A S K E D     Q U E S T I O N S

01  Questions & Answers

Q: Why would I use an Architect rather than a building designer or a builder who can drawn up plans?

A: In the same way you engage a GP or a surgeon, it is about the specific outcome you want to achieve. While a GP is a qualified doctor, you would never (we hope) expect them to perform heart surgery on you; even if they have spent years listening to hearts and have a heart of their own. Similarly, people may have spent time in buildings, built buildings (builder), drawn plans for a building (drafter), managed building projects (project manager) and each person has a different perspective, training and knowledge but none of these are the same as an architect.

A qualified architect is specifically trained in the design and management of the building, including the coordination of other people who need to be involved. This does not mean one of those is more or less valuable than the other, but it is important that you have the right person doing the right job. Not the job they think (or tell you) they can do.

To put it simply you wouldn’t want us waving a hammer on site and constructing your home. We aren’t builders and builders aren’t architects,. It doesn’t matter how many years we have been kicking around construction sites.

Q: Who else might I need to speak to, to help me with my project?

A: There may be several other professional services you need to complete your project such as a structural engineer, building certifier or town planner. It all depends on the project.


Jason Ross Architects  can help you understand which other services you require and also refer you to people with whom they’ve worked successfully in the past for a better outcome. They can also take all the pressure of coordinating their work as the projects gets going.

Q: Do I need any local authority (council) approvals?

A: This varies depending on the type, size, and location of your project. Jason Ross Architects can help work out if you need to speak to a Town Planner and if you need approvals for your project.

Q: I have drawn up some plans of what I want, can an architect help?

A: An architect is a specialist in the design of buildings and spaces. So they can help refine your design and provide the documents that enable you to build it, we would first suggest you ask yourself  “Would I give a mechanic a list of instructions outlining the specifics of how they should fix my car?"

Jason Ross Architects can work with you to provide you with a solution using a written brief, emotive images or sketched plans, which show us your thoughts and what you like and don’t like, and we refine your ideas into a finalised design.

Q: What are the things should I consider when thinking about my project?

A: The final cost of your project will depend on the land you’re building on, the cost of finishes, fittings and fixtures, changes you might make along the way, the time-frame to complete it, etc 

Some things to consider when looking at which option to choose:

  • An ‘off the shelf’ home is not designed for the block you own and is positioned to ‘best fit’ within property setbacks. A bespoke home will be positioned to take advantage of the orientation of the property and the environmental aspects, like the sun and breezes. This allows for a much more comfortable and more easily controllable living environment.

  • An ‘off the shelf’ design is only cost-effective when it’s unchanged from the original plans. If you want to make major OR minor changes eg move a door or wall, you may pay a large premium for the privilege.

  • The advertised base price for ‘off the shelf’ homes can sometimes exclude basic things like floor coverings, the driveway, any landscaping etc. or will use a cheaper option of material or fixture eg, lights or appliances, that you will likely want to change, increasing the actual price.

  • A bespoke home is designed from the start to finish, to suit your needs now and into the future.

  • A bespoke design allows you to make a number of changes along the design process and it with advice on the time-frame to build, costs, the space and form of the building and also potential alternatives that may be more appropriate.


Remember, well designed buildings have very little to do with how much they cost to build, and more to do with the amount of thought invested rthe begining.

Q: What will an architect charge?

A: An architect will charge a fee based on several major criteria such as project complexity, time-frame, budget, and building type. Our fee will depend on the level of service you require (see our Services and Fees) and a conversation with us can actually save you money.


Architects can often identify problems before they become problems. They provide alternatives that will get you what you need, while adding value to your project. and all before committing to the building process. It is far cheaper to change something on paper than it is in the middle of construction.

Jason Ross Architects charge a set amount for consultancy services like 'Ask an Architect' and provides fee proposals for all types of other work.


We do it up-front so you can decide where to spend your money without the guesswork. As a rough guide, a full, four-stage architectural service for a new house can be anywhere between 7–20% of your construction budget. a FULL-service fee covers EVERYTHING from start to finish and can be months' worth of work, but that doesn't mean you need everything for your project so it's important to ask. Don't assume you can't afford the advice.

Fees are usually charged using one of the following methods:


  1. A flat hourly rate billed periodically or after various stages of the project are completed

  2. A percentage of the estimated or actual construction cost

  3. A fixed price, with conditions such as progress payments and limits to the number of changes that can be made at various design stages.


Don’t let a presumption that it will be ‘too expensive’ stop you from having a conversation. The worst that can happen is we say we can't help you and the best thing is you get an amazing outcome you never thought you could afford.

Q: What is the difference between an ‘off the shelf’ design and a bespoke, architectural design?

A: Architects have been trained and specialises in the design of a building, from design to to it's completed construction. Not just how to make it ‘pretty’. Architects provide bespoke, one-off buildings that are specific to your site and your individual needs.


Architects will also take into consideration the life cycle of your project to include future growth and changes to your needs, with a view to provide maximum flexibility and save you money by reducing ongoing costs.

Q: What is the difference between an Architect and a Building Designer?

A: In Australia, people that call themselves 'architects' are required by law (in most countries) to be registered in each state and the profession is regulated by a legally mandated professional body, much like a Certified Practicing Accountant (CPA) or medical registration board

While the process of registration might vary slightly from state to state, people who want to call themselves architects are required to have a degree (5-6yrs) from an accredited university plus supervised work experiences (1yr) and professional accreditation from the Board of Architects obtained through examination and peer assessment.


Building designers are not government regulated but in some locations require licenses or permits from state building authorities similar to carpenters, electricians, plumbers. and other tradespeople.  


Jason Ross is a registered architect and has been continuously, registered as an architect since 2001.

Q: What will a bespoke, architect-designed project cost to build?

A: It all depends on what you compare it to. For example, the cost of an ‘off the shelf’ project home can sometimes be advertised as being near to $1,200 per square meter of floor area, but BEWARE; this is a marketing figure designed to win your attention. Sometimes developers exclude the driveway, carpets and allow for low cost 'standard' fixtures, fittings and appliances and 'upgrading' or 'adding' them to the project will bring the cost back to reality very quickly.


 We recommend that you allow between $2,500 – $3,500 per square metre, depending on the level of finishing materials and complexity of the design. While it is not an absolute, it is a good starting point for budgeting and means you can confidently design a house and know that you won't have any nasty surprises.

Ultimately, the cost to build is determined by a builder. The best way to know the real cost of a building is to have a builder (or two, or three) price your design for you.

WANT TO KNOW MORE? If you just want to do more researach yourself, we recommend you invest in our new book "The Secrets of a Passionate Architect: A simple guide to building and renovating a house"