How an architect can guide you through your first renovation

How an architect can guide you through your first renovation

Renovations, Tips and Advice, Services

first renovationOk, I’ve said the first renovation but of course, once you’ve had a successful experience working with us you will no doubt want us to guide you through hopefully many future renovations. But first things first, let’s just focus on this initial renovation you’re considering.

If you are thinking about undertaking your first renovation chances are your head is already spinning. There are so many draftspeople, building designers and architects in Brisbane that it’s hard to know where to start. And then, of course, there are the builders who encourage people to go directly to them and use their draftspeople – mostly because they design standard, uninspired boxes that are quick and easy to build.

If you’re renovating you need an architect

For really small jobs like redoing a small bathroom or adding on a carport, you can probably safely just go straight to a builder. But for anything bigger than that you really need to contact an architect first.

Unlike some of the other options out there we are 100% committed to getting you the best outcome for your needs. We create designs that suit your lifestyle, we don’t design to suit lazy builders.

Our enormous experience and design skills give us the ability to explore your needs and give you creative solutions that respect your budget and your outcome goals.

Importantly our designs will tie-in with your existing home, complimenting it and adding value both in terms of your lifestyle as well as financially. We can even design staged renovations that allow you to renovate your home in stages as your budget allows.

Getting the best value for your investment

Typically homeowners who are looking to undertake their first renovation come to us with some vague ideas and suggestions. Occasionally we have clients come to us with very specific ideas, but more commonly our first renovators are fairly open-minded to the possibilities. They know roughly the outcome they want but they don’t know how to get there.

And that’s where we come in. We take the time to get to really understand their likes and dislikes. We dig deep to find out everything we can about their lifestyles so we can make suggestions based on what is best for our clients.

Part of this process is looking at ways of saving our clients money while still giving them the perfect outcome for their needs. Now there are those rare times where there’s no way to cut costs without compromising on the overall design. But those are very rare situations and typically occur on smaller jobs. The larger the job the greater scope there is for our design expertise and building knowledge to find significant savings for our clients.

Once the design is finished you get even more opportunity to save money by having builders tender for your project. We are independent; we are not tied to any builders or construction companies. So you can get any number of suitable builders to bid for your work, resulting in ultra-competitive quotes. We supply incredibly detailed design documentation so you know that each builder is quoting on exactly the same materials and exactly the same high standards.

But not everyone is comfortable in getting quotes and many people undertaking their first renovation are unlikely to know who is or isn’t a suitable builder. So at dion seminara architecture, we offer a tender service where we arrange multiple tenders for you and negotiate on your behalf to get you the best deal. You still make the final decision. We just arrange for the tenders and then present them to you, giving you guidance and explaining anything that you don’t understand.

Once you’ve decided on a builder we will then assist you with the contracts, as the standard contracts are, in our opinion, weighed too heavily in favour of the builder. Our contracts are designed to protect your interests. This is just another way that we can help you avoid first-time renovation pitfalls.

Managing contractors and supervising the work

We also offer a contract administration service whereby we carry out periodic inspections and ensure that all work is done to the highest standards. As part of this role, we act as the negotiator between you and the builder to make sure your best interests are being looked after. Should any problem arise we discuss it with you and then deal with it on your behalf.

As part of this service, we also advise on any progress payments, carrying out inspections and then advising you as to whether or not the work has been done to the required standard before you release payment. If the work hasn’t been, we negotiate with the builder and/or contractor concerned and get the problem remedied before you make payment.

Dealing with builders and tradespeople can be stressful and many try to bluff those that haven’t renovated or built before. But with dion seminara architecture looking after your interests you can avoid the worry and sit back and enjoy the outcome.

We also carry out warranty inspections once the work’s been completed to ensure that any defects are remedied before the warranty on the job runs out.

Your first renovation doesn’t need to be a daunting experience. We can help guide you through the process making sure that you get the very best outcome for your needs. Of course, it doesn’t have to be your first renovation. Plenty of clients come back to us time and time again over the years as their families grow, their needs change or they start to invest in more properties.

So if you have a project in mind call dion seminara architecture today on 07 3899 9450 and let us guide you through your renovation.

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.