Let's talk about Home Design Guarantees

Guarantees or warranties are associated with almost every product we buy, its law. From automotive warranties, through a $19 toaster, every such product comes with the peace of mind that your'e covered in the event the product fails within a certain period. 

Yet, within the Building Design industry, there are none. Over the years, I've spoken with a number of people about their experiences in this regard. The worst thing I've been told is this. "Every time we wanted to make small changes, we were being charged more. Money for our build was being consumed, so we just had to accept the plans as they were". 

This is heartbreaking to me. Having to sacrifice things that make your home better for you, because you're being charged to make changes, just doesn't sit right with me. While I do understand there are limits, limits which even I impose when the need arises (happened a few times), these people were not making excessive changes.

Personally, I'd rather lose income than allow my clients to build a home they don't absolutely love in every respect. In addition, providing my client has been clear about their brief and is not making dramatic changes to it, I believe its my responsibility to ensure I understand their brief & question it while assuming nothing. This is where open, honest communication comes in to play. 

Then, sadly, there are those who get the design wrong, intentionally, to extract more money from their client. I won't even comment more on these scumbags.

 

These issues are especially prevalent when you're paying an hourly rate for design services. Hourly rates are fine if you're able to physically time the person, as employers do. But when you can't physically measure such time, there's always an element of doubt. Or worse still, you feel you have to challenge the person to justify the time being charged. Not for me, there's too much of a stigma about unsupervised hourly rates. 

Then there's another issue I have with hourly rates. Aside from the total fee being unknown until the end, is the person going to put in extra time when needed?

 

For example, as a designer, I get stuck occasionally. Its not uncommon for me to spend a whole day playing with a bathroom or kitchen to make it work the way I want it. Even then, I may get back to it a day later and decide to change it. Let's say I'm charging you $120/hour, what would you think about paying me $1,320.00 to design only your kitchen? Maybe I simply had a mental block, or perhaps I was just too tired because I attended a Bucks party the night before. How would you feel about paying this? 

I could ramble on about why, I believe, written guarantees are important and why I don't believe in hourly rates. Let's get to the point. 

I believe Boyd Design are the only Building Design Firm, throughout Australia, including meaningful, written guarantees in respect of every aspect of our home designs. These are written within our home design contract.

| Home Design Guarantee

 

"You absolutely love every aspect of the home we design for you, or we'll amend our plans, until you do love every aspect of our design, at no additional cost to you."

Perhaps we misunderstood you, or maybe you simply changed your mind about something. Unless you're wanting to make significant changes, which didn't form part of your original design brief (add a second storey etc.) you'll pay no more to make design changes. 

| Building Budget Guarantee

 

"Should the home we design be estimated at a figure in excess of the allocated budget, we'll amend our plans, to meet the budget requirements, at no additional cost to you."

Part of the design brief, we request from you, states the budget you have allocated to build your desired home. We assess this, in advance, to ensure the home you desire can actually be built for your allocated budget. If not, we sort this out prior to you engaging our services. 

If we're working with you, its because we believe your budget is realistic. In the event that our design is estimated in excess of the allocated budget, we'll amend our plans at no additional cost to you.

| Council Approval Guarantee

 

"Should the plans we've designed not be approved for construction by Council , we'll amend our plans, until they are approved by Council, at no additional cost to you."

Part of the design brief, we request from you, states the budget you have allocated to build your desired home. We assess this, in advance, to ensure the home you desire can actually be built for your allocated budget. If not, we sort this out prior to you engaging our services. 

If we're working with you, its because we believe your budget is realistic. In the event that our design is estimated in excess of the allocated budget, we'll amend our plans at no additional cost to you.

| More Guarantees

 

The above guarantees are the big three. However, there are even more. These relate to engineering, earthworks, energy efficiency & BAL. 

To my knowledge, we offer you more peace of mind than any Building Design Firm, throughout  Australia. For me, this is no big deal because of the level of confidence I have in my own ability to get your design right in every respect. If I let you down, I let myself down also.  

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