Designing your home is only part of what we do

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Designing your home is only part of what we do

Renovations, New Homes, Services

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Recently a friend asked me “What’s something that you wish your clients knew, that they typically don’t know?”

I didn’t have to think about the answer for too long.

“I wish they understood that we are more than just home design specialists,” I replied.

You see, designing homes is only part of what we do. I wouldn’t even say it’s the major part of what we do. It’s certainly one of the fun parts of our roles, and we are exceptionally good at it if I do say so myself. But we offer so much more than just the design.

It All Starts with a Great Design

If you know anything about our practice, then you know that we pride ourselves on really getting to understand our client’s needs before we start designing anything. We get to know them, their lifestyle, their future ambitions and plans. We then combine this knowledge, with an understanding of their budget, to tailor an exclusive bespoke home design.

Unfortunately, that’s as far as some clients go with us. They take either the orally presented ideas or concept designs and walk out the door to find themselves a builder. Sometimes that works out ok, although most of those people later say they regret not having had us look after the other steps for them. Other times things go wrong, things that would not have gone wrong had we been managing the project.

There’s a LOT that goes into renovating or building a home

It surprises many people to find out just how much goes into a project after the design has been finalised.

After an initial concept has been developed, we revise and develop the concept design following adjustments requested by our clients and then we show them the interiors through 3D modeling, virtual walkthroughs and virtual reality. Following this, we then organise a development application if required, and/or the building applications, a process we can manage entirely.

Bookfield Renovation – From concept to tender, our clients in Brookfield have Dion Seminara Architecture currently sourcing quotes from multiple builders, and will also have us overseeing the build of their renovation.

We understand the approvals and permitting process and can prepare development application drawings to help get your application approved. This, along with our experience in liaising with town planners, can save time and money for all concerned. Our wealth of experience becomes even more important if there is a need to coordinate with other consultants such as building certifiers or structural engineers.

It’s worth taking a moment to ask yourself, how much knowledge or experience do you have at getting building applications approved? Do you really want to waste your time, stumbling through the process, learning as you go, rather than having us take the stress out of the process for you?

What if our process covered its own costs?

People who take our designs and then engage a builder are putting the proverbial cart before the horse.

We intentionally, aside from the odd promotion, do not align ourselves with individual builders. So, you can have any number of builders’ tender for your project. This is one of the major advantages when working with dion seminara architecture.

So, the correct order of business is to get your building application in and approved, then we prepare contract/construction documents, then call for tenders and select the most suitable builder at the best price. But the tender process itself is not always as straightforward as you might think.

Image of Sherwood new home construction drawings

Sherwood sustainable new home – Detailed construction documentation example completed by Dion Seminara Architecture, in preparation for the construction of this sustainable new home

The starting point is to call for competitive tenders from suitably qualified builders. And ‘suitably qualified’ is super important if you want a great outcome. There are some builders who produce better quality work than others, some builders who only do new housing and some who specialise in individual styles of renovation. Some specialise, or at the very least have more experience in, a particular type of building/renovation/construction.

Once you’ve received their tenders – which should be very accurate thanks to our extremely detailed construction documentation – you now need to settle on which tender is the best. Often that will be the cheapest, but sometimes it isn’t. There are several other factors that come into play when selecting the most suitable builder and often a degree of negotiation is required at this time.

When you engage us to do your tender process on your behalf, we take care of all of this for you. From selecting suitably qualified and trusted builders to tender, through a complete evaluation of each price to further negotiating on your behalf and helping you make the right choice, with our recommendation included.

Importantly, this step has the potential to save you thousands of dollars. Frequently you will save more than what you’ve invested in our all-up professional services! Your wrong choice in builder could cost you thousands alone. Our expert knowledge is there to help.

Image of Sherwood new home tender results

Sherwood new home tender results – Why pay $300k more than you need to? This is why going to tender is so important. Our builders are all trusted and prequalified, therefore the lowest price does win. This project saw a 0.177% variation cost from the chosen builder’s quote.


It’s time to start building

This is probably the main area where our clients express regret that they didn’t engage us to act on their behalf.

Managing, even the smallest of projects can be a nightmare. Even if you’ve been diligent in selecting the best builder, things can and do, go wrong in the actual construction phase. Some of these are unforeseeable, such as site issues like hitting rocks when excavating, or the unavailability of particular materials.

Project management involves evaluating any requested contract variations, negotiating with builders and potentially tradespeople, subcontractors, and consultants. Site inspections need to be carried out to ensure all work has been completed to the required standard before releasing any progress payments. And this is just a fraction of what is involved.

So, stop and ask yourself, is this really something that you want to undertake yourself? Sure, you might save a few dollars if everything goes smoothly, but what if it doesn’t? Do you have the time and the experience to manage the project on your own?

Ensuring a stress-free quality outcome

Image of Indooroopilly post war home renovation

Indooroopilly post-war home renovation – Being time poor with three very young children at the time of construction, this family required us to fully project manage their build, taking the stress out of the building process for them. Watch the client’s testimonial here.


By having us manage each step of the process you are giving your project the best chance of success. It will enable you to enjoy the process, without the stress of managing any issues that arise. We keep you abreast of any developments and handle them on your behalf.

And, more often than not, we save our customers more than what they invest to have us manage everything for them.

If you’ve trusted us to create the ultimate design for your home, then trust us to manage everything through to completion. Contact us today to see how we can help manage your project, and produce your dream home as stress-free as possible.

Dion Seminara Architect


We are experts at home design, renovations and new homes and ensure good value for money outcomes.

Hi, I am Dion Seminara, practicing architect and licensed general builder for 30 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.