How to choose the right building designer for your new home
The 7 things you need to know before choosing a designer.
Building a custom home is a journey full of decisions. Definitely one of the most important ones is to choose who is going to design a home that looks just like you dreamed it. Who is going to put on paper your vision and create a home design that considers all your lifestyle aspects? It’s vitally important to get plans drawn up by the most suitable person for your project.
Your home is important, it is a sanctuary for you and your family. How you invest your time, energy and money has a significant impact on the outcome of your home and the life it helps you to lead. So, finding a trusted designer to be part of that journey that understands you and your needs, can take some time and careful consideration.
But how do you find this perfect match? Firstly, there are many ways to look for a professional that can design your home:
– Internet: search in Google and explore some websites, going through their website will help you form a first opinion about their business.
– Social Media: Check their social profiles too, do you like what you see? That’s also a good indicator.
– Look around in your neighbourhood for homes and if there’s anything you particularly fancy, contact the owners and ask them who designed their house.
– Ask for recommendations: if you live or are planning to live in a small area, chances are locals will know who the best designer for your job is. It’s essential to find a designer with a good reputation in the area.
Bear in mind that depending on the scope of your project, there will be different types of designers who can create your plans. All of them can range in specialisations and price. People will recommend you building designers, architects and even draftsman. But if you’re looking for someone to design your new custom home, a Building designer is always the best choice as they place a high emphasis on the design and practicality of a building and focus on matching designs to your budget.
(According to the BDAA- Building Design Association of Australia,75% of all the building design is undertaken by Building Designers).
After your initial research, you should have at least two or three prospects to choose from.
How to know which one is right for you?
1. Meet in person: get to know them. First impressions count, so this meeting will be crucial because it can be the start of a long-lasting relationship with your building designer.
2. Ask for references: A designer who has had happy clients in the past will be eager to put you in contact with them for you to ask about their experience.
3. Check their portfolio: previous projects designed by them will give you a pretty good idea of their experience and the quality of designs they deliver. Have they designed homes in sloping blocks? Are their plans eco-sustainable or do their designs maximise the location views?
4. Check their qualifications: You might have liked what you saw before, but it is also crucial to review your prospect’s career history and training. Are they members of an association (In the case of building designers, the BDAA)? Can they protect you with professional indemnity insurance? Those are the best credentials, as they guarantee that your home designer is across current industry trends, developments and regulations and that they will be accountable throughout your journey.
5. Make sure you’re on the same page with them: If a building designer wants to know everything about you and is happy to hear to everything you have to say, it’s because they genuinely want to design a home that reflects your vision. This means they won’t try to own the idea or impose a design on you because it will look good in a design magazine. Of course, always be open to their ideas and suggestions, their expertise can add significant value to the outcome of your home!
6. Compare quotes: Remember, the lowest price not necessarily means the best. Analyse your quotes carefully to ensure that the scope of the services to be provided are similar in nature when comparing quotes. These questions will help you understand more of what should be included in the quotes:
– What is their service offering? Do they just do sketch plans, or will they also oversee planning approvals?
– What stages are in their design process and what deliverables can you expect?
– Can they show you examples in their portfolio that are similar to your budget and design brief?
– What are the fees involved? Do they charge as a percentage of the project cost, a fixed sum or an hourly rate?
Make sure you tell them how much you can afford to spend from the beginning. If a prospect doesn’t listen to your budget and offers you a different price instead, this can be a massive red light. Make sure you choose a building designer that can design to your budget.
7. Ask lots of questions: A good designer will be happy to answer all of them! They will even love to chat with you about your hopes, dreams, finances, your tastes, likes and dislikes. You’ll get to know each other and build a relationship where honest conversations can occur to get the best outcome for your home.
Remember that hiring a local designer will improve the whole experience and outcome of your custom home build. A local building designer will know by heart how the location, conditions and the block of land can influence the construction process and the result of your home.
Graeme Bakker has been designing and bringing to life homes in the Port Stephens area for more than 25 years. As a local himself, he is passionate about the improvement of the Bay and his extensive experience in design and construction have made him one of the most reputable building designers in the region.
Our team’s primary focus is to listen to our clients’ needs and budget to create a home design that is not only beautiful but also functional and to the highest quality standards. Every home we design and build is an epitome of coastal perfection.
Click here to see our most recent projects designed and built by us.
If you’re looking to start the journey for your new custom dream home, contact us today, we’re always more than happy to go through all the aspects of your next project and offer you a tailored solution that fits right into your budget.