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We continue to meet homeowners who first come to us with plans already at concept or working drawing stage, and whose dreams then get dashed when those plans are priced.


It’s upsetting as we see the excitement turn to sadness, frustration, and sometimes anger.  It’s also confusing for the homeowner who may not have the expertise so when wildly different expectations are presented it raises concerns.  Another builder may then be approached, and the emotional circle starts again.  It’s not that the plans are bad, in fact some are downright sexy, but the homeowner just can’t afford it.

So, what can we do about it?

We have recently returned from an Australian builder’s conference.  A very successful architect pushed for what we have been encouraging for years, and as a result 95% of his plans get built.  His presentation was on the builder being involved from the plan’s conception.

The reasons are simple:

  • A budget is agreed, and a builder can input on the potential design costs throughout the process, reeling in potential blow outs, or suggesting alternative options.
  • The builder has the practical experience to know what is involved in suggested design features.
  • Priorities are agreed and understood by all parties.  The builder, due to being part of the journey, takes this knowledge and the relationship through to the build stage.  Everyone is aware of the clients’ dreams, needs, and concerns and works to address them as a cohesive team.
  • The entire design and build process is more efficient, saving time and money, as there is no need to educate someone new coming into the process (the builder and his QS for example), there is less risk of mistakes and communication concerns.
  • Design costs are less likely to blow out as no costly redraw will be required as the budget side has been monitored and advised on early.


It is becoming more common and desired for the builder to engage the designer/architect, not the other way round.  Good designers & architects are also not opposed to involving the builder right from the start.  It protects them and ultimately, they get the buzz of seeing their design come to life rather than lost in folder of abandoned dreams.


Next time you are considering building.  Talk to a builder first, or if you have a designer or architect in mind find out if they are happy to have your builder involved in the design process.