Your FAQ Answered

While these are the most common questions we get, we know you have more questions specific to your project – like that feature you want to preserve or how to work with your site’s aspect. Make a time for a call back to start the discussion.

Beginning a major renovation or new build is daunting. While working through your creative ideas and lifestyle hopes, you’re also trying to estimate how much it is going to cost and how long it will take. So to hold your hand (virtually) as you start contemplating your options, we’ve prepared answers to common questions.

We have never worked with an Architect before, what do we need to do to get started?

Most of our clients haven’t worked with an architect before, so we’ve got you. We make the process easy by letting you know what we need and when, and what to expect next.

To get started, you don’t need to do anything other than call us. But it’s also a good idea to think through the following three aspects of your project, as they are critical discussion points for our initial conversations

1. Budget

How much money can you comfortably allocate to your project and how do you intend to finance it? We need to understand this from the beginning, so we can make realistic recommendations.

Not sure if your place is worth investing in? A free or deep dive consultation is the simplest way to find out before you commit (consultation details are outlined in the question below).

2. Commitment

The design process requires a time and financial commitment from you. And unless you’re planning to live or work at your property for at least five years, it’s not always viable to dedicate these resources.

The design and build process will occupy a fair amount of your brain space throughout the project, so make sure you are fully committed to your house or land before getting started.

3. Flexibility

Bear with us here, because this is going to sound counterintuitive… even though our entire process is focused on defining exactly what you do and don’t want, an open mind is one of the most valuable things you can contribute to your project. If you are receptive to new ideas and willing to challenge your thinking, we can collaboratively explore the full potential of your project.

This goes for your deadline too – if there is a date you want the works completed by, please hold this loosely and communicate your timeframe with us upfront.

Do you charge for the first meeting?

The answer is yes and no. Either book a free consultation to see if we’re a good fit, or schedule a deep dive consultation to gain preliminary design recommendations and learn what’s possible.

Free consultation

During this one-hour consultation in our studio or via Zoom, we discuss your project and hash out your questions face-to-face – make a booking here.

If during this meeting you feel we are a good fit for you and you’re comfortable with our process, we are happy to offer a second meeting in your home at no cost.

Deep dive consultation

We visit you on-site to discuss the project, and follow up with a video summary of our discussion and key things you should consider. The cost of this service is $490 (GST incl.).

These consultations give you clarity about what potential your home has and what process would best suit your needs.  Read more about what we do & offer in a Deep Dive Session here or make a booking!

I don’t exactly know what I want to build yet – how do we begin if you don’t know what you’re going to design? 

Our tiered approach to our architectural service gives you the opportunity to work through your options without the need to commit to a final outcome. This allows you to explore your brief and its opportunities, and then decide how you want to move forward.

This is the process we went through with the Pavilion Residence. Initially Greg and Anita were investigating the viability of demolishing the existing home to make way for a new build.  But after initial design exploration, they realised that a renovation would fulfill everything on the wishlist for their new build.

Check out the Workshop and Explorer services below to learn how you can dip your toe in the water of the architecture process. If you do feel we are a good fit, both of these packages can then be folded into a full-service offering.

How will you ensure I don’t ‘blow my budget’?

Budget is a vital aspect of a project – you’ve chosen to make a significant investment into your lifestyle and happiness, and we respect that by:

  • Making your budget the first agenda item at every meeting.
  • Communicating upfront when you are making choices that are likely to push the budget up, and providing alternatives to these cost additions.
  • Collating years of building prices to provide reliable opinions of probable cost. We break these prices down into separate trades and average them out to costs/m2 to give you as much detail as possible during the preliminary stages of the project.
  • Having a vetted and robust team of high-quality builders who work with us across a range of project budgets to achieve buildable outcomes.
  • Adopting a ‘price early’ approach; we include the builder in a Negotiated Tender to give you up-to-date pricing from concept design through to final contract signing.

How long does a typical residential design process take? 

Many factors impact the design timeframe, including project complexity, how quickly you can provide feedback and council approvals. But to give you a rough idea of how long it will take to move into your home, keep the following guidelines in mind.

  • Simple project: Allow a minimum of 6 months for design and 6 months for the build.
  • Complex renovation or build: Allow 12 months for design and 9–12 months for the build.
  • Development approval: If your project requires development approval, add 3 months to the above timeframes.

Can you tell me how much your services cost?

The people who get the most out of the design process all share this perspective: design is an investment rather than a cost. The reality is that architectural fees, like all professional services, are not cheap (but neither is getting the design wrong; trust us on that one).

Our fees don’t only include design; they also give you access to our years of knowledge building and project management experience, our network of industry trades, and our team’s ability to navigate approvals and solve complex problems. This results in life-enriching design and a streamlined process with lower stress.

But with all that said, we are cost-conscious at every stage of a project. To ensure you can access design and advice within your budget, choose between the following four service tiers.

The Workshop 

Get an informed opinion on your ideas, and gain clarity about design direction and budget. You will receive:

  • detailed existing drawings
  • context & site analysis
  • a written return brief outlining the opportunities, risk, budget & timeframe of your project
  • proposed plans and 2d & 3d drawings to explain the scheme
  • guidance on the consultants & approvals process you will require
  • look & feel boards for visual reference
The Explorer 

Want to see how ideas from the workshop will come to life? This service is the most cost-effective way to get to the concept stage and gain preliminary costings.  This service tier includes a workshop plus one concept design round with floor plans, elevations and simple 3D views to communicate the scheme.

Best suited to clients who want to DIY their renovation, stage it, or want some time to sit on an idea for a while before they jump right in.

The Essentials 

Consider yourself a design aficionado but need to be budget savvy? This service gives you tailored design on a modest budget. It includes our usual services, but excludes interior design, bespoke architectural detailing and project management during the build.  This service typically suits renovations between $300–500k and new builds between $500–750k; chat to us to discuss prices.

Full Service

Our most popular service for forever homes, this option gives you full-service design and project management support from concept design through to move-in day.

If you haven’t worked with an architect or managed a build before, you will benefit from having us onboard as your project managers. Plus you also gain maximum design time and thinking from our architects and interior designer, so we can craft a bespoke outcome for your lifestyle and wish-list.

This service is best suited to renovations or new builds where you want to invest in the design time to create the perfect the outcome in a home you will love for a long time! Chat to us to discuss prices.

For all of our tiered services, take advantage of the complimentary free consultation to get a clear and simple fee guide for your project.

For more info on working with an architect, sign up to our quarterly newsletter!

Our first meeting is complimentary so you can get to know us in a relaxed setting. Book a phone call here or face to face in our studio here.


Find our Brisbane Architects
Shop 3, 475 Sandgate Rd
Albion QLD 4010
(parking at rear, off Highlands St)