Q: "We are currently weighing the pros and cons of using an architect. We do not want a "cutting-edge" renovation and certainly do not want the pressure of dealing with someone who wants to put his or her "stamp" on the place. That said, is there a role for an architect in our renovation and what is the average percentage charged? Does this include advice on fittings and fixtures?"
A: "Why have a "cutting-edge" renovation when you can have something that perfectly suits your needs. The "cutting edge" makes great news, but what won't be on the front page is how an architect turned a modest budget under budget.
Using an architect really depends on how much value you place in a home. If room layout, circulation, siting, sun, passive solar heating, views and priceless lifestyle benefits are important, it's probably best to use an architect. Archicentre runs a service for people who have renovation dreams, but don't know where to begin. It's called the Archicentre Renovator report.
Following a detailed home briefing, the architect produces concept drawings with one objective: to capture your vision. For optimum value, the architect should present detailed drawings to several builders as part of a competitive tender. If this job is managed intelligently, your architect's fees will be minimal.
Don't be surprised if there is a huge difference between the highest and lowest tender; 40% to 60% is not unusual. The architect's standard fee of 10-15% is merely a quarter of the difference. Advice on fittings and fixtures is included. Simon Turner