What does an architect do?

An architect is the bridge between you, the client, and the construction industry. We are trained designers, creative thinkers, and problem solvers. Architects will help you develop your brief and budget, assist with the approval processes, liaise with the many consultants and contractors involved throughout the design and construction phases. We’ll help you find the right builder and manage the quality of the design throughout the building process.

Most importantly architects add value to your project by providing a service that ensures longevity and durability by considering and integrating the context of the site and the community with the needs and wants of the client. By doing so maximising the buildings long-term performance and sustainability and therefore future-proofing your project for years to come.

A CSIRO study in 2000 by Paul A. Tilley and Stephen L. McFallan investigated and concluded that through a quality design process, with the engagement of an Architect, you will save during the construction process via the reduction of building cost variations and requests for additional information. The quality of the building is vastly improved which intern increases the value of your property.

How much or how little you commission an architect is up to you – from coming up with an initial design to seeing the project through to completion.

Architects can provide you with a variety professional design services:

·      Pre-design, feasibility work, masterplan & decanting solutions

·      Building & interior design & documentation

·      Procurement of building services 

·      Contract administration 

·      Oversight of building works 

·      Post-occupancy evaluation 

·      Consultancy work, including project management and strategic planning 



What is the difference between an architect and a drafter or building designer?

A drafter provides technical drawings based on a design they have been given. A drafter should have a Certificate IV in building design drafting, although this is not required by legislation.

Building designers often offer a limited design service as well as drafting services, however, there are no specific licensing, registration, qualifications, or credentials required to be a building designer under South Australian law.

Where architects differ is architects are highly skilled professionals, who hold a post-graduate degree, and are professionally trained in all aspects of design and construction. We are bound by the The Architectural Practice Act and the Architect's Code of Conduct. As architects, we must be registered in the state we are practicing. Registration requires us to be correctly insured, updating this yearly.

To gain the education and practical experience required to be registered as an Architect takes around 8 to 10 years. This ensures that your architect is well versed in construction methodology, clear documentation standards, cost appropriate design, and legislative requirements of building. In addition to this, we are trained in design-thinking, sustainable building practices, energy efficient design, design history and theory. Amongst various other specialised knowledge that architects acquire over our many years of education, practical experience, and professional experience.

Architects are also well educated in contract law to help protect clients and their right within a building contract. Your architect is there to advocate for you!




Why should I invest in architect?

Architects provide a tailored service to your needs, ensuring that the money you invest in your project, interior fit-out, development, extension, or building a home, will last. The project is designed and constructed so that it maximises the potential of your location, your budget, your needs, and your wants. We embed long-term value within your design through passive energy efficiencies, future proofing methods, design functionality, and ensuring quality of construction.

Architects follow the project from the first napkin sketch, right through to making sure that each tile is laid correctly. We work intimately with our clients to ensure they are getting precisely what they are after within the scope of their budget. During planning & documentation we liaise with council, engineers, building certifiers, energy efficiency consultants, etc. to ensure that the project is meeting the requirements of all regulation and legislation. Once the construction starts, we work directly with the builder, craftsmen, and trades throughout the project, meeting often to problem solve issues on site.

It’s through this intense step by step process that we add value to the building as we can track the building from inception to completion.

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What do I need to do before I meet with an architect?

It can be very overwhelming taking the first step, even before you meet with an architect. We find it helps when our clients put a brief together. This helps refine their thoughts and hone in on what’s important. It’s important to keep in mind that a brief is a ‘living document’ and will change as you work with your architect to clarify and develop needs.

Your aim & ethos

What do you hope to achieve out of this project?

Your budget

Total build cost including consultants and legislative fees? Do you want to stage the works? Or complete all at once?

Your design style

Do your prefer a particular era, style, or genre of design? Are there materials you are drawn to? What inspires you?

Your functional requirements

What spaces do you need and how many?

Your timeframe

Is there a specific date you need to work towards?



What do architects charge?

Architects fees will vary from project to project depending on complexity, locations, and level of service you may require.

Architects base their fees on a variety of measure depending on the project, here are a few:

  1. Percentage of the project build cost

  2. A fixed rate base on floor area

  3. Fixed fee

  4. Hourly rates

AKA will discuss with you at our initial consultation what will best suit your project. Generally we will work on a rate per square metre which can vary between $350/SQM to $500/SQM depending on complexity, location, and the level of service you require. This cost will also vary depending on the services you need, as you will only be charged for the stages you require (see ‘what is the process?’ for details on the different stages you may need)



What is the process?

StudioAKA works in broad stages of design, those stages are generally as follows:

  1. Sketch design

    Brief development, concept design,3D exploration

  2. design development

    develop concept, obtain an estimate, prepare council documents, submit to council

  3. Building rules and Documentation

    prepare documentation for building rules and construction, submit to council for building rules

  4. Joinery, Selections and Lighting

    interior design and documentation, complete materials and lighting selections

  5. Construction

    organise building tenders, negotiate contracts and prepare contract documentation,

    attend site meetings, respond to queries, solve problems and deliver finished product

  6. post practical completion

    oversea the project handed over, resolve any final issues/ claims, finishing touches

    For more detailed information on how we work and our process,

    check out our services page & working with an architect.



What other consultants might be involved?

There are a variety of consultant needed on every project, the variety and type of consultants needed depends on the project type.


Structural and civil engineer, surveyor, energy efficiency assessor, estimator, and building certifier are the most commonly used for residential projects. Your project may also need or you may want to hire a planner, arborist, landscape architect, interior designer, lighting consultant, and/or builder.


Structural, hydraulic, electrical, fire, and civil engineers. Additionally, a surveyor, energy efficiency assessor, estimator, and building certifier are some of the most common. Your project may also require a planner, arborist, landscape architect, interior designer, acoustic engineer, traffic engineer, government authorities, green star assessor, project manager, builder, and additional specialty consultants are amongst some consultants that may be required for your project.



I have some more questions about architects, who can I ask?

If you’d like to know a little bit more about the profession and how architecture functions as an industry. Here are a few organisations that you could contact to get some further information:

The Architectural Practice Board of South Australia

Legislative body regulating architectural practice in South Australia

Australian Institute of Architecture

The peak industry body and advocacy institution for Architecture in Australia

Office of Design and Architecture SA

Office of the Government Architect in SA. ODASA educates about design, promotes good design, and advocates for public value of design as an industry in SA

Australian Accreditation Council of Australia

Federal body regulating and setting standards for architectural education and professional assessment



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