Has anyone used Archicentre's Design Concept?

Archicentre has a fixed fee design concept report which provides you with the following;

* consultation with architect
* one (1) concept & scaled drawings
* costing to build (with a lower to higher range depending on the fit out)

However it does seem to exclude landscaping, council/statutory fees, professional fees, contingecy etc

It takes approximately 8 weeks for them to complete and for a 3 unit site the cost is $3970. Has anyone done this before actually engaging an architect/draftsmen? Was it of value to you?

Part of the value of the service for me would be a firmer estimation of the costs to build instead of relying on less reliable anectodal advice. Is there another option to have a complete costing of a design concept?
oh my god! you must be KIDDING!!!!

i charge about $2350 for the same service - and I supply firm builders quotes, landscaping plans and a strata plan.

geezus - "i studied history for 6 years and 1 year of prac at uni and i can charge what i like".....

clearly they're on drugs if they perceive that as "value". that's like a whole month's pay for some people.
Yes, many years ago when I had a block of land that I didn't end up building on because my ex lived too close to it. It was a fairly steeply sloped lot which promptly tripled in value 10 minutes after I sold it.

It was a concept sketch and an indicator of cost but I already had the lot surveyed. It was only a few $100 though, not thousands, or my memory is shonky and I had more money than sense back then (which is entirely possible). The survey was also only a few $100. This would have been about 2002.

I paid a few $1000 recently to get a surveyor to seriously suck up to the local council to get a non-complying subdivision through though, which included all sorts of plans, drawings, letters and grovellings so these kinds of people certainly do charge for their services ...
G'Day Buzz

About fifteen years ago I rang Archicentre, made an appointment with an architect which had been allocated to me, took along a site plan and a contour map (from the Council), paid $650, chatted for about 45 minutes and two weeks later had a sketch plan which was good for nothing.

So I rang Archicentre to ask 'what happens next?'

I said that while interesting, the plan had no relevance to what we wanted, was I able to go back to the architect and start again, was that it, please tell me what my $650 has got me.

They essentially told me to 'take it up with the architect' - in my mind, this was not a dispute, I simply wanted to know what was the deal, as it was highly unlikely that a one plan take-it-or-leave-it approach would be their usual mode of operation.

The architect rang me back and said something along the lines of 'first sketch, preliminary meeting, if we go any further it is at usual fee-for-service basis'.

So, another $650 (which was a not insignificant amount back then) bites the dust!

Over the years, I have certainly paid many people for things and services of no worth to me.

The Archicentre plan service was just another one of my misguided attempts at finding 'quality' where none existed.


PS: A customer of mine has a standard 3 unit plan which seems to be a popular style with the buyers. I appreciate that every block and every market is different, but he seems to be happy with the draftsman and planner and the units are smart, modern, and appear to be good value for money.

Maybe you need to shop around for a draftsman and ask to see some of their 3 unit plans, have a chat with them and choose the one who appears to be on your wavelength.

I have just gone back to the draftsman who helped me with Myrtle Cottage in 2002. Joe hasn't missed beat, still dry and crusty, but hey! he tells it like it is and I know he will help me produce something which will meet all requirments first time and which we can afford to build.

Find yourself a tame Joe and go from there!
i work for an architect and he is registered with archicentre

he does secure jobs from there at times, however for what you were quoted i would go to a building designer / draftsman, get them to do you a sketch, get a cost estimator to do a cost plan A on it and go from there
Agree with JD86. I would find a draftsperson in the area that you want to develop. They will also have experience with what works for developers in that council area, what's likely to get through council, etc etc. I can recommend someone in my area but if it's somewhere else that you're looking to develop it may be woth striking up a friendship with a good RE agent in the area. I have found that they often know who the developers use.
You have your answer and my experience is the same.

FYI I worked as draftie now building designer for 15 years. Won a number of awards thanks! I moved in to commercial and I now have architects work for my clients. My experience is:

50% of architects in Aus have no idea
30% try but fail on costs
10% are good
10% are great

For resi development use a specialise Building Designer at:


As for refs and check PI insurances.