Frequently Asked Questions
The building industry is complex, ever changing and highly competitive. The impression that large building companies can produce a similar product to an architecturally designed home, or that one can cut-and-paste ideas from magazines, then throw them to a draftsperson or builder, is, in our opinion, very misleading. Unfortunately this has often made the position of architects seem mysterious, convoluted, abstract and sadly vulnerable to misinterpretation.
At WOLF ARCHITECTS, we aim to demystify and cut through the confusion to make our profession and its respective services easier to understand and more accessible without ever compromising on the quality we are renowned for. While there is no denying that it takes much skill, time, knowledge and experience to create great architecture, WOLF ARCHITECTS’ commitment to clear and transparent communication allows our design process to not only be efficient but enjoyable.
Below are ten of the most frequently asked questions. We hope this helps to better understand what we as Architects can offer, how the industry works and whether or not WOLF ARCHITECTS is right for you.
The course to become a registered architect is not brief, averaging ten years from the commencement of university to registration. This places architects in an entirely different league to building designers or draftspersons. The title “architect” and the term “architectural” are protected by the Architectural Registration Boards and can only be used by those who have earned it.
Registered architects are highly qualified and skilled at finding creative solutions. They understand space and how to use it to best advantage, resulting in buildings that, over and above being purely functional, enhance our experience of their use and offer visual delight. The architectural registration board of Victoria (ARBV) has a website listing names of those registered.
Architects are the specialists of the building design world. Unfortunately, the use of architects in Australia is often seen as an expensive luxury when, really, it is an investment in our largest assets, our homes or places of work! Architects have been unfairly compared to draftsmen or building designers, which has led to misunderstandings regarding fees. There is no true comparison that can be drawn between them due to the differing qualifications and skills.
- Architects understand the true meaning of customisation. Providing three options as with many design and construct companies, is not a customised service. It is a menu and does not allow for true creativity.
- Architects please both heart and eye, but never at the expense of function.
- Architects respond to the site, location, and surrounds with sensitivity. Display homes on irregular blocks or sloping sites cannot respond to their context.
- A registered architect has experience that enables consideration of budget restrictions, timely results, and foresight, preventing costly mistakes. While the difference between an architect and less qualified designer may be $50,000 (for example), it only takes a small mistake to blow the budget by $100,000.
- Architects appreciate regulations, codes, and diplomacy with regards to local councils. A project that moves through town planning quickly saves valuable time and money.
- Architects offer energy efficient and sustainable results as they are mindful of how buildings affect and respond to the environment. They are often at the forefront of new technologies and approaches towards energy efficiency.
- Being able to claim a home is architecturally designed is a marketing strategy commonly employed and on inspection visitors will note the enhanced quality.
The common assumption is that architectural fees are 10% of the construction cost. This is merely a guide, however, and exactly what is included in the 10% varies greatly. A client requiring a design concept only will understandably pay far less than one wanting full design services with all the trimmings. Regardless of the detail of service, to consider a 10-20% investment into your largest and most emotionally charged asset, your home, is really a small fee to achieve peace of mind and a quality home that lasts a lifetime. WOLF ARCHITECTS is on a par with the best and our fees reflect our professionalism and quality of work. We represent exceptional value for services that can seamlessly integrate interior and landscape design. For projects under $5 million, we are able to provide a lump-sum fee based on agreed services, provided the client provides accurate information and has realistic ambitions. This removes the arbitrary percentage value that might make clients assume that architects have an incentive to increase costs.
While our work has been widely published with numerous awards the best proof of our proficiency is in our portfolio. It boasts not only a wide variety of authentic work but a level of consistency in quality that is rare. Great care and attention is given to the entire project including the interior and landscaping.
At WOLF ARCHITECTS each projects falls into one of five categories and is built with appropriate budgets. Our website showcases work from each of those categories. Having identified which category your project falls under the standard illustrated in our portfolio is what you can expect for your own project.
Email us to find out which category your project falls into.
Reality television and large display homes have lulled many into a false sense of security about construction costs. The reality is you pay for what you get, and in a home that should stand the test of time and changing weather patterns, we are seeing this start at $2,500 per square metre.
A small three-bedroom home in the WOLF economy range averages 200m2 in size (32 squares) with construction costs beginning at $750,000 + GST for the build only.
Category 2 and 3 houses range from 400m2 to 650m2 (approx. 43-70 building squares). These houses will cost from $1.2 million to $3.5 million + GST.
Projects in Categories 4 and 5 focus more on clients’ desires and less on costs. A house of 80 squares may be built for $50,000 per square ($5,387 per m2), for example and cost in excess of $4 million.
Email us to find out which category your project falls into.
The Wolf brand is an extension of the practice’s founder Taras Wolf and follows many of his principal design and work philosophies. He is the creative mind behind most projects and his ability to simply “Get it right” is a talent that no amount of training can produce. Most projects will at some point attain the WOLF seal of approval before reaching the client.
The strength of the practice however goes beyond one man and must be credited to its ability to operate harmoniously as a team who share the same attitude of “Getting it right”. All projects follow a process and system of works carefully based on Taras Wolf’s practice ideals and design philosophies. At the heart of this is an attitude of genuine care for the work and our clients. The WOLF system is a finely tuned instrument that enables the team to efficiently achieve the high standards we are renowned for.
At WOLF ARCHITECTS the cost of our three bedroom homes (build only), falls between $700,000 and $1.2 million + GST, not including landscaping or luxury finishes. Costs lower than this often fall into the category of small renovations which our practice does not specialise in.
As a boutique practice, there are limits to the quantity of projects we wish to take on without compromising our standards. Whilst we rarely refuse projects, there can occasionally be a queue in order for us to uphold our reputation as valued contributors to the building design industry.
Designing dream homes of between 400m2 and 1,500m2 (approx. 43-160 squares) is our forte. The same principles apply when we work with multi-unit developments, and our experience means a high success rate in obtaining planning permits. We also enjoy taking on low-rise apartment buildings and commercial projects.
We put a great deal of effort into the design process and our buildings are finely honed. We believe this complex process should be savoured rather than rushed.
The WOLF process can be systematically broken down into different stages. Within each are methods and approaches that ensure all members of our team work efficiently together to achieve the ever-improving WOLF standard. A house between 50-70 squares in size might have up to eight stages and takes a minimum of eight months to achieve building permits. More commonly though, to twelve to fifteen months is required depending on the following listed complexities:
- Detailed and extensive interior design
- Seamlessly integrated landscape design which is not an after-thought
- Client delays due to travel, decision making time, or family discussions
- External consultants such as Energy Raters, Building Surveyors, and Engineers
- Town Planning and council involvement
- VCAT (not to be considered as part of our regular service)
- Builder selection and tendering
WOLF Architects are ready to bring our high-end designs to any part of the globe. Our multicultural team and international network of design studios makes it easy for us to service clients on every continent.
Prior to contacting any architect, there are a few things that must be considered.
- Have you purchased land?
- Do you know how much you want to spend on the project?
- Are your finances in order?
- Are you ready to start?
These are common questions that should be satisfied prior to starting a project.
If you have read through the FAQs in this section and are still keen to progress, then we suggest you give us a call to discuss your project further. We will try to provide you with a rough fee estimate for our services. If those fees fall within your expectations the next step would be to book an appointment at our office to discuss things further.