Are you a builder or do you just design homes? Can I use the plans you produce however I like ?
We are a building design company specialising in the design of sustainable homes, but we do work closely with several top eco-builders in WA . We can also provide a plan only service where you use your own preferred builder to build our designs, and we also work frequently with owner builders. In all cases we own the copyright to our designs unless other arrangements have been made.
How much do your homes cost to build ? Does it cost more to build sustainably ?
Because no two homes or sites are identical in all respects and building material costs keep changing, it is hard to give a definitive answer to this. At the moment we are finding building costs generally in the $ 1500/ sqm to $ 2500/sqm range for the type of custom home we design. Our main market services homes over $ 400,000 although our pre-designed homes cater for budgets from around the $ 200, 000 mark for smaller homes.
Building sustainably is more about getting the design basics right than the use of any expensive active systems. ( these can make a home more sustainable, but if the design is wrong up-front it will always be difficult to make an efficient home) From this aspect, we can design a good solar passive home for not much more than a 'standard' home, but the running costs and subsequent lower bills will make an immediate impact of your bank balance. As one of the most expensive investments we are likely to make in a lifetime, we should ensure our homes will retain their value and not be a burden on our hard earned savings or the environment .
How do you charge for your services, is it a percentage based fee?
We have moved away from the traditional architectural 'percentage fee' as we feel it is too open ended and rewards the designer for making your home more expensive! We have a lump sum fee for various sized homes (small, medium, large) and the fee is broken up into the work stages required ( sketch design, design development, building license, working drawings.) In this way you know upfront what your professional fees are made up of. Please contact the studio should you require a schedule of our fees.
Why do I need a sustainable home rather than a standard project home?
A sustainable home uses what the environment offers to us from free - sun for heating, winds for cooling, daylight for natural lighting - so it makes sense to incorporate these into a home to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and minimise our bills. A sustainable home is also a healthy home and uses materials and resources sparingly and intelligently. We design our home to a system we have developed called the "10 Eco-Logical Essentials" to ensure your home is future-proofed and makes a positive contribution to the neighbourhood and the larger environment.
What if the home you design for me comes in over budget ? What if I'm not happy with the design ?
We always try design our homes around the budget you provide us with, but often a project has some unknown parameters at the beginning which make it difficult to gauge an accurate costing. Normally we can get a budget estimate once we have a reasonable sketch design, and at this stage we can relook at some of the finishes and options to trim the budget if required. Building a home is an incredibly complicated process with hundreds of individual components, so it is hard to gauge a final price before full working documents and specifications are known.
Generally the Clients who come to us have researched us on the web or heard of us from associates so know fairly well what they can expect. In the rare cases we don't come up with a first design that you really love, we will work with you to manipulate the concept until you are happy. (Within reason of course, if the design process seems to be taking forever we may need to revisit the process - we still have to keep our studio a going concern!)