean two different things. The first possibility is that they have seen a plan already, perhaps for an existing home, perhaps on a brochure and want this plan built on their site. Approaching an architect to copy exactly an existing design is asking them to undertake the unethical and illegal task of breaching the original designer’s copyright. If you have fixated upon a specific design that has already been produced, you should contact the original designer for permission to use that design.

The second possibility for the client who “has their design already” is that they have arrived at the design solution by themselves and are completely convinced it is their best and only option. In either of these cases, if you are not looking for design services, you shouldn’t engage an architect.

What to say instead: I quite like this particular design, could something similar work for my site and what are your other suggestions?


2.   My budget is confidential

You need to be comfortable discussing money with your architect. One of the first tasks of your architect is to assess if your desired brief is possible with the funds you have available. There is no point getting a fully developed design only to find that the budget won’t stretch that far.

What to say instead: What are the likely scenarios and timeframes through the planning process?


image3. I need you to guarantee a planning permit by a certain date

Architects don’t issue planning permits, councils do. While some permits and some councils can be very quick, others can take well over six months. All that the architect can do in these circumstances is to have very clear drawings and respond quickly to any queries the council may have. In more established areas where planning can be more contentious, it is also quite possible that neighbour objections or objections from the councillors themselves may force the application to be decided at a planning tribunal, further delaying the process. Though architects can give advice about likely outcomes, there are no guarantees with planning.

What to say instead: What are the likely scenarios and timeframes through the planning process?


4. Can you lower your fees?

Quality design takes time. There is no shortcut. Architecture is a service industry where we sell our time to design your building. If we lower our fees, we either have to take less time in designing your building, resulting in a poor outcome.

What to say instead: Where can we save money across the overall budget?


Omnia-15.    It is my land, so why can’t I do what I want? Can we break the rules?

Your new home is very likely to have a lifespan substantially longer than you. The act of commissioning a building is likely to be one of the most permanent and public actions that you are ever likely to undertake.

Consequently, there are significant rules, regulations and processes that must be adhered to. The rules are in place to protect the public interests and in some cases your own safety and wellbeing. Whilst you might think it is perfectly acceptable to have rendered walls, a triple garage or a tennis court, depending on your specific site, your council or your building surveyor may not provide their approval.

What to say instead: Are exceptions to this rule allowed? And if not, what are the acceptable design alternatives?

Ultimately, dealing with an architect requires strong communication on both the side of the architect and the client. Both parties need to accept that you each have a vested interest in making the property as best it can be, delivered on time and on budget. Whether you need help on an existing build or a new build in Sydney, the team at Pinnacle Plus can help you create flow and functionality in your home easily through strong design and experience. All you have to do is get in touch with the team today by clicking this link.