5 Urban Myths about Architect-Designed Homes

Charles Warren Apartment Renovation

Did you know less than 5% of owners use an architect for their home reno or new build? We had no idea until this figure was presented to us at a talk by Tim Bennetton of Tim Bennetton Architects last week at Avid Bookstore, West End.

Tim is an architect we have been honoured to work with on a number of projects, achieving excellent results and making dreams come true for homeowners including Stradbroke House, Yeronga, an Indooroopilly extension and most recently, New Farm New Build.

The benefits of hiring an architect of course are immense – a higher quality home, attention to detail, a smooth process – but there seems to be a (mis)conception in the community about the who and what of architect-designed homes. The same few concerns keep arising – as a builder that specialises in this area in Brisbane’s inner suburbs, we have seen firsthand the process and results (and the client’s long-lasting happiness) of building these homes and address the most common myths below.

South Stradbroke House

We have worked with Tim Bennetton Architects on various projects including the award winning South Stradbroke House


Urban myth no 1 :: You can do the same thing yourself

Blame it on The Block. The surge in DIY home competitions on prime time television has perpetuated the myth anyone can pull off high quality design. Have you ever seen the handiwork on the Block and such shows? This is not workmanship at its finest.

Interestingly, most of the clients we work with are extremely design savvy and often own their own creative business. Perhaps because they are so design aware, they know home design is best left to a professional. More than that they know, their own vision needs someone who can articulate it. This is where an architect can step in and effectively plan for and create those brilliant ideas into something the builder can craft into its brilliant existence.

New Farm House in progress

New Farm House (here in progress) addressed the issues of being in close proximity to the neighbours with beautiful screening and clever placement of the outdoor entertainment deck below


Urban myth no :: 2 It is outlandishly expensive

Architects work at many levels, from providing a design, all the way up to full planning, engineering, permits and project management of the build from start to finish. When we have worked with Tim on past projects, we have noted clients opt for the full service.

Tim revealed ‘you can expect to pay between 4 and 10% of the build price in architect fees’. When you are looking to bring the project to budget, cutting the architect might seem an easy fix.

But keep in mind, what seems like a cost saving strategy at this point is likely to end up costing more in the long term.

Without an architect’s meticulous planning and clever design, you may find navigating the process challenging and overwhelming. Changing your mind throughout the build leads to pulling things off and starting again whilst being overwhelmed with decisions stalls the build – both factors quickly drive the cost up and can quickly outweigh the cost of the architect in the first place.

Urban myth no 3 :: People can’t tell the difference

Have you ever walked into a home and just felt something wasn’t right? Too dark? Stifling air? An uncomfortable, awkward entry? An architect designed home, done well, eliminates these issues, making a space feel just right for those who inhabit and visit it.

Architects tackle the issues permeating a block and design around them before they even look at finishes and materials. After all, there is no point having beautiful cedar cladding or the latest imported bi-fold windows if you have harsh Western sun streaming in or something funny going at the entrance.

Urban myth no 4 :: You will over capitalise

Nick Penklis, of Space Property South Brisbane sat alongside Tim on this panel and noted how architect-designed homes are increasingly being valued for home buyers for their ‘liveability’. There is a shift within the community, as people begin to value design as a necessary part of a home’s suitability and longevity.

This rings true as the preference for modern families shifts from suburban sprawl to a more urban way of life. Working within inner Brisbane, we have seen firsthand the effects of this change. Small lots, limited frontage and access issues are common, and the nature of such challenges simply demands excellence in design to maximise any block or reno.

The increasingly affluent demographic of the inner Brisbane buyer also means they are seeking premium product. This savvy crowd truly value design in all its guises; its no different when it comes to their homes.

Garden Bunkie Project

Architect-designed means the project responds and sits in with its environment, as in this Garden Bunkie project we completed with Reddog Architects


Urban myth no 5 :: You won’t be heard

Long gone are the days of the egomaniac designer asserting theirs is the only way. We have worked with some of Brisbane’s most highly esteemed architects and can tell you firsthand, their primary focus is on service to their clients.

These architects approach a project in a highly collaborative way, concerned with responding to their clients needs and to the demands of the site or property chosen for the project.

This was attested by Tim’s (and ours) clients Lisa and Fiona who sat on the panel, who highlighted how highly collaborative their own home projects were.

Collaboration is a huge part of what we do. We believe the owner-architect-builder dynamic is the trinity at the foundation of every project, ensuring its success long before the first slab is poured.

The Conclusion

We love working with in the space of architect-designed homes, feeling the planning and design an architect brings to a project is completely necessary in ensuring positive outcomes for our families and communities. This planning and design is what gives us, as the builder, a blueprint to then execute that vision into a reality, working with client and architect to ensure each detail and idea is realised in the way it was intended.

Are you ready to get an architect-designed project started? You don’t need to know an architect because we know plenty and can help match you to one that will suit your purpose. Book a consultation with us at your site or home.

Lee L