5 reasons to choose “architect designed” over “off the plan”

5 reasons to choose “architect designed” over “off the plan”

Tips and Advice, New Homes

architect designedYou have a budget for building a new home in Brisbane and you need to stick to it strictly. So should you choose to have your home designed by a Brisbane architect, or go with an off the shelf plan through a building company?

Well obviously I’m going to say that you should go with a Brisbane architect. Not just any Brisbane architect, but specifically with dion seminara architecture. Allow me to explain why.

Small contemporary home vs. off the plan builder home

1. Liveability:

It’s a fact that no matter which option you choose you will be making a compromise. An architecturally designed home will be smaller, but an off the shelf plan has not been designed with your lifestyle in mind. How you prefer to live is a crucial factor. A smaller, custom-designed option is actually less of a compromise than the off the shelf option. This is because it has been designed with your specific needs in mind. So whilst it may be smaller in physical dimensions, it will feel larger because it’s designed to suit the way you live.

2. Future potential built into the design:

Just because you can’t afford a large architecturally designed home right now doesn’t mean that you can’t allow for it right up front. Circumstances change and the limited budget you’re on now could allow for further expansion in the near future. By having your home designed by an architect that understands your long-term goals, the initial design can be made with future expansion potential built in. This will not only save you money when you renovate and extend further down the track. It will also seamlessly blend into your current home and all of its built-in lifestyle advantages.

3. Greater resale value:

When you purchase an “off the plan” house design you’re buying the same home that potentially thousands of other people have, or will in the future. There is nothing unique about it which obviously places a cap on the home’s potential resale value.

However, having your home designed from scratch by an experienced architect will result in you owning a uniquely designed home that has been built to suit the block you live on. It will be a home that will feel bright and airy, intimate and yet with a spacious, uncluttered feel. A home designed by an architect typically sells for considerably more than the mass-produced off the shelf models. So, if eventual resale value is important to you, you need to choose the architect path.

4. Greater longevity:

Part of the reason why off the shelf houses tend to be cheaper is due to the fact that they are only built to a certain standard and that standard is typically not all that high. To be fair, the warranty work by some of these building companies can be quite good. However, what happens once that warranty is over? How long until your house needs expensive ongoing maintenance work through natural wear and tear? Having an architecturally designed home built to a higher standard means that it will typically last longer. Which results in less expensive ongoing repair work.

5. Competitive pricing:

Off the shelf plans offer a cheap way to build a home because the plan has been reused over and over again. It’s designed to be built quickly and cheaply. But an architecturally designed home can also stack up very well in terms of pricing, thanks to the fact that you’re not locked into using one builder. Having the plans designed by an independent architect allows you to get competitive quotes from a number of different builders and choose the one that best suits your budget and needs. This can result in significant savings on the cost of your project.

In addition to this, a home designed by a qualified architect will almost always have lower running costs. This is due to the superior eco-design characteristics and a design that is customised to your block and the prevailing climatic conditions. Compare this to the often hot in summer, cold in winter off the shelf designs offered by many building companies.

There are any number of other reasons I could list but I think that you will agree based on these five alone that when it comes to small architect designed home vs. off the shelf, mass produced designs, the boutique custom designed home wins every time.

Dion Seminara Architect


Hi, I am Dion Seminara, practicing architect and licensed general builder for 20 years as well as an environmental sustainable design (ESD) expert. I graduated from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) with honours, QLD in 1989. Registered as an architect in 1991 and registered as a builder in 1992, I am also a fellow member of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA). Having received 12 ArCHdes Residential Architecture Awards, LJ Hooker Flood Free Home Design Award and the 2016 AIA Regional Commendation for Public Architecture, my expertise with both residential renovation (to all types of houses, especially Queenslanders, 50s/60s/80s), new contemporary homes and luxury residences has earned me a reputation as one of Brisbane's architectural specialists in lifestyle design architecture, interior design and landscape design.