What is the difference between an Architect and a Draftsman?

  • Rob Harris, Director of Elements of Home, studied as an Architect in the UK. He has practiced in Australia for over 10 years and is registered in Australia as a draftsman.
  • Both a draftsman and an Architect should produce technically competent construction drawings. But most often, this is the only similarity between the two.
  • The most significant difference is that Architects are highly trained in design and possess the skills, judgment, imagination and creativity to help you create a home that reflects your personal style and tastes. An Architect draws you much deeper into the design process than you would experience with other building companies. We do this by asking you the right questions, exploring your ideas and explaining design possibilities that may not have occurred to you. We also explain which choices you should avoid, so that the end result is a home that works best for your needs and desires.
  • On the other hand, the training and daily focus of a draftsman is most often on the technical side of your project – showing the requirements for construction, complying with building codes and so on.
  • With Elements of Home you get the benefit of both Architect and draftsman.

How much do you charge?

  • Generally we charged a fixed fee. Either a one-off cost or a percentage of the construction cost.
  • Our detailed fee proposal outlines all the stages and the costs for each stage before you commit to anything.

I am thinking about buying a house. I’d like to buy somewhere that has potential to either renovate or extend, or maybe even build two houses. How can I find out if a house has potential before I buy it?

Elements of Home can:

  • Prepare a feasibility study
  • Advise on design potential
  • Advise on council issues
  • Advise on all anticipated costs for consultants, construction, marketing, holding cost and potential eventual sales
  • We offer a fixed fee for our feasibility study. Email us for more details.

I’ve just bought a house and I wish I hadn’t. I never realised that the floors are sagging, the walls are mouldy, the ceiling leaks, the heating doesn’t work and the windows don’t open. There are also big cracks everywhere. What should I do? Please help.

Don’t worry – it can all be attended to. We recommend Hire a Tradesman, our affiliate company, to refer professional tradespeople to fix all your problems.

I’ve just bought a house. It has a lot of land at the back and I’d like to extend. I really want an open plan kitchen, living and dining room. I love the whole indoor-outdoor feel – is this possible?

This is a very common question and, depending on the existing layout of your house, it is often easily achievable with some clever design. Contact Elements of Home for an obligation free appointment.

We will:

  • Advise you on the possibility of remodelling your home
  • Discuss council requirements and timelines
  • Prepare a fee proposal prior to charging you anything
  • Prepare plans showing your new house, if the fee proposal is accepted
  • Discuss your plan with you and design in more detail to suit your needs
  • Submit plans to council for approval
  • Help you find a builder
  • Project-manage the construction works on your behalf.

I bought some land with an old weatherboard house on it. I’d like to knock it down and build two units on the block. Is this possible and how do I start this process of sub-dividing?

It may be possible to build two units depending on the title, easement locations and any caveats. Each piece of land is subject to council, state and local laws and any development is conditional on conforming to these standards.

Elements of Home can arrange and co-ordinate the whole process. We will:

  • Prepare a fee proposal outlining the requirements and processes involved
  • Submit the town planning application required for two units
  • Submit a sub-division permit application
  • Submit a building permit application
  • Project manage the construction works on your behalf.

I just won the lottery and bought a block of land. I’d like to build my dream house. What is the process involved? Do I need to get town planning approval or do I just need a building permit? And what’s the difference between the two?

  • Town planning may not be required. It depends on the size of the land and the overlays that may or may not apply to your site. We will advise on this before starting.
  • If Town Planning is required it will be so that council can assess the development based on its impact on the immediate area and how it fits in with local regulations and neighbourhood characteristics.
  • A building permit is required to ensure the building is structurally sound and is built to good building practices – as outlined in the BCA (Building Code of Australia).

I love my house, but I’d like to make it a bit more open plan by removing one internal wall. Do I need to go to council for just one wall removal and, if so, can you arrange this for me?

  • If the wall is structural, or you are changing the use or size of a room, then you will have to get a building permit.
  • An engineer’s report may be required.
  • Elements of Home will arrange all this for you, including preparing the drawings and preparing the application.
  • We will project-manage the job for you and arrange all quotes from tradespeople.

I want a new kitchen, a new bathroom and a new laundry. Can you help?

Elements of Home specialise in wet area designs (kitchen, bathrooms, laundries) so we can definitely help. We will:

  • Draw plans of how each area currently looks and how they will look when renovations are completed.
  • Discuss appliances, materials, finishes, handles, taps, basins, tiles, etc.
  • Advise you on the best places to find fittings and fixtures and get the best deals. You also benefit from any trade discount offered to Elements of Home;
  • Manage the process for you, bringing in the plumbers, electricians, cabinet makers and carpenters until the job is completed.

My TV unit, wardrobes and dining room table all need replacing. I also need extra storage space in my house. I’m thinking about going to IKEA unless you can help me.

Elements of Home also specialises in cabinetry design. This goes hand-in-hand with wet area design (see above). We can design your dining room table to meet your exact needs, as well as wardrobes, TV units and storage cupboards.

We will:

  • Sit down with you as many times as required until we achieve a design you’re happy with
  • Advise you on colours and materials, e.g. laminate, 2-pak, vinyl-wrap, etc.

I want to build a deck so that we can start using the outdoor space better in summer. Does this require council approval and how much will it cost?

  • Elements of Home will design your deck
  • A building permit is required
  • Issues like termites/damp need to be addressed
  • Engineering of your structure is required, for example, adding a pergola
  • The cost is dependent on size, type of timber, type of roofing, etc. Elements of Home will itemise the quotes and advise you on timber choices, design and finishes.

I want to build a granny flat at the back of my property. What are the requirements?

The definition of a granny flat is:

  • a removable structure
  • that the occupant is a dependant on the person of the main house (or vice versa)

Contact us for more information and an obligation free assessment.

I want to give my house an extreme makeover. What do you suggest I do and how do I decide on colours and materials?

  • Elements of Home will meet with you to discuss and formulate a brief.
  • We will provide colour schedules and colour boards to make your decision easier.
  • We will collaborate with all the tradespeople required and give you an itemised quote for each part of the makeover, e.g. carpets, blinds, floors.

“Rob was fantastic to work with on redesigning a floorplan and applying for a permit and liasing with other trades people. He was very efficient and always quick to respond to correspondence. His ideas and skills were excellent and he was also very responsive to my feedback and ideas and honest and helpful about them. I would highly recommend him.” – Helen Ireland, Brighton




Caulfield South VIC 3162