Vying for their slice of the ‘Bread & Butter’ of Architecture…. How does an Architect compete with the First Homebuilder?
So how does an Architect vie for their cut of the First Home builder market, commonly referred to amongst Architects as the ‘Bread & Butter’ of Architecture? There is a misconception that architects will always be more expensive by default, with affordable projects better suited to a building designer (Build 2018). Contrary to the provision of most consumer products, there are few builders and developers that truly consider the way people occupy their homes. It appears the majority believe it all comes down to cost and their products are designed and promoted accordingly (Brown 2004). Nowadays there is much confusion for the client to differentiate between the services of an Architect and that of a builder. So, the question of who should be hired first, Architect or Builder, is a relevant question for any consumer who intends to build a home today. Historically, this question was never an issue, as an Architect and Builder were one and the same (McKay 2011). In modern times, the question is regularly pondered. …Architect or Builder… The Chicken or the Egg? (Marunde 2012).
The confusion continues for the consumer, as the difference between the two professions is somewhat a murky one. One definitive distinction that draws a line in the sand is to legally call yourself an Architect; you are required to be registered with a State-based architecture board. In most of states in Australia, there are no restrictions to operate as a building designer, no credentials or qualifications are required. However, their work must fully comply with building and planning regulations, though this does not guarantee a good design outcome (Build 2018).
Builders and developers are profit driven, concerned only for design if there is evidence of better results in faster sales, faster approvals, or higher prices. Their product is the house, rarely considering the neighbourhood, social or street context (Brown 2004). Here lies a conundrum for the future of our urban development. Architects are trained to aspire to the ethos of creating a socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable community (Brown 2004).
Builders dominance in the first homebuilders market segment appears to stem from marketing. Google regurgitates a prolific barrage of first home builders offering their wares. The AIA attempt to respond with campaigns known as ‘Ask an Architect’, targeting those interested in building (Johnson 2015
One advertisement is an image of a floret of broccoli and the words “You wouldn’t ask a butcher about broccoli, so when it comes to building and renovating, ask an architect”. Building Designers Association of Victoria (BDAV) took to the ACCC and called on the AIA to immediately end the ‘misleading’ campaign (Johnson 2015).
It seems the issue is misconceptions through the bombardment of advertising on one hand, and the lack of information on the other. Architects need to compete by informing the public of their services and how they may benefit the first homebuilder. Market their skill set to gain their share of the ‘bread and butter ‘market of first home builders, to accommodate the diversity of contemporary households, particularly those aspiring ownership but challenged by finance (Brown 2004).
Brown, David. 2004. “2004 Research Grant – The Impact of Household and Attitude Change on the Creation of Affordable and Sustainable Neighbourhoods.” NSW Architects Registration Board. Landcom and the NSW department of Housing NSW Architects Registration Board. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.architects.nsw.gov.au/download/ARB%202004%20Final%20Report.pdf.
Build. 2018. Build. Accessed April 18, 2018. http://www.build.com.au/whats-difference-between-architect-and-building-designer.
—. 2018. “What’s the difference between an architect and a building designer?” Build. Accessed April 20, 2018. www.build.com.au/whats-difference-between-architect-and-building-designer.
Johnson, Nathan. 2015. Architecture and Design – Building designers hit back at Architects campaign and head to the ACCC. May 19. Accessed April 19, 2018. ww.architectureanddesign.com.au/news/building-designers-hit-back-at-architects-campaign.
Marunde, Chuck E. 2012. Sequim Real Estate Blog. October 25. Accessed April 18, 2018. http://www.sequim-real-estate-blog.com/home_building/home-builders/who-should-i-hire-first-architect-or-builder/.
McKay, Graham. 2011. Where Architecture went wrong. April 23. Accessed March 22, 2018. https://misfitsarchitecture.com/2011/04/23/where-architecture-sent-wrong-2/.
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