Over the last couple of months as I've been walking my dog in the early evening, I’m noticing more and more houses with the glow of blue light in the front room and behind that light is a head buried in a screen. About 80% of these “heads” are working hard at their desks, in their working from home spaces, which are effectively “glassed-in front verandahs”. Two things stand out to me: Do they know how clearly, I can see them and what they are doing?Are they comfortable in this space? Feeling the cold? With increasing numbers of people working from home due to COVID restrictions and lockdowns, creating a functional and comfortable home workspace is key. A space away from the rest of the household is desirable, and if you have a verandah, it is a perfect spot.... it's quiet, out of the way, a space where you can remove yourself from the family; potentially more office-like and with the added benefit of allowing you to see out to your streetscape and feel part of the world around you. If you are currently using your verandah as your working from home space, is it working? Traditionally the verandah was designed and built as a transitional space between public and private, where you were meant to see, as well as be seen. In the '60s and '70s, many of these spaces went through a transformational change of purpose, they were enclosed using a combination of timber panelling with fixed and operable windows; to be used as additional storage spaces; sunrooms and sometimes combined with the adjacent bedroom. Originally these spaces were constructed of a single leaf of brickwork between brick piers and a lined tiled roof extension over it. The timber and glazed infill elements were a very cost-effective solution; however, this form of construction has poor thermal and insulation qualities. To heat or cool these spaces now requires all manner of devices, and these aren't generally your highly energy-efficient varieties, and the benefit is soon lost. Moreover, in winter, the combination of internal warmth, a cold and damp outside and poor insulation also leads to condensation and mould growth. In essence the verandah updates of the 60’s and 70’s were not designed to house a suitable home office space. Notwithstanding the temperature issues mentioned above, unless you're careful, being in the front of the home without the right privacy elements in place, means your home office space could now be considered a "shop front" for your neighbourhood thief displaying all your expensive computer equipment and allowing the watchful to easily monitor your daily routine. So if your expensive computers, stationery, or reference materials aren't pinched, they are in for a shorter than usual life span. What are some of the common requirements for creating the perfect working from home workspace? A dedicated work surface that’s large enough to accommodate your remote working technology.A supportive and ergonomically … [Read more...] about Is your working from home space working?
If you have a heritage-listed home or a home in a conservation area and want to do alterations and additions, there are some things that you will need to know. Buildings are given a listed status to mark their historical and architectural significance and to protect them from damage and inappropriate alterations. The NSW Heritage Office defines a conservation area as "Area located on the State Heritage Register or on a Local Environment Plan (LEP) for their heritage significance. They also contain individually listed heritage items. We would recommend that you research the neighbourhood's era and as much as you can about your property's period and style, especially if you're trying to restore your period home. Remember, renovating doesn't necessarily mean replacing everything in the existing style; you can keep some of the period features and have a design that successfully integrates the old and new. Before you start any design works, you need to investigate what kind of modifications you can and can't make on your property as there is a good chance you can't make specific changes. An experienced local architect will help you identify these and tailor your dreams to obtain the council's approval. As you may know, there are two approval options available to obtain a building approval in NSW; A Council Development Application (DA) and Construction Certificate (CC) orA Complying Development Certificate (CDC) via a private certifier. Being in a heritage conservation area will rule out the CDC approval option. There are many challenges that an architect needs to negotiate when designing alterations and additions under the DA process. These include: The council's Planning Controls (LEP and DCP)The National Building codes (known as the National Construction Code)Client budgets andNeighbours However, the council imposes more significant restrictions on what can be designed by your architect, as they must consider in greater depth areas like Streetscape, Character, Scale, Form, Material and Colour. Some council controls can restrict your design to: A single-storey development and/or an attic conversionRetaining existing elements of you home like roofing materials, chimneys, dormer windows, filaments etc.Front façade treatments and colour schemesAnd even your front fence And as part of the documentation submitted in the Development Application, you must include a Heritage Impact Statement (HIS). The HIS must comply with a particular presentation style and delve into your building's history and how what is proposed complies with their heritage overlay. In most cases, your architect can provide this additional report if they choose to. But on some occasions, and for some projects and council areas, the council will require a suitably qualified Heritage Architect to write the HIS. In summary, we recommend appointing a local architect who knows the … [Read more...] about What you need to know if you’re renovating a heritage-listed home or you’re in a conservation area
Like the Griswold's, does your extended family spend Christmas Day at the same home every year? Is your New Year's resolution for next year to finally do something about the dark and musty smelling living area? If you are considering embarking on a home building project in 2021, whether it’s a renovation or brand-new home build you probably want to know: Will I be able to build what I want?What will it cost?How long will the process from design stage to building take?And what's your next step once the decision to build or renovate has been made? You’re not alone in asking these questions; these are the most frequent questions asked by those who embark on a home building project. To help answer these so you can start your home building project with confidence, we have outlined a brief rundown of the design, compliance and builder tendering processes and an estimate of timings for each stage. Question One: Will I be able to build what I want? Gaining your local Council’s approval is an important step in the building process. It can lead to frustrations and delays. If you are building in NSW, unless you are experienced with your local Council's Local Environmental Plan (LEP), Development Control Plan (DCP) and the NSW Governments "Exempt and Comply Development Code" you will need the help of a suitable professional. They can explain the "rules" for what you can and can't do to your property. At Willoughby Architects we offer a fixed price "Needs and Options Review", our review helps you to understand these areas and assists you in putting together a realistic design brief that all also ticks the boxes regarding your needs and wants. Once you have a good idea of what you will be able to build within your local council area, what's next? Question Two: Determining what it will cost Architects aren't the best professionals to give you an accurate price, in fact, we aren't allowed to provide them, that's for a Builder or a Quantity Survey. However, neither the builder nor the quantity surveyor can provide you with that figure without some sort a scaled sketch. Typically consisting of a Plan, Sections and Elevations and your architect is the best professional to provide this (By using the knowledge gained in Question 1). Question Three: How long will it take from design to build? A large range of factors will impact the design, approval and building time, including council and local government permits, inclement weather conditions, land slope factors, easements and sometimes delays are caused due to financial institutions. At every stage your architect will need to consult and obtain approval from you to move to the next stage. These stages are: Schematic DesignDesign DevelopmentDocumentationTenderingConstruction Schematic design (6-8 weeks) A feature survey is typically required for any project that involves any external changes. You should allow 2 -3 weeks to … [Read more...] about What’s the timeline from designing to building a new home?
Are you thinking about renovating or building a new home? At Willoughby Architects we design, organise approvals and project manage the building process for new build homes, as well as renovations for existing homes. We see it as our job to turn your ideas and aspirations into imaginative, workable solutions – and that is what we love to do, create homes for connection, for joy and for possibility. We are grounded by the principal that the whole merit of exceptional design is to take whatever budget you have, big or small, and make it work harder. If you are thinking about renovating or building a new home and want to start the building early next year, now is the right time to start planning. Our Needs & Options Review is the perfect first step to start the process. We will visit you onsite, review your property potential and provide a one-hour consultation to help you gain a realistic perspective, add some ideas and assess the feasibility of your project. We are offering a 10% discount on our Needs and Options review for the whole of November. Contact our Principal Architect, Wayne Farmilo today to arrange your Needs & Options review, mentioning your 10% Discount. Email: email@example.com or Phone: 0412 998 027 Willoughby Architects Build Your Dream Home – Places for Connection, Joy and Possibility. … [Read more...] about Needs & Options Review – 10% Discount for November 2020.
My last blog introduced Steve, who emailed me with some typical questions clients who are embarking on a new building project often ask. I covered Question 3, in my last blog "What's the difference between an architect and a draftsperson?". This blog will address Steve's Questions 1&2. This is a typical email we receive. The Following was from Steve in Croydon in April. "Dear Wayne I’m looking to put a second storey on my duplex (semi-detached home). Friends suggested we use “c…..d”, so we got them to do a proposal. In their submission, they have an allowance for the design, drafting and gaining the planning approvals of $15638.00. The thing is….we don’t like what they have designed “it pretty generic”. Is this sort of project too small for an Architect, and what would you charge? How’s an architect different to a Draftsman anyway? Steve" Steve has touched on a couple of items here: How small is too small for an Architect to become involved in? What do architects’ cost? and What is the difference between an Architect and a Draftsperson? Firstly, how small is too small? Well the simple answer is there are no rules, and you just have to ask. Whether a job is too small for an architect can vary widely depending on the experience of the architectural firm and the circumstances of your project. Sometimes firms with an architectural team of varying seniority will allocate smaller projects to the more junior Architects within the firm as they provide great opportunities for more junior Architects to develop skills and have a project that they can “sink their teeth into”. I’d like to add a caveat; this approach is sound as long as the design is under the guidance of an experienced and senior Architect. Whether you are adding a pergola, an outside BBQ area, a granny flat or alterations and additions for your home, there is always a need for it to be a functional and aesthetically appealing space. Engaging an Architect for a small project can make the difference between a space you occasionally use to one that’s used all the time. Architectural critic Sarah Williams Goldhagen said in an interview on ABC’s - Blueprint for Living….. “If the built environment isn’t supporting you, then the chances are it’s probably hurting you…..Everyone needs better – indeed, good – landscapes. cityscapes and building of all kinds”. An Architect can work with you to help make “all your spaces” good spaces to experience life. On to question 2: What do Architects’ cost? It’s a common misconception that architects are expensive. But expensive compared to what? A draft person or a building designer? However, the services they offer are quite different, and they have unique skills and expertise. A good Architect who understands your needs and brief can help turn your dream home into a reality and ensure your property is functional, stylish and attracts … [Read more...] about Is my project too small for an Architect?
We’re always receiving emails and telephone calls from potential clients asking for advice, so I thought I’d start answering these in a series of blogs. Hope you find my answers and insights useful when designing and building your new build home or home renovation. This is a typical email we receive. The following was from Steve in Croydon in April. Dear Wayne I’m looking to put a second storey on my duplex (semi-detached home). Friends suggested we use “c…..d”, so we got them to do a proposal. In their submission, they have an allowance for the design, drafting and gaining the planning approvals of $15638.00. The thing is….we don’t like what they have designed “it’s pretty generic”. Is this sort of project too small for an Architect, and what would you charge? How’s an architect different to a draftsperson anyway? Steve Steve has touched on a couple of items here: How small is too small for an Architect to become involved in? What do architects cost? and What is the difference between an Architect and a Draftsperson? Items 1 and 2 are related, and I will cover these in my next blog post. Firstly, I’d like to clear up the third item, as it sets the scene for the other questions. “How is an Architect different from a Draftsperson?” Well, to the uninitiated, its true the result produced by both is similar…you will receive drawings, plans, elevations and sections for your project. In fact you will find many architects drafting in architectural companies. If I search my memory banks, I recall the first 3 or 4 years of my working career was drafting under the control and guidance of a project architect Drafting is PART of the process, and it is an important part of how information is communicated, BUT it is not the whole process. To give you an idea of where the drafting fits in this overall scheme of things, here’s a breakdown of the stages of the architect’s service, with the standard percentage of the total architectural fee charged at each of these stages. Design Brief & Measured Drawings 2.5% Concept Design 15% Design Development 12.5% Development Application/Planning Permit 5% Construction Documentation 35% Contractor Selection 2.5% Contract Administration 25% As-Built Documentation 2.5% As you can see, the drafting component (typically the Construction documentation) makes up about thirty five to forty percent of the architectural service, so if you do engage a draftsperson to draw up some plans, the cost should be significantly lower than hiring an architect. So what does this mean for your project? Now, you’re probably thinking, who’s going to do the other sixty to sixty five percent of the architectural work on my project? And, this is a good question…..you may be able to get your … [Read more...] about What’s the difference between an architect and a draftsperson?
Homeowner Warranty Insurance Homeowner Warranty Insurance I was recently talking to a builder friend of mine and we got talking about “Homeowner Warranty Insurance” and the value of it. Basically the builder has to be “dead or dead broke” for the client to use it he said. Anyway, he mentioned that he’d just taken over a couple of projects because the previous builder had gone “broke”. It seems that the previous builder had convinced that home owner that they should get an “owner builder’s license”, to avoid having to pay the Home Owners Warranty fees and he would “manage” the projects for him. Little did the home owner know that the builder in question, have exceeded the limit of his insurance and therefore shouldn’t have taken on any more work at that time. Needless to say the previous builder had taken on too much work, got himself into cash flow difficulties and had to cease trade. Not only were the home owners not covered by the insurance, they also found out that the builder had been claiming too in his progress claims. The owners had paid about 20% more than the works done and now had a budget problem of their own. The Home Warranty Insurance scheme, now called Home Building Compensation Fund, is a JOB SPECIFIC insurance required to be taken out by all builders for projects over $20 000. In short it covers you (and subsequent purchasers) if you “become aware of defective or incomplete work” and can not get the builder, trades person or developer to complete or rectify the defective work. Those with an owner builders license also can be called upon if you sell your home within 7 year of the Occupation certificate being granted. So a word of warning! make sure the builder take’s out the Homeowner Warranty Insurance and think about appointing your Architect to do the contract administration for you. We’ve been trained to help protect you. For more details on the Home Building Compensation Fund see the NSW Government – Fairtrading website or follow this link. http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/ftw/Tenants_and_home_owners/Home_building_and_renovating/Home_warranty_insurance.page Leave a reply. … [Read more...] about Homeowner Warranty Insurance
Ecological Design Alteration in Erskinville Ecological Design Alteration in Erskinville Want an ecological designed alteration and addition to your home but live on a small inner city block ? Our clients recently purchased a Semi Detached dwelling in a quiet, tree lined street in Erskineville. Like most inner west suburbs, of Sydney, large portions are zoned as “conservation areas”; where council’s like to maintain the “charm” and “authenticity” of the street scape. The rules to satisfy their requirements sometimes leave the Architect with a design dilemma and some creative solutions are often required. Our clients are both medical professionals, working long hours in high pressure environments; they also have a young family. When it came to designing their new space they where conscious that it needed to be a relaxed and soothing space, where they could enjoy their family, the location and have enough room to “escape” and “recharge”. Like most young families there was also a requirement to have a low carbon footprint, both with the initial design and the ongoing running costs. The council’s restriction, to ensure that the new addition was not visible for the opposite side of the street and the existing chimney structures were to be retained along with the client’s need to have natural light to all living spaces and bedrooms resulted in some imaginative planning and design solutions. Just to add another degree of difficulty, our clients also wanted a separate studio space, over their rear-lane accessed garage, for when the interstate in-laws came to visit each year. Due to the complexity of the site and the lot size, the design had to be submitted via a Development Application to council. The was a complex negotiation with involved a number of design alternatives and compromises. To achieve the final design that satisfied both council and our client was a very challenging, yet rewarding experience. Leave a reply. … [Read more...] about Ecological Design Alteration in Erskinville