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Understanding the value of 'good design'

Before embarking on a residential design project, whether it be as a developer, investor or property owner, it is critical to understand the value of ‘good design’.
What is good design you may ask.  Well, as stated in the article ‘The Value of Good Design’ by Scott Keck, Chairman of Charter Keck Cramer, “good design’ is as much about what you cannot see as about what you can see…good design must be accompanied with good construction in order to be effective”.

With increasing competition out there and with a strong emphasis on price undercutting, in many instances, we have lost the meaning of good design or good workmanship. Often, good design has become secondary to getting a ‘good price’.  Understanding the overall financial impacts of a project from the outset is critical.  Less focus on a good design may mean more expenses later.

At a time of tightened budgets, some argue that good design is an unaffordable luxury. Design fees however are a small fraction of total construction costs and fade into insignificance when measured against the whole life of the building. Good design is an investment that gives value for money – over the long term good design always costs less than bad design.

The fees for the design of residential buildings are largely the result of the amount of time a designer/architect budgets for the project. The basic reality is that bad design is quick (and thus cheap at the outset) and good, smart, durable, efficient, environmentally responsible and appealing design is an extremely time consuming endeavour.

This makes competing on a price basis for the design of a building a very difficult task as you can quickly pump out bad drawings/designs for a low price but it will end up costing the client more in the end (based on lost resale value, the involved costs of poor orientation and material selection, and incomplete drawings which can leave the tendering and construction process wide open for price variations). Put simply in a more familiar way: you get what you pay for.

It is quite easy to be penny wise and pound foolish when it comes to construction. You may save a few thousand dollars at the start of the design process on a cheaper designer, however you may end up spending tens of thousands of dollars extra for less amenity by the time the construction process is complete.

So whether you are a developer, investor or property owner, consider the following benefits of a good design :
  • Incorporates great form and function
  • Flexibility of design concepts - addresses individual functional & lifestyle needs
  • Stands the test of time
  • Cost effective design solutions - less expensive to use and maintain
  • Better planning outcomes - the quality of a design is increasingly an important factor in the planning process
  • Considers construction costs
  • Higher revenue/sales prices and/or faster sales
Remember : “A poorly designed home regardless of what finishes you apply will always be a poorly designed home”


Posted by Darren Comber on 2nd June, 2014 | Comments | Trackbacks
Categories: The value of good design
Tags: Good design

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