17 Sep 2015

The problem with design construct agreements in Brisbane

Tips and Advice

hawthorne house renovation living roomIf you’re looking at building or renovating a home chances are you’ve at least heard the term ‘Design Construct Agreement’. Design construct agreements are quite common due to the number of building companies actively promoting them.

But are they are good options for you?

Well without even knowing your personal situation I am going to say ‘NO’ and here’s why …

Downsides of design and construct agreements

Some homeowners view design and construct agreements as being an easier way to build thanks to everything being done by the one company.

But there are a number of negatives for homeowners who enter into these types of agreements.

An obvious one is the lack of a competitive quote. At dion seminara architecture we are not aligned with any building company. Instead, we focus 100% on our client’s needs providing them with a design that can then be used to get highly competitive quotes from a number of different builders, resulting in the best build at the best price.

Now sure you can get quotes from multiple design construct builders, but that’s not the same as having multiple builders quoting on EXACTLY the same plan – a plan that’s custom designed to suit your needs.

Design construct builders will have factored in a healthy margin when they provide you with a quote. Sure they will still try to be competitive, but each will claim to offer something the other doesn’t, particularly as each design will be different, making it hard to directly compare one quote to another. Compare that to builders quoting on exactly the same design, using exactly the same materials, where the only competitive advantage they can gain to win your project is by giving you there most competitive, lowest price quote.

But the negatives don’t end there. Without a doubt the biggest problem with design and construct agreements is the design itself – or should I say the ‘lack of’ design.

You see builders might be great at building things, and there are plenty of good quality builders that offer design and construct agreements, but how good are they are creating designs that truly suit their client’s lifestyle needs?

Of course, some builders claim they offer great designs, but I’m yet to find one who really does. Any design needs to be customised to suit the owners’ lifestyle. It should complement the block of land and often cater for future staged expansion. None of this is the domain of a builder or even a draftsperson for that matter. This is the realm of the architect and only a skilled architect can create a design that will suit your current and future lifestyle needs whilst saving you money.

Some unfortunate examples of the problem with design and construct agreements

Recently a client came to me who had been locked into a design and construct agreement that went badly. So badly in fact that it ended up in court. The basis of the case was that the builder had not been transparent about costs, nor had they used an architect, with all drawing work done by a draftsman. The design itself in no way suited this client’s need, leaving them feeling frustrated and angry.

Another client has commissioned us to redesign almost 70% of their home that had been built by a design and construct builder in 2009. The home itself has been so poorly designed that it has driven the owners to despair. Now I’ll admit the home itself was well built, there’s no question of the quality of the construction work that was done. But the design is appalling resulting in this client needing to undertake an extensive renovation on a home that’s only just 6 years old. The home that should have filled them with a sense of joy and pride has instead been a nightmare.

A better alternative to design and construct agreements

Regardless of whether you’re building or renovating the solution is to keep your design completely separate from the actual construction of your home.

By engaging dion seminara architecture to create the design of your home you’re guaranteed to get a design that is totally focused on your needs. Your design will suit your block, it will suit your lifestyle and it will suit your budget. And if your budget can’t stretch to cover everything you want in one hit we will create a staged design that will give you most of what you need now, with room for future expansion built in. No design and construct builder I’ve ever met can match that.

But the benefits don’t end there. Once we have finalised your design you will now be able to get quotes from any number of highly reputable builders to ensure that you’re getting the very best price for the construction of your home. We can even do this for you as well as overseeing the construction phase of your project if you so desire.

Your home is a major investment and any mistakes can be costly both financially and in terms of liveability. Don’t take any chances. Contact dion seminara architecture today and let us help you get the best design for your needs.

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Award-Winning Lifestyle Design Architects Brisbane <br> Est. 1993

Award-Winning Lifestyle Design Architects Brisbane
Est. 1993

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