Lifting the lid on hidden costs

Ensuring there are no surprises in your new home build. One of the requirements for designers is to prepare clients on their home building journey.

The advantages of building a home are numerous, which is why people across Christchurch, Canterbury and the rest of New Zealand are looking to build.

Benefits like customisation and the latest in-home technology are only a few of the perks when building a home that’s perfect for you and your family.

However, it can be a bit daunting for the first-time home builder. Of course, you’ve done the research and have gotten to a certain point, but there’s some things Google can’t replace: expert knowledge in the field.

“The designer has to have a good idea of the sorts of costs and convey those costs to the client. This is how much it’s going to cost you before you start the build.

“I think the client needs to know the cost of construction. There are a lot of hidden costs. It’s up to the designer to inform the client at the very start,” Iconic Architecture principal designer and director, Andrew Toulson says.

Specifically, there are two things the designer needs to adequately prepare the client on:
1. The cost of getting the house designed and then the costs of the building consent.
2. The expectation as far as timeframes go from the initial concept through to issue of the building consent.

While the designer understands the excitement and expectation in building a home, a quality design takes time.

The designer needs to set a reasonable expectation on how long the design process goes, as well as how long the construction process is going to take. Another variable the designer should communicate to their clients is the hidden costs involved in building.

“We’ve got amount for the engineer; we’ve got amount for the building consent; we’ve got amount for all the preliminary stuff before you’ve even got a peg in the ground to start building.

“From that point of view, there’s a lot of hidden costs that the client doesn’t know about,” Andrew says.

At Iconic Architecture, Andrew likes to sit down with the client to go through initial ideas. After that, they go to the drawing board and come up with an initial sketch plan and evaluation, along with an estimated cost of the drawings.

Initially, Andrew uses a computer to get down his concept plan. After that, the team converts the ideas onto ArchiCAD, which builds a 3D model of the plan using the concept plan.

Once both the designer and the client get to the stage where they want to move ahead with those working drawings, Iconic will give the client a quote price through to the issue of the building consent.

“We take care of that so they don’t have to deal with the aggravation of dealing with central and local government requirements. We do that for them,” Andrew says.

As a liaison for the client with the Council, Iconic takes care of the additional requests for information. When that’s sorted, the client then needs to pay for and pick up the building consent, all ready for the next exciting stage of the journey, building their dream home.

Another way designers can guide the client is giving them practical advice on how much certain styles for homes cost versus other types. “There’s only a certain number of things you can do to the exterior before it gets horrendously expensive.

There’s lots of stuff you can do internally that’s low on cost that contributes to the ‘wow’ factor.

“I think construction types like post and beam feature trusses which give a really good impact coming into the house without breaking the bank,” Andrew says. For post and beam construction types, Andrew partners with Timberworks NZ. Their bespoke and hand-crafted exposed timber frame construction brings open spaces to life. Having an experienced and honest designer is something that is essential when you’re building your home.

With over 35 years in North Canterbury and beyond, Iconic Architecture can take care of that for you.

For more information on a build for your future home, contact Iconic Architecture today.

Andrew Toulson
Iconic Architecture
21 Priors Road , RD1, Rangiora
(027) 628 5278  |

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