You want a what? You’re kidding?


It doesn’t happen very often but it happens often enough. Each time it does happen I find it astounding! I’m talking about the decision to go with a drafting service instead of an architect.

My most recent experience was from a phone enquiry regarding a house in an established Melbourne suburb.

They had recently spent ‘over $2.5million’ on purchasing a superb red brick Federation unrenovated house on a large north facing site.

blog image

They were proposing to spend a reasonably large sum on a two storey extension and renovation. After chatting with them at length and reviewing the brief and site, I submitted a fee proposal consistent with similar projects I had completed successfully.

A few weeks passed and then it happened! “We have decided to go with a drafting service. Thank you very much your time.”


Economically it doesn’t worry me – I have a ton of work. No it was the principle of the matter that got me thinking, again. What an incredibly strange part of the project to skimp on.

Fundamental design decisions made during the early design stage are critical to the overall success of the project – and you want to leave that to somebody who has a drafting certificate from a two-year TAFE course?

Feels a bit like letting your 15-year-old drive you to work! There’s probably a reasonable chance you’ll get there – but at what risk?


In this case I had explained that the town planning process is incredibly complex and detailed. It seems every year there are additional submission requirements. Architects have the knowledge, experience (and in my case the advanced software) to guide safe travel through this minefield. Delays during this stage are many months without the right Sherpa…

And what about documentation?…on a new house you’d be lucky to get a couple of A1 drawings from ‘them’ – we typically produce 12-15! You can see why builders claim so much extra money for items that are not drawn or specified by the draftsperson.

And as there are no contracts that have a draughtsperson as an administrator you are really left to argue with the builder directly or suck it up (and pay up)!


Don’t expect a thorough exploration of how well your proposed building will perform in the hot summers and cold winters…as long as they get you a permit then your ‘bill shock’ after moving in are not their issue.

There are people who do survive the process ‘rolling the draughtsman’s dice’; BUT if they sell their house they wonder why potential purchasers are not inspired to pay extra…hmmm – if YOU don’t value design then hope and pray that when you want ‘Other People’s Money’ – they won’t either!