Frequently Asked Questions
Can't find what you're looking for in the list of questions below? Send us an enquiry and we'll be in touch!
What is the difference between an Architect and a Building Designer?Legislation governing architects varies from state to state, but at a minimum they must have an architecture degree from an accredited university. In most cases, building designers can provide the same service as architects. If you choose an architect there is no guarantee that your home will be better designed, or that the service you receive will be better. However, our Managing Director, Mark Arnott, has a Bachelor of Science (Architecture) degree from the University of Newcastle.
How much does design and documentation cost?This depends largely on what is involved. Our usual process is to organise to visit you on site, talk through what you are looking at doing and run through a site checklist of the proposal. This will generate a price for the works, and can vary a bit between sites. The exact same project can vary in price on different sites depending on whether the site slopes, whether there are bushfire, geo-tech or flooding issues etc etc. Give us a call today to book in a free site consultation!
Is Plan Vision accredited and insured?Yes. Plan Vision is accredited with the Building Designers Association, and has complete Public Liability Insurance through QBE Insurance.
How long does the design process usually take?This depends on what is involved, and which consultants Plan Vision need to organise. As a general rule, the first concept plans take approximately 2-3 weeks from the date of our initial site or office consultation. The final plans can take a further 1-2 weeks depending on the scope of amendments required as well as the time required for consultant certification if applicable, such as engineering, BASIX, landscape etc.
How do Plan Vision payments work?We initially provide you with a written, fixed, up-front quote. To begin working on your project, we generally require a one-third to one-half deposit depending on the scope of the work, with the balance payable only on completion of the final plans, but prior to forwarding the plans to consultants. If separate payments to consultants will be required we also provide an estimate of their fees up front although we can't provide an exact quote on their behalf. Watch out for low quotes from other companies as they probably haven't made you aware of hidden costs you'll need to pay, which could end up costing you more in the long run.
We don't have a clear idea on the design we want, can Plan Vision help with this?Yes we definitely can! Even if you have no idea at all about how you want to design your project we will help you each step of the way to come up with a design that you love. Our employees' qualifications and experience ensure that you're provided with the best advice to combine the issues of construction cost, Council requirements and your ideas. We also have access to a range of consultants to provide advice on specific requirements.
We don't have any idea where to start. The amount of information we need for our Council submission is a bit daunting. Can Plan Vision help with this?Yes we definitely can! You tell us what you want and we will organise everything required to have your plans approved by Council, leaving you free to shop around for a builder that best suits you. Prior to the planning process we will let you know any Council or development issues that may impact the design and we will work around them with you to end up with a design that you, your builder and Council will approve of.
We are not sure if we can afford to do the project that we have in mind, and we think there may be issues with Council. Can Plan Vision help us with this?Yes we can. We have a knowledge of building rates that will allow us to design something that fits your budget. We also have many years experience dealing with local Council and their requirements and we will let you know whether we feel there will be issues with Council before the plans are even started. If you like, once you have the preliminary plans you are free to take copies to builders for quotes before giving us the go ahead to draw the full plans. That way, if you think that it may be out of your budget after all, we can provide amended plans or postpone/cancel the project at a lower cost to you than if you went to full plan completion.
I have trouble reading a standard set of plans and elevations. Can Plan Vision help me visualise my project?Yes we can. As part of the planning process we produce 3D views of your proposal so you can see it from every angle and get a full colour 3D representation of your project. This will allow you to see exactly what it will look like before it is built.
Why should I use a building designer, and who else uses one?The Building Designers Association estimates that 75-80% of residential work is currently designed by Building Designers. Whether you are planning a new building, extensions, or renovations, a building designer can design your project to maximise its liveability without sacrificing its visual appeal or blowing your budget. Building designers work with you to determine the most cost effective, user friendly, practical building solutions, that not only look good, but also meet your requirements.