Your architect is your guardian angel: Part 5

Your architect is your guardian angel: Part 5

Renovations, Tips and Advice, New Homes, Services

Following on from my earlier articles on understanding the value of working with an architect, I will now focus on continuing on the topic of protecting your interests during the actual building phase of your project.

The more the merrier:

Independent architects, such as myself, are not tied to a particular builder. I do not receive kickbacks or commissions of any kind from any builder. So why am I telling you this? Because it highlights the next benefit of having me create your new home or renovation design.

Because I am not tied to any particular builder, the drawings I create for your home will be open to tender (unless you have a preferred builder that you insist must do your work), allowing for you to receive and then assess a number of quotes.

The advantage of this is that you are virtually guaranteed to get the best deal. That may be the lowest price, or it could be the best value for money.

For example, a quote that is not the cheapest, but offers higher quality materials and/or workmanship, may be more appealing, and greater value for money, than the cheapest quote. This may be the better option for your project providing it is still within your budget.

Alternatively, a quote that is not the cheapest, but comes from a builder who is able to complete the job faster may be the best option for your particular circumstances. The point is, by having me create your drawings you will have options because you won’t be tied into using any one builder. You can either take the drawings and get quotes yourself or, more commonly, you can have me get the quotes for you. Either way, it’s best to get me to go through the quotes with you to ensure you understand each one completely.

Straying from the chosen path:

Earlier I mentioned variations, let me now explain what that term means and, more importantly, what it can mean to you and your project.

A variation is where something wasn’t allowed for in the original quote, which typically requires an additional payment over and above the original quoted price.

There are a number of reasons why variations occur. Some of these reasons are unavoidable, but more often than not they occur because of a lack of detail in the original drawings.

Having dion seminara architecture create your drawings for you help reduce variations. However unavoidable circumstances can still lead to variations being required.

An unavoidable situation could include such things as finding rocks in an area that needs to be excavated. Encountering rocks will sometimes happen when digging footings for an addition, but more commonly occur when a client insists on something like a basement garage that requires an excessive amount of digging. A quote will be given for this work, however, there are times where the builder will start excavating only to find that there is hard rock a couple of feet under the softer topsoil. Chances are there was no cost-effective way of knowing this until the excavation work commenced. But if the builder has quoted on excavating soil, only to find that they now need to break through hard rock, it is reasonable that they request a variation on their original quote before continuing.

The main thing to understand here is that by using my services, I will be on hand to discuss, debate and ultimately advise you on the legitimacy of any variation request, giving you the peace of mind in knowing that the builder is not just trying to milk more money out of you.

By not using the services of an independent architect such as myself, you run the risk of receiving numerous variation requests on your original quote. This might not be the fault of the builder, particularly if your drawings are not detailed enough. Without detailed drawings, it is not always possible for the builder to know exactly what they are quoting on. By having me create your drawing for you, all materials and specifications will be spelt out, resulting in less variations being required.

I’ve got your back:

Regardless of how detailed your drawings are disputes can, and do arise in the building game. Managing builders and subcontractors can be a stressful affair, with misunderstandings and disagreements being reasonably common. Often this is because builders and/or subcontractors are looking at the easiest option for themselves, rather than focusing on the best outcome for their clients.

Recently a client of mine was told by their builder that the way they wanted one of their rooms built would not work and that he would have to do it another way. My client simply called me and I went around to discuss the matter with the builder onsite. After just a few minutes I had explained how the room was to be built and the builder agreed that it could be done, albeit harder than the option he was trying to promote.

This is just one of many examples of the benefit of having me manage the project for you. Issues such as this will be taken care of on your behalf.

Getting what you paid for:

Unless your project is particularly small you will be expected to make progress payments to your builder at various stages throughout the project. But how much should you pay and when should these payments be made?

Most of this will be covered in your contract, but it’s important that you only pay for work that has been done and done to a high standard. As your architect, I assess these payment requests and only approve them on the proviso that the builder has kept their end of the bargain, and that all work that they are requesting payment for has been done to an acceptable standard.

Failure to make sure that the work has been done correctly can occasionally cause major problems as many people have paid a progress payment to a builder in the past, only to find that the builder has gone out of business a couple of weeks later, and they have paid for work that was never completed or materials that were never purchased.

So as you can see there are numerous ways in which I can protect your best interests. I not only work to ensure that your project is completed to a high standard, I can also assist in saving you money and countless hours of heartache.

So whether you’re renovating or building from scratch give me a call and sit back safe in the knowledge that I am looking after your best interests.

To contact me via email simply click HERE.

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.