Should I engage a builder or a designer for project plans?

Friday, 3rd Mar 2017

Many builders offer in-house project design services, but is this the best option, or should investors engage an architect or designer for plans?

While it might seem more convenient to use one company to complete your design plans and build your development, the truth is it could cost you more in the long run.

Generally it’s best to engage an architect or building designer to draw your project plans, rather than going to a builder direct.

By utilising an architect or a designer, you will own the copyright to the plans, allowing you to tender the project to several builders to secure the most competitive bid (i.e. best price and contract conditions).

On the other hand, if you engage a builder to complete the plans, typically they will own the designs – therefore you can’t compare quotes from other builders.

If you decide to not build with that company, then you’ll be forced to pay thousands of dollars to buy the plans, or worse still, the builder may not sell them to you, meaning you’ll have to start from scratch.

When searching for a designer, make sure they have an understanding of your budget and experience with similar types of projects to yours (i.e. a duplex, multi-storey townhouses, apartment complex etc).

Just because the plans for a project have been drawn, doesn’t necessarily mean the project can be built.

There may be limitations to what’s possible, either technically or financially, so it’s important to engage a designer with experience with similar projects so they can produce designs that are practical and within your budget.

For more information on property development, download Momentum Wealth’s new podcast series, The Property Investing Masterclass, which explores the fundamentals of residential and commercial property investing that every investor should know, regardless of age or experience.