Designer Builders Melbourne. In previous posts we have covered what design is and how important it is to nail the design before building starts so that you end up with a home extension that matches your vision.
Summary of Design
To recap, designing a new extension is concerned with creating how it will look and function e.g. a new kitchen will have specific functional requirements and an aesthetic which is conducive to cooking.
Usually at the initial stage an architect or designer is hired to design the extension. In addition, a draftsperson will be brought in to draw up the plans as well as helping you to position your extension, choose the materials and construction methods, draw up detailed floorplans and help you visualise what your extension will look like through the use of imagery.
All is great and then…
All this sounds great but there are major problems that can occur. You can have a great design and be really eager to go. Then you hire a builder who then looks at the plans, assesses your current home and then delivers the heartbreak. Some of your designs are problematic and expensive to build because of things not considered by the independent design team; maybe major replumbing is required or there is something in the soil that prevents your design being built as envisioned.
The most common problem can occur when a builder costs your design and it is double your budget. This can mean that it’s back to the drawing board, which of course is a further dent in your budget.
So what’s the best way to avoid any of these problems? The answer is simple; hire a designer-builder.
Advantages of Hiring a One Stop Shop Designer-Builder
In essence a designer-builder is as it sounds. It’s a building company that has its own design team; and there are some really big advantages in hiring such a company.
Firstly, you are hiring a team and this means the team is driven to completing your project to meet your expectations. When challenges occur, having a ‘same team’ mentality ensures solutions can be worked upon together eliminating the finger pointing which can occur when a separate builder and designer are hired.
This brings us on to the next point. We have already said how important collaboration is between you and the builder (see our article on customer service). It’s also very important to have collaboration between the designer and the builder; something that is far more likely to happen with a design-build company. Working together the designer and builder can come up with a design that not only suits your needs but also suits your budget. There will be no nasty surprises when it comes to getting a building quote and when construction begins.
Consistency in design and build comes through continuity within a project and having a design-build company ensures this. We have found that a designer-builder company understands a client’s needs from the outset because the focus is not just on design but how the design will be constructed, within the client’s budget.
As the designer and builder work together on many projects there is a consistency from initial design through to the final build. The builder can interpret, through experience, the designer’s plans ensuring your home extension will be exactly how you want it. Furthermore, builders will tend to optimally design the structure of your extension, working with your existing house structure, which translates into material and labour savings. Also designer-builders design roofs with far more care because they have to guarantee them for at least 7 years.
A great line of communication throughout your project is paramount for a great final result and having the designer and builder under one roof ensures that communication between you, the design team and the build team is consistent, frequent and transparent. The relationship is built at the design stage so when the building stage begins you are dealing with someone you already know.
You can imagine that building a home extension requires hundreds of timelines that need to be coordinated. To manage these timelines design-builder teams tend to be more adaptive and responsive to any major questions or big decisions. Delays in responding to these questions and decisions invariably offset the tight timelines, therefore increasing the cost and extending the finishing date of your extension. The saving of time by using a designer-builder company is a big advantage.
Saving on Cost
The further down the line a project is the bigger the cost incurred will be for any changes made. It is therefore imperative that your needs and potential problems are dealt with at the start of your project thus eliminating potential costly changes during the build. Hiring a designer-builder team significantly reduces the need for change as the project progresses. However, should you request any changes the design-build team can respond quicker and the changes will be easier to implement than when using an independent designer and builder.
It is estimated that the savings by hiring a designer-builder team over a separate designer/ architect and builder is about 10%. That’s a $20,000 saving on a $200,000 home extension, for example. Also, the whole process of preparing designs, working drawings and any associated permit documents is cheaper with a designer-builder.
There is a tremendous advantage of working with designers that can think like builders – and with builders that can think like designers. However, beware of designers or builders that claim to be design-builders – do your homework. Always check registrations of both designers and builders. In a design-builder company you will find licensed designers and registered building practitioners working as one; a best case scenario for your new extension.