Want to Build a Custom Designed Dream Home and avoid a Grand Designs Disaster? Here’s How.

Avid watchers of the TV show Grand Designs will be familiar with the scenario – the dream of a custom designed home is becoming a disaster of epic proportions – and inevitably it’s due to a cost blow out, conflict between the architect and builder – or both.

Is it possible to build a custom design home and avoid these issues? The answer could lie in understanding the process. When choosing to build a custom design, you have two options: Architect & Independent Builder or Architectural Designer Builder.

Under the arrangement of an architect & independent builder, an architect is engaged for design works, plans are developed and submitted to Council, and after approval, builders are invited to tender. Typically, the exact cost of the home remains unknown until tenders are received, some 6 to 12 months later.

The lack of a builder’s input during the design phase can cause cost blowouts, requiring redesign, retendering and re-submission to Council. All specialist reports and fees, including Council fees, site survey, geotechnical reports, engineering and more, are an added cost.

Once a building contract is signed, it is hoped the builder and architect will work compatibly – of which there is no guarantee. To ensure design integrity, the architect should be retained for project management – another additional cost. The result? Often the time frame and finances stretch well beyond the owner’s budget and expectations. This is the stuff that home building horror stories are made of.

For those who want a custom design without the uncertainties, the answer could be an Architectural Designer Builder. An entire team work as one from the outset, including architects, designers, quantity surveyors and builders. Each discipline is involved in the design so cost efficiencies can be explored, and an accurate fixed price is determined at the design stage. The cost of architectural services are included in the total amount, together with specialist consultant’s reports. Rod McDonald, Director of Architecture from Chateau Architects and Builders says that ‘one complete cost, one point of contact and one company accountable for the project, means less pain and more peace of mind for those who want a quality custom designed dream home.’

Architect & Independent Builder or Architectural Designer Builder? Choose wisely and avert your own grand designs disaster.

Chateau Architects and Builders is a multi-awardwinning company established nearly 50 years ago – and every single home we have built is a unique design. Located at Castle Hill, our work covers Sydney’s North Shore, Northern Beaches, Eastern Suburbs, Hills area and Sydney’s rural outskirts.

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