When a client first comes to me with completed plans (and sometimes even engineering), I know that, generally, those plans are going to go over their budget, often by a significant amount of money. There are many reasons for this. The main one is that draftsmen are great at their job but are usually not aware of the real and current cost of building, and/or the most cost-effective way to construct something and still get a great result.

The way the system currently works is that the draftsman is contracted to draw up what the client requests with very little discussion about the cost of the project. The owners rely instead on asking three builders to quote on the completed plans to obtain the lowest price possible.

This is an expensive way to find out that your project is out of your budget reach (drafting services alone for a mid-sized extension are averaging between $6k to $14k at the moment), It’s a problem that all builders are aware of, and some deal with this by providing an upfront price that they know fits the clients budget, fully aware that they will need to hit the client with variations throughout the job to get it to the ‘real’ price. This is obviously completely unethical and not how we like to do things at all.

After many years of running Bundaberg Renovations & Additions, I listened to a podcast from Amelia at Undercover Architect on the Paid as a Consultant (PAC) process. I realised instantly that this was the solution to this big problem that I previously couldn’t resolve.

In a nutshell, the PAC process that Amelia proposes means that the builder consults as part of the design process to avoid the very common problems of (un)designability and budget blow-outs. The idea being, get a builder in early to consult and avoid designing (and paying for) projects that won’t ever be built. It provides an opportunity for the design team and the construction team to work together to provide the best possible design, best bang for the customer’s buck, and to avoid the notorious wastefulness within the building industry.

We have been using this process for the last two years with great success and have collaborated with our clients to produce renovations and homes that reflect our customers and their budgets.

If you would like to hear more about the PAC process and the process we went through to become PAC trained, have a listen to Amelia’s podcast here: https://omny.fm/shows/get-it-right-with-undercover-architect/pac-process-the-client