Costing - The Works

MWA as your architect advises you as to the likely cost of the project & estimating the $ impact of any design decision, choice of alternative fixture or finish.

We brief, instruct, co-ordinate & liaise with builders (or a cost consultants) throughout the project in order to keep you as fully informed of the project cost as the work proceeds in order to assist you to control the project budget and minimize variations.

Costing of the works is not part of our role, we are not cost consultants (or quantity surveyors) & do not have the same access to the changes in building costs.

As architects we recommend that all clients employ an independent cost consultant to keep as fully informed of the likely cost of the project as possible.

At the end of the day the actual cost of any building project is inclusive of all preliminaries, clean up costs, fees, charges, gst & builders margin etc. & experience shows repeatedly that it should not be considered otherwise.


MWA introduces you to, briefs, obtains fee proposals (for your approval) manages & co-ordinates the work of all specialist building consultants who are necessary to complete the project.

Consultant services that are typically required on projects to a varying extent -

  1. Project managers
  2. Structural & Hydraulic engineers, 
  3. Electrical & Mechanical engineers, 
  4. Landscape architects, 
  5. Interior designers, 
  6. Lighting designers, 
  7. Soils investigation engineers, 
  8. Surveyors, 
  9. Independent building certifiers, 
  10. Cost consultants 
  11. Energy efficiency assessors.

Works program

The project time frame will vary depending on the size & complexity of the project plus your availability for communication regarding design decisions throughout the work.

The MWA team will tailor a work program that suits your project, budget & requirements.

The authorities approvals process & the weather are two variables that MWA has no control over.

Design process

The design process integrates all aspects the design brief while investigating cost effective design, structural alternatives, design detailing & material substitutions resulting in a fully integrated and complete project.

The process outlined is a guide only & clarifies all the elements considered in the full service. The items do not necessarily occur under the stage (or in the order) indicated but do occur in the service before the completion of the project.


  1. Concept Design 
    1. Develop the brief, 
    2. Evaluate design alternatives, 
    3. Prepare and present preliminary design
    4. Obtain local authority detail (services, setbacks, planning etc.)
    5. Obtain survey and brief cost consultant
    6. Brief Engineer for soils investigation report
    7. Develop and present the concept design
    8. Prepare preliminary finishes schedules
    9. Preliminary interiors selections 
    10. Obtain preliminary cost estimate & determine the budget

  2. Design development 
    1. Evaluate the design & adjust for costing
    2. Brief interior designers, landscape architect, lighting designer etc.
    3. Develop the design (Plans, elevations, sections etc.)
    4. Brief structural & hydraulic engineers
    5. Prepare preliminary design development detailing (structural concept, 
    6. reflected ceiling plans, electrical & lighting layouts, cabinetry details)
    7. Evaluate cost savings against quality & the design concept
    8. Re-evaluate the cost estimate & adjust design accordingly 
    9. Confirm the budget

  3. Preliminary 1:100 documentation
    1. Prepare preliminary drawing layouts (Plans, elevations, sections etc.)
    2. Prepare base schedules (finishes, sanitaryware, tapware, doors etc)
    3. Prepare master specification of workmanship & materials,
    4. Liase with and co-ordinate consultant design and documentation
    5. Re-evaluate the cost estimate & confirm budget

  4. Authority approvals
    1. Prepare & make all submissions for all building development approvals
    2. Attend on authorities to get development & building approval 

  5. Construction documentation 
    1. Documentation for contract,
    2. Finalize schedules (finishes, sanitaryware, tapware, accessories, etc)
    3. Finalize specification of workmanship and materials,
    4. Finalize all details (construction, joinery, stairs, balustrades etc)
    5. Liaise with, co-ordinate & check consultant documentation
    6. Re-evaluate the cost estimate & confirm budget

  6. Pricing the works 
    1. Negotiations with builders
    2. Evaluation of materials alternatives and possible cost savings
    3. Amend the design & documentation to achieve the contract price
    4. Evaluate contract price with cost consultant.
    5. Preparation & presentation of contract documents for signing 

  7. Construction 
    1. Periodic site inspections to maintain design integrity
    2. Attendance on the builder & client 
    3. Negotiations with authorities 
    4. Project payment certification 
    5. Negotiations for and evaluation of possible project savings
    6. Co-ordinate consultant detailing

  8. Defects period 
    1. Final site inspections to provide final certificate of completion
    2. Attendance on the builder 
    3. Attendance on authorities for final approval 
    4. Final payment certification


Design strategy

There are two alternative design strategies that decide the design/documentation process that you (the client) need to make a clear decision on before commencing the design process.

  1. Design and document what you want and then have it priced!
  2. Adopt a budget $ figure then assume a $/sq.m. rate & work backwards to determine the size.


We rely on clear, regular & open architect/client communication for a successful cost effective project using email for speed & a written record.

Being fully informed & aware of the processes happening thru the design & building stage results in a cost effective & successful project.

Not included in our fee for service

The cost of the following are all presented for approval beforehand & invoiced at cost.

  1. Authority compulsory levies, search & application fees,
  2. Consultant services,
  3. Translation & legal services,
  4. Extended contractual, legal & authority negotiations 
  5. Models, 
  6. Presentation perspectives, 
  7. 3D Computer modeling, 
  8. Photography, 
  9. Printing costs & drawing copies, 
  10. Travel costs, 
  11. Air bags & couriers, 
  12. General disbursements etc.

Alterations to completed documents

Amendments & changes to completed drawings shall be charged at an hourly rate as quoted in the service agreement.

To commence the MWA service we require

Copies of the certificate of title (or current rates notice) proving ownership.
Copies of any site detail, authority search, site survey, plans, site address & RPD.
Agreement to & signature of the MWA architectural service agreement.
Agreement to the service outline.
Receipt of the booking fee.
A letter of authority from the registered owner.