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How hard is it these days to get service guarantees in the building industry.

I have seen too many clients over recent years that have been to another designer or Architect and found themselves paying tens of thousands of dollars for worthless plans and approvals that need to be scrapped. Either they have not met budget constraints or the project cannot be approved under current regulations, or it simply fails to meet the client’s needs and expectations.

Sometimes designers get carried away on a design and simply over-shoot the budget, and all too often the client lets them because they don’t know any different, or because they convince themselves that they cannot live without the extra features, etc.

Sometimes designers start work without establishing a proper and thorough brief. If we don’t know everything we need to know about the client and their expectations, it is almost impossible to get it right. It becomes a hit and miss exercise.

Quite often the client changes the goal posts as the design comes together, but they forget that their actions and decisions make a difference to the cost of the outcome, and sometimes designers forget they have an important role in the process that very often will require them to say no to a client. Or at least revisit the budget from time to time.

Sometimes clients just change their mind on what they want, or find something new?

So how do we stop these problems from occurring:

1. Communication.

By discussing the various implications of decisions made through the early design stages, we can help to avoid nasty surprises when the project is costed later. The client needs to invest enough time in their own project and ask as many questions as possible so they understand what is being proposed.

2. We must have a written project brief.

As a designer, we must first take the time to establish a formal brief, even if the client has not yet fully decided on their requirements. We must start from a known set of instructions, or through a brief sketching process come to a design that becomes the brief, and make sure all stakeholders agree to move forward. The more information that this brief contains, the more likely we are to get the design outcome right.

Many projects go over budget because the client has not conveyed their expected level of finish in the brief. A good example is a kitchen, which can cost anywhere from $10k to $50 depending on finishes, inclusions and size.

3. We must have a budget and stick to that budget unless otherwise agreed.

If we don’t have a budget, or expected resale value for the property, and crosscheck whether this value is achievable against the brief, we cannot guarantee to meet your budget, or deliver an affordable project.

This will often require a quantity surveyor or builder’s opinions at key stages in the design process to help everybody understand where the project is heading, especially with one-off designs and renovation projects.

4. We must understand the regulations that we are designing to.

There is a minefield of regulations and planning rules, so it is important for the designer to know these rules before they start designing your project, and to convey the constraints to the client prior to commencing. It is so frustrating when clients come in with a design that just can’t be approved or built because of a fundamental constraints.

Budget Guarantees:

If we have followed a diligent process and the project goes over budget through no fault of the client, we will amend or re-draw the plans for free, as needed, no questions asked.

Brief Satisfaction Guarantees:

If we fail to provide a design outcome that meets a properly written brief, we will redraw or amend the drawings for free, no questions asked.

Service Guarantees:

Subject to the client and any external consultants or regulators meeting their obligations, we guarantee to meet or exceed general industry standards when it comes to time frames and product expectations. Service guarantees can be difficult to manage, however, with good communication, the client will know exactly where the project is up to at any given point in time.

Communication Guarantees:

If there is sufficient communication between the parties, service guarantees are not necessary, because we will all know where we stand at every stage of the process, and any deviation from brief, budget and services provided will be instantly known and can be rectified or varied as required to suit the evolution of the project.

This is your project, and as the client, you must be an active participant, making decisions and giving feedback where required in a timely manner. Communication must be two-way and therefore we guarantee to keep you informed on a regular basis, so you know what to expect from your project.

General Guarantee:

I am so confident in my ability to provide a quality product and service that I am prepared to offer a money back guarantee to any client that we can not reasonably satisfy with the guarantees above.


There are no conditions.

If you have contributed and communicated as you are required to in the design and documentation process, and told us the things we need to know to do our job, there is no excuse for not providing what you have asked for, and no good reason why we should charge you for the work.

If we have failed in our contracted duties, you don’t pay. Simple.

On the downloads page, you will find a full blank copy of the standard contract and conditions. We are completely open and have nothing to hide about the way we do business. The BDAQ contract is a two way document protecting both parties in the event of non-performance or breach of contract.

Competition and Consumer Act 2010:

We take our obligations under law very seriously, and have no problem in referring clients to the respective government regulation that protects you. All consumers have a right to a remedy under the act if the product or service they receive is not “Fit for Purpose” or suitable for their intended use.


Is your designer properly Insured:

Since the downturn, a record number of businesses have failed or sustained economic stress. As a result, the building services authority (now QBCC) relaxed the requirements for licensing to make “Professional Indemnity Insurance” (PI) optional for building designers with low turnover.

This means that the consumer is unprotected should the business fail to meet its obligations under law, and if the business operator has no assets or funds, you may not be adequately compensated for the loss or damage incurred by the designer’s deficient or inadvertent actions.

We have maintained our $2million professional indemnity cover through the downturn, as we recognize that it is vital to protect our own assets, as well as ensure clients have access to a refund or compensation, if an inadvertent mistake occurs. Lets face it, we are only human!

On the downloads page, you will find a copy of our certificate of currency, which is your guarantee of protection should something happen to go wrong. Click here

Don’t trust a designer that can’t or wont provide proof of insurance.

If you need help getting money back from a designer that has produced plans that do NOT meet YOUR expectations, call me. I will help you for free so we collectively get rid of the shonky operators from our industry.

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