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Why It Pays to Engage a Builder Before an Architect


Starting the home construction process can be daunting – where do you begin? Most people would presume that their first port of call would be an architect to draw up plans. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. Engaging a builder before an architect can result in a smoother process down the line, with less room for error and a clearer picture from the outset. 

The main complication in engaging an architect without first talking to a builder is that architects don’t possess the extensive technical knowledge that allows them to provide accurate quotes. Therefore, while they may be able to transform your ideas into something spectacular, the costings they provide will, more often than not, be much lower than the actual final spend. 

In fact, we have just seen a case where this exact thing has happened. A potential client approached us with detailed architectural plans – the client had stipulated his budget was $850,000 and his architect was to work within this parameter. The architect then sent out the plans for tender to three builders that he recommended to the client.

The first builder came in at $2 million, the second at $1.8million and the third asked for an extension of time to tender. Prior to knowing any of these figures, we had already questioned if the client’s budget was realistic, having looked over the drawings and scope of work. 

Not only were these figures a huge shock, but it set the client’s timelines back by months – they were already 18 months into the process and living in a rental property. In order to fit their budget, they will now have to do a re-design and/or change the scope in order to get construction underway and be back in their home as soon as possible. To make matters worse, this entire process will further eat into their budget.

Engaging a builder early means avoiding situations like this. You will combine your builder’s expertise in construction with an architect’s extensive knowledge of building design, resulting in a superior end product. Someone who deals with construction issues day in and day out will be able to advise on how realistic costs are, as well as suggesting alternative materials and features that the architect may not have encountered. This means the end estimated quote will be a lot closer to what you actually end up paying, instead of throwing up a surprise further down the line. 

Working with a builder from the initial stages also means introducing a point of accountability. Their project manager can look after every stage of the build, taking the stress out of the process by acting as your liaison between all parties concerned.  This can also help to keep your budget and timelines under control, as they have a strong understanding from the outset of the design intent and what kind of finish you are after.

Building work is a huge endeavour but it doesn’t have to be stressful. By engaging a builder early on in the process, you can avoid many of the pitfalls that commonly occur when building or renovating a home. 

If you’re ready to engage a builder to bring your dream home to life on Sydney’s north shore, get in touch with the friendly team at iConstruct Building Solutions today!

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