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.

Who are architects?

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.

What do Architects actually do and why use an Architect?

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.


  1. 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.
  2. Architects please both heart and eye, but never at the expense of function.
  3. Architects respond to the site, location, and surrounds with sensitivity. Display homes on irregular blocks or sloping sites cannot respond to their context.
  4. 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.
  5. Architects appreciate regulations, codes, and diplomacy with regards to local councils. A project that moves through town planning quickly saves valuable time and money.
  6. 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.
  7. Being able to claim a home is architecturally designed is a marketing strategy commonly employed and on inspection visitors will note the enhanced quality. 

You, the client

Understanding Architects fees. What does it all cost?

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.

What is WOLF IDM and how does it enhance my investment?

In a time of fast and instant information, many claim to be experts despite having no formal training. The misconception that anyone can design has led to an environment of cheap imitations, inefficiencies, and mistakes that can be very costly.

Design is more than just pretty images, or daring ideas. It is about making good decisions that can eventuate into enhanced living and added value.

As registered architects, our responsibility is to achieve the most value for our clients with affordability and feasibility in mind. Interior and landscaping considerations are therefore an integral part of our service and done in-house from the onset. This all-in-one approach is called Intelligent Design Management (IDM), and translates into uncompromising build integrity, efficiency, longevity and a vast array of details that all enhance living. IDM also considers development projects and how to achieve maximum yield for the developer client. Efficient design speed, communications and project coordination are all key towards an architectural service that maximizes profits. IDM is a systematic and coherent approach towards economically viable decisions that represent exceptional value for your investment.

Email us to learn more about the affordability of WOLF Architects IDM and how we can bring value to your project.

What does it cost to build a WOLF designed home?

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 any home built with reasonably good building materials and construction methods should start at $3,500 per square meter. This assumes a fairly generic home that may borrow from the past using tried and approved concepts and technologies. A truly customized architecturally designed home should start at $4,500 per square meter as a minimum.

At Wolf Architects, we encourage most of our clients to see $5000 per square meter as a starting point since all of our designs have innovative and unique features. With most luxury home sizes at 5500sm this equates to a minimum build cost of $2.5 Million for the build only.

Further to this there are several other factors that will increase costs such as:

  • Site access and conditions
  • complexity of structure
  • durability of build materials, Fixtures and finishes
  • Technologies
  • Sustainability
  • Luxury features such as basement, pool, landscaping and lift often don’t form a part of the squared meter build costs

A project that demands the best in all of the above would easily require a build cost of $8000+ per square meter. A 50 square home with basement and pool for example would easily start at $5 Million+GST.

Further to this again is the actual design itself and level of detail. A home that is very angular or organic and fluid in shape will require more time, thought and resolution throughout. We have seen such homes cost up to $12,000 per Square meter. At the end of the day it comes down to value and this is different for each client. While some may be able to afford$10 Million, they may only see value at $5 Million, and its up to the architects to provide the best design value to the budget. other clients my start at $5 Million and then when the full potential of the project is revealed through the design stages, they feel comfortable to expand their budgets to accommodate.

Every project, client and budget is different, but in terms of a brand the WOLF name is well regarded for excellence and this starts at $5000 per SM.

Email us to find out which category your project falls into.

How does WOLF Architects consistently produce award winning designs?

There are many creative minds in the practice that continually strive for perfection. The ability to simply “Get it right” was eventually understood to be more than just talent and subsequently was broken down into a system of common sense principles from which every new project can benefit. We call this system Intelligent Design Management (IDM). IDM requires that all projects are perfectly functional/practical, meaningful and affordable within set budgets.

The strength of the practice, goes beyond any one individual and must be credited the ability to operate harmoniously as a team of passionate members who all share the attitude of “Getting it right”. At the heart of the WOLF IDM system is also an attitude of genuine care for the work and our clients.

After almost two decades of practicing IDM in Australia the practice is now at the forefront of residential dream builds.

Can we handle your project? Is it too small, or too big?

At WOLF ARCHITECTS our interest is in adding value to projects regardless of their size. Once we feel confident that we are the right fit for a particular project it is our responsibility and challenge to get the most out of any budget. It is not unusual for WOLF Architects to have at any one time a very wide range of projects ranging from small $200,000 extensions to $10 Million luxury mansions.

From experience the cost of a small three bedroom home (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 renovations and these range between $200,000 and $800,000+GST. In some cases a renovation can be more than the cost of a new build and be in excess of $1 Million +GST

Renovate or not to renovate

What is the design process and how long does it all take?

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

Does WOLF Architects work outside of Australia?

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.

Click here for International clients.

What’s the next step, how do we get started?

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.