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52 posts

Master Geek

  #2988924 27-Oct-2022 20:00
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Did you watch the two Grand Designs programs? They give an identification of the prices for building bespoke at the moment. Last weeks was a massive house that was 4 times the size of a normal house and it worked out at about $3000 sqm . They may have had some economies of scale due to the massive size. 

No I didn't catch that. Must've been some pretty amazing economies as the website quotes 6k to 9k per square meter. Will try to find it.


Trade NZ and US shares and funds with Sharesies (affiliate link).
  #2990038 31-Oct-2022 13:46
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Though many will have their own opinion, largely, there's not that much difference between an architect and an architectural designer. Both can offer the same scope of services, some could be design only - most/all will be to the Building Consent being issued; others may include tendering/contract admin, and/or project management.


From what I've read in this thread, it's not a particularly fancy home, more  a nice high performance home. Most, doesn't matter what flavour, should be able to handle that.  


It's really down to who works for you;  people, fee structure, scope of service etc that you're after. 


Look at places like Architectural Designers NZ, ADNZ.  Builders Crack has a design section, so could consider going on that for maybe someone just starting out, or a smaller band?    


Most builders will have a recommended designer too, or conversely, most designers will have builders they can recommend.


Build Budget wise, a bit tricky at the moment to pin down, either relying on previous projects, rule of thumb type $/m2 pricing, or going full out and getting a Quantity surveyor (QS)on board, and/or getting a price from a builder.  Many builders will go for a QS anyway to give them a bit more certainty too.  


If approaching designers, try and nail down your brief as much as possible, give them info about your preferences etc, though walk a line.  Think about timelines/budgets, are you trusting the professionals with your 'real' budget, or giving them a lower one, and keeping it up your sleeve?  Sometimes where there's too much info/prep from a client, they seem a bit like hardwork, and can come across like they 'know' everything.


Normally stick with designers from your area, think about meeting times etc.  It's possible to pick a designer from anywhere in NZ, though usually best face to face.  When local, particularly Auckland, there's a bit more knowledge of planning/District Plan/One Plan requirements.  Out of towners, would probably have to engage a consultant planner to work with things, if a tricky project.  


When looking at a project, could try and find info about wind zone, contours (may have to get a surveyor if no council map), flooding?, liquefaction zone?  The Council will have their own online map with many things on there, otherwise things like BRANZ maps.  Liquefaction in particular, if your site is subject to liquefaction, you'll need a Geotechincal engineer to do some investigation, and there's a bit of a wait for them at the moment - and it's probably $8.5k plus for their testing/report.  


I have an Architectural Design company (not in Auckland), am a member of ADNZ, and was a builder for 10 years.



374 posts

Ultimate Geek

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  #2990474 1-Nov-2022 09:11
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Speaking from my own experience, many years ago, i used an architect firm who could knock out plans based on your requirements at a decent cost. Like they say, you get what you pay for and the architect did not want to put in a lot of effort hence the amount of consultation was limited. We did end up with a house we thought we were getting but knowing what i know now, a lot of things he mentioned we couldn't do, we could it. It would have meant just more work for him. 


Fast forward to now, I am building again but this time, i went with a boutique architectural firm. Yes, it costs lot more but what I am getting out of it is:


  • Consultative approach to my requirements. They actually go out and research and give me options
  • All my concerns are addressed by them i.e they do all the heavy lifting
  • I bounce ideas when i feel and they are always open to talk about them
  • They send out request for quotes on my behalf and i only have to decide which one i want to work with

I guess the boutique architectural firm could be an architectural design company vs the prior one who is just an architect and wants to move onto the next job. The only thing I am not too excited about architectural design companies is that cost is typically not in front of their mind. They design really nice houses but it is pretty much on you to engage a QS or do some leg work to determine costs associated with some of the nice looking things. If i had to chose again, i would still use the company I am using now (if building a house for yourself to live in). 


Btw..i am building in Auckland and had a look at passive homes (but without going through the certification, just better design choices). In Auckland, we dont have the extremes like some parts of NZ hence i would suggest not going overboard. I decided to go with edge insulation of the foundation, thick 140mm walls and aluminium windows with thermal break (with better glass) 


52 posts

Master Geek

  #2990559 1-Nov-2022 13:15
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Though many will have their own opinion, largely, there's not that much difference between an architect and an architectural designer. Both can offer the same scope of services, some could be design only - most/all will be to the Building Consent being issued; others may include tendering/contract admin, and/or project management.

Wow, that's a lot to digest! Thanks so much for your considered reply.
We've tried to nail down our brief as much as we can, but I guess one of my main worries is finding someone who can help us with the things we haven't even thought of, like things I've just learned such as the edge insulation of the slab vs thermal break, or whether we should use rigid sheathing or entertain SIPS...
What's the best way to tell whether an architect is actually familiar with these things? Should we consider engaging an eco-house consultant?

  #2990563 1-Nov-2022 13:31
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Most (all?) designers will be familiar with the rigid sheathing (RAB), and slab edge insulation, uPVC etc.  There's a lot of info, training, etc that's out there for designers, and has been for a long time.  And as someone previously said - it's (increased insulation) going to be mandatory from mid next year anyway, so eco-house consultants may be a dying breed.


Try and shortlist some designers, and see if them will do a free initial meeting to talk about things - ask your questions there.  I'd start if possible, with your least favoured option, then ask them all the dumb questions, and you'll learn a lot that you can then put into use for future ones.


Personally unless you feel like SIPs is the answer, I'd stick with standard framing done well, with ply RAB (with adhero), 140mm framing, 45mm service cavity, intello, mHRV (in service cavity inside thermal envelope - extended Rondo batten clips), good windows, external shading on glazing on east/west (possibly moveable for north) sides, either slab edge insulation or maxraft type system,  roof ventilation .  Max. insulation everywhere, insulated garage door, insulate walls between house/garage (if attached).  Have a heat pump for cooling/heating. 


Of course there's other options, and there will always be more options coming into the market. 


Also depends on your budget etc etc.  Eco consultants maybe useful if you're looking at alternative building materials/finishes/low VOC/EMF etc etc etc.


It's a profession, so of course there's lots to take in :)  



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