What is your budget?

What is your proposed budget for your residential project? We do ask our clients this question in
order to prepare a design and provide service that is achievable. Many clients are unwilling to provide
their architect with an accurate picture of their budget so we have provided this information to assist
you in understanding the varying costs that are involved in a residential building project.

Why tell your architect your budget?

1. Some people are misguided thinking that if they don’t tell you how much they want to spend
the architect fees will be lower. The reality is that not being honest up front will cost you more
due to variations, changes and your design/ project will be inferior!! Your design may end up
completely different to the original concept and you lose the integrity and function of the

2. Most clients do not understand that a lot of the architect fees will be made back at the tender stage as the client will get 3 -4 quotes to choose from with usually a 10-20% variation between the builders. This gives the client a saving on the project, where if one builder was selected, it could cost the client 20% more due to the builders profit margins and fees.
3. If you do not provide a budget guideline to the architect, they can only guess your budget, and will design the project based on this assumption. So be clear and up front to your architect and have a realistic brief.

What do I need to allow for in my budget?


 Is it a construction budget or your overall budget? Have you allowed for the required consultants, other consultants + items supplied by the owner with in your budget?

 So what are the consultant fees you need to allow for!

Consultants: required

1.Surveyor-approx. $1500-$2000

2.Soil Test- Geo tech report-approx. $495-$700

3.Engineer-approx. $1500-$3500

4. Certifier- Certification and pool certification-approx. $2000-$3500

5. Energy assessment report.  approx. $250

6. Q-Leave (Portable Long Service Leave Authority)

>$150,000 of construction budget 0.475%x construction cost


These fees can range between $8,000 - $15,000 of your construction budget.


Other Consultants that may be needed.

1) Air conditioning (Ducted)

2) Council gas to house.

3) Landscape consultant (drawings, details)

4) Earthworks, Hard landscaping

5) Plumber to cap off existing sewer, water.

6) Special Electrical requirements (ie smart house)

7) Town planning (only if the design is outside the self assessable code and impacts on the site

8) Urban Utilities (if issues with main water and sewer)


Items supplied by Owner

1) Light fittings.

2) Plumbing fittings (ie wc, vanity, mixers)

3) Appliances

4) Special landscaping items ie ( water features, bbq table, fire pit)

5) Soft landscaping. (mulch, topsoil, planting)

Have you allowed for Contingency, for changes or issues that may occur or be un-forseen? You may need a 5-10% of construction cost for this.


So you may think your build budget is $500,000 but in reality your construction budget may only be $400,000. So it is really important that you tell your architect this as this is what we will design your project around. The construction budget!


A good basic guide for working out your construction cost is to use a construction rate of $2500sqm x your GFA sqm rate.


Below is a table outlining sqm rates for building

$ Cost / Square metre * guide only

$1200 - $1500 / sqm Project homes

$1700 - $3000 / sqm Design + Construct projects

$2500 - $4000 / sqm* Cusom designed homes & renovations 

Also note a builders profit margin is between 12.5-20% of the total construction cost!! Which they never tell you and GST will be added to this, so it is very important to have accurate drawings that can be used at a Tender stage otherwise all changes + variations will cost you the builder will be enjoying the profits!

four recommendations to keep your residential project to a realistic budget?

1) Know what you budget is and provide an accurate budget to your architect so a realistic brief can be created.

2) Make sure your architect provides accurate and detailed drawings for construction.

3) Make sure your Architect or professional draftsperon provides accurate and detailed drawings for construction

4) Tender with at least 3-4 builders to give you a range of quotes.

5) Make sure you have a fixed contract price in place.


Be honest with your architect about your budget at the start.


Renovating can be a daunting challenge and a time consuming /pain staking process. 

Where do you start? What is the process? What can I do to my existing house? How much is it going to cost? 

Well If you are going to spend large amounts of money renovating your house we can master plan the entire project so we know that everything in the projects works together.


Here are some benefits of master planning that BAASTUDIO can help you with


1) Save on future consultant costs.

2) Knowing that future work will complement and blend into

your existing house

3) Making sure structural elements work with future stages.

4) Understanding the site so your new design makes the

most of the elements and gives you the best outcome.

5) Looking ahead to future staging and building work.

6) Having a clear picture of the overall design so that your

project doesn’t look bitsy. Great design is about the use of

materials and flow between the house and new work.

7) Having an Architect draftsperson design your wish list and talk about

budgets so you know how to stage your project and what the

process is.

8) Save Money.

9) Have a goal which you can plan towards



In today’s economy it is vital that you choose the right house that is going to suit your future lifestyle while still at an affordable cost.
The only way of doing this is by understanding the site. The site is the fundamental to a quality home. In my opinion, plonking a house chosen from a plan onto your property without considering the site is a risky venture!!!!!!!
How does the site impact on the design process? At Baahouse + Baastudio we determine;

  • Where the pre-dominate breeze is coming from. Between North - South East during summer (For airflow and cooling) How will we design to capture the breeze.
  • Which orientation does the site face? North or West?

This will govern where the rooms, eaves, windows, large openings, decks and living areas should face. Other factors include;


  •  Do the Western rooms have large overhangs for shade? Protection from storms?
  •  Where are trees on site, for shade, privacy and protection
  •  How will we create privacy from any neighbours.
  •  What are the contours and levels of your site?
  • Does the site slope – will rain water be directed away from the house.

In Summary, before any good design can be developed, it is imperative we understand your site. This is why we come to your property because The Baahouse + Baastudio designs are based on these factors. This is Key to great design and why so many house plans on the market fail in our climate!



When considering any type of lifestyle solution whether it’s building a new home, renovating, or adding a granny flat or studio to an existing home, cost is obviously one of the biggest factors to consider but you must weigh up the value for that cost.

Customers today appear to be spoilt for choice with the many options on the market available that can be built cheaply. These are generally mass produced designs which can be visualised with the aid of computer generated designs. The problem with this cheaper, buying of the plan approach is that whilst they may be cheaper to produce, they fail to customise the plan to the individual site meaning the design in not optimised for light, breezes, existing landscape and surroundings.

 At BAAStudio we have intensively studied full time for 6 years in design/Architecture. We have been trained the classic way with freehand drawings which gives you a more fluid approach to designing and understanding, instead of a computer aided software program designing for you. ‘’click of a button’’ With over 15 years of experience in the industry we consider form, function, light, colours, breezes, specific materials to suit your tastes and budget and most of all pay attention to all details which is the key to great design.

 So why not pay more for something that has been professional designed and customised uniquely for you!  You will have a lifestyle solution which you will love to live in, using materials that will last, with attention to detail and guaranteeing a quality investment.


One of the most common questions we get asked is, “Should we keep our old house and renovate it or demolish it and build new?” So what is the answer and what is the most cost effective option?
Well, until you get a professional expert to inspect your home, run through your brief and understand your requirements and budget, this is too difficult to answer as every circumstance varies, but below is a guide that shows the pros and negatives for each option to consider when making that crucial decision!
If you have any queries or would like to discuss this further contact BAASTUDIO today at or T:0409 5777 05



  1. No restrictions on what you can build, apart from site overlays and council building codes. The style, materials, layout is up to you.
  2. Your design can work around the site utilising all aspects of sustainable design, capturing breezes, airflow and the option to gain extra height on site by using flat skillions roofs.
  3. Building sqm rates for a new build are normally cheaper than renovation sqm rates and therefore overall may be a cheaper option.
  4. Minimal hidden variations or unknowns as every detail should be shown in the construction drawings.
  5. Construction time frames to completion is normally quicker when you are building new.
  6. The option to build off the plan meaning the house is pre-designed then placed on site saving time and costs.


  1. The quality of the build could be inferior as builders use pine framing instead of hardwood. Many of today’s builders don’t have the knowledge and skill compared to builders in the 50,60s.
  2. New foundations and structural type may have to change to suit new building codes.
  3. The new build may have to be situated in a new location on the property due to the boundary setback and building codes which may mean certain restrictions required on your property.
  4. Removal of the existing house, clearing the site and preparing the site for new structural footings may cost you a lot more money than you thought.
  5. You may need to factor in the cost to rent/move elsewhere while you home is being constructed.
  6. You may not be able to stage your project and therefore financing upfront may be an issue.



  1. You know what you are dealing with onsite so you can either renovate to match the existing character of the house or build a new modern extension that may contrast the existing house.
  2. You may already have a good solid structurally sound house with fantastic hardwood timbers or quality features that you can work with.
  3. Potentially your house will be better built than a new home that is constructed with inferior materials and where corners have been cut to meet construction timeframes.
  4. Your house may already have the street character and aesthetics which you may not be able to achieve by building new.
  5. You may have already closer setbacks than what is needed due to the building code changing over time.
  6. You may be able to stage the project so you can still live on the property during construction.


  1. The cost of renovating can be very expensive as there can often be a lot of hidden costs and unknowns.
  2. You will need between 5-10% contingency of your overall budget required when renovating due to all of the unknowns that may be discovered along the process.
  3. You may need to select your builder more carefully. Does your builder know how to renovate old houses or has he just done low set brick veneer new houses? Take the time to look at the quality and style of homes that the builder has produced.
  4. If the house is in a character overlay you may be controlled by council restrictions on what you can build.
  5. The existing house may face the wrong orientation and not capture the views. The house plan may not be right for the site or location.
  6. Does the existing house how termites or rot that you may not know about.
  7. Does your existing house have street appeal? You may need to factor this into a renovation also if another part of the house is being modernised.