Free architectural advice is worth the nothing that you pay for it!

Free architectural advice is worth the nothing that you pay for it!

Tips and Advice

free architectural adviceFree architectural advice? Are you kidding?I charge for my consultations because I want to save you money.

I charge for my consultations because I want to save you money.

Other architects offer free advice because they want your money.

Confused? Well, let me explain what I mean …

A client of mine once told me that he was originally put off by the fact that I charge a fee to do an initial consultation when the other Brisbane architects that he had contacted offer free architectural advice. His thinking was why pay me for a service that other Brisbane architects were giving away free of charge?

So rather than pay me he instead went through a number of free consultations with other Brisbane architects.

But each time he found the same problem, that the architects he was meeting didn’t seem to add value or they seemed in a rush to get the meeting over a done with. Instead of listening to his ideas they would give vague overviews, state that they could do the job and then try to get him to agree to proceed with them. They seemed far more interested in getting him to sign up as a client than they did in finding out what he was trying to achieve. He believes that their free consultations were little more than loss-leader strategies.

Why I charge a fee

Disillusioned with these other architects he finally bit the bullet and engaged me to do a paid consultation with him. According to his feedback, the difference was like night and day.

You see, unlike those architects that hadn’t charged a fee I was willing to take the time to find out exactly what it was he was hoping to achieve. I asked question after question to find out what his goals were and then challenged him on a number of points where I felt what he was saying and what he was really wanting were two different things.

I then took the time to explore a number of different possibilities with him, giving him a rough opinion as to potential costs associated with each different idea. At the end of the consultation, he felt that not only did I have an in-depth understanding of his project goals, but that I had offered him design solutions beyond what he had initially hoped for. He never felt rushed and never felt that I was more interested in his money than I was in him and his project.

Why architects can’t really afford to give away free advice

The fact is architects charge for their time and expertise, this is how they make a living. And whilst some may offer free advice services, they can’t really afford to spend hours digging deep to find your true needs and then offer design solutions. If they are not charging you for their time, don’t expect much of it.

The same goes for architects who charge lower fees. How is it that one architect can charge significantly less to create a design than another architect? Well, simply they don’t put in as much time and effort. Their designs contain significantly less detail allowing them to finish the design faster and therefore charge less.

And of course, dion seminara architecture could do the same. We could give away free consultations and we could cut down on the detail and planning that goes into our designs but that wouldn’t be in our client’s best interests.

For specific design or renovation advice, we really need to meet at your home or block and it’s these meetings that incur a fee.

And it’s because we charge for our initial consultations that we can afford to spend more time getting to know your real needs and provide the best possible solutions for you. We spend more time creating highly detailed designs so that when it comes time to obtaining builders quotes, they know exactly what they are quoting on. When they come to build the project, there can be no confusion over how the project is to be built and the materials and fittings to be used.

So if you want to save time, heartache and money call dion seminara architecture about your building or renovation needs. It’s the fees that we charge you that allow us to take the time to find you savings and solutions.

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.