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Dunsborough House Design

Dunsborough House Design

The recent building tender result of a building tender process by Dunsborough architect Threadgold Architecture for a beachfront Dunsborough house design, clearly illustrates the building cost savings when property owners create a competitive building market.

The clients of Dunsborough architect Threadgold Architecture have shed new light on the old idiom “…if first you don’t succeed, try and try again…” after their two previous aborted attempts using south west building designers delivered  a costed contract sum of the Dunsborough house design 50% over the client’s building budget.

The Dunsborough architect Threadgold Architecture received four building tender submissions at close of tender after initially having eight south west builders tendering for the construction of the Dunsborough house design.  The most expensive building tender submission was $404,010 greater than the lowest tender price; which represents a 27.4% variance in building the very same Dunsborough house design.  The tender result generated a cost saving in the same magnitude for the Dunsborough architect’s clients and clearly illustrated the discrepancies in different builder’s margins, trade labour costs, material supply costs and profits; and how creating a competitive cost environment can generate generous cost savings for property owners.  Furthermore, one could conclude that procuring house design through a south west design and construct builder may be the most expensive mistake a property owner could ever make.  Afterall, once that design and construct contract is signed, competitive pricing forces are completely lost and the idiom “…client always pays…” becomes the unenviable standard.

Unfortunately many property owners get sucked into thin, lightweight and loosely worded building contracts that favour the builder’s commercial interest and profit outcomes rather than the client’s interest in a fair, cost-effective and quality house design.  Even worse still, some property owners are suckered into cost plus contracts where the south west design and construct builder has convinced the clients that an Architect has superfluous skills and is an unwarranted cost.  At this point, the best idiom to apply to the property owner’s circumstance would be, “…like a fox guarding the hen house…”.  There is obviously very little incentive for a south west design and construct builder or a south west design and construct builder’s tradesmen to keep a Dunsborough house design to a low budget for a client and a budget blow-out is the odds-on outcome.  Since managing building contracts since 1995, the ‘pea-in-the-shell game’ when it comes to building budgets is often too complex for a client to succeed in and particularly if the contract lacks the clauses/triggers for builder accountability via a third-party superintendent.

Generally speaking, trust is a relational attribute that is built over a long period of time through consistent, dependable and demonstrable behaviour displayed through social and business interactions but is becoming increasingly harder to find in society.  Although I am not saying all south west design and construct builders are untrustworthy or dishonest but how many of us are perfect judges of an individual’s character and integrity within the first beer, the first handshake or the first sketch design meeting at a south west design and construct builder’s office?  Rather than leaving the design and construct process to trust; a more cost effective outcome to property owners is to engage a Dunsborough architect to oversee/superintend the construction of your Dunsborough house design using a robust building contract incorporating retention monies, liquidated damages and a practical completion dates (contractual clauses that will never be presented at any south west design and construct builder design meeting).  Many south west design and construct builders like to sell themselves to property owners as avoiding an architect to save money but the exact opposite is true as the majority of south west design and construct builder clients pay through the nose by the lack of a competitive market and having no contractual security of a third-party assessor (the Architect).

At this point in the discussion, the most appropriate idiom might be, “…hindsight is a beautiful thing…” as I’ve met far too many people, after the fact, who rue and regret their choices in the procurement of (arguably) their biggest investment.  Property owners are far better served by engaging a Dunsborough architect who is governed by the Architect Act 2004 and Architects Regulations 2005 and will generate a cost effective competitive market result through a tender process followed by superintendence during construction of the project through a robust, equitable and fair contract (AS2124-1992 for example)  AS2124-1992 provides for a third party superintend role, allowing the Architect to assess any monetary variations of the builder with a pre-agreed rate for builder’s margin.  South west design and construct builders do not have to adhere to the same strict legislative controls as a Registered Architect; who is governed by the Architects Board of WA. Afterall, the State Government of Western Australia has been procuring buildings using architects through the Public Works Department/Building Management Authority/Housing and Works/Building Management Works and achieving competitive, cost effective, value-for-money quality building outcomes in Western Australia via the competitive building tender process since 1 January 1901.  Would not 116 years would be sufficient time to determine if the building tender process doesn’t work?

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