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Your home is most probably the largest investment you will ever make. So why not make the first step, the designing of your dream house, the correct one? Design and drawing skills, the best construction knowledge and building site experience are irreplaceable functions of a professional architect.

Architects are construction professionals with knowledge of house plans, the building industry and associated fields. Experienced residential architects have a working knowledge of local council requirements and know-how to avoid common pit falls within the building industry. They have real-life exposure to building products and methods that are constantly changing. Your architect could also provide a full professional service, including to observe the construction process up to completion, going for a big load off of your own shoulders.

The first step when hiring an architect is to communicate to him your design preferences. Do this by clippings or photo’s of architecture and design styles you like, and be clear about your requirements. These can include the range of (en-suite) bedrooms, bathrooms and entertainment areas, non-standard fixtures you require, the size and quantities of existing furniture you shall need to fit into your new home’s living spaces and many more. Note however that the architect’s advice and ideas about the design may differ from yours – take them into serious consideration, especially regarding style. The style you might have in your mind might not be the correct idea for a number of reasons, which your architect should explain to you.

Your architect will, based on this and some artistic interpretations, present you with a concept design. After this has been discussed, adjusted and approved, the next step is to prepare construction plans and obtain quotations, usually from between two and four building contractors. It’s not possible to provide an accurate estimate without proper tender documents. By hiring an architect, you get accurate drawings and comprehensive finishes schedules which is often used for tender documentation to contractors, council submission and construction purposes.

The best architect will also inform you to budget for unforeseen expenses and not only the construction of the intended design. The normal cost of your home will depend upon the method of construction, materials, location and lots of more factors. Your architectural practitioner should have a good knowledge and inform you regarding these factors.

Architects’ responsibilities include, amongst other duties, concept design, construction documentation, council documentation, meetings with contractors and building site inspections. In case you are on a tight budget, you could choose to employ them only for certain parts of the construction or design process. This way you will have to source some materials and find contractors yourself and be more hands-on, but will still get a superior design to boost your investment.