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How much does a set of plans for alterations cost?

This is the million-dollar question. Costings vary depending on the size and complexity of the project. We charge $160 + GST for consultations and hourly rate work. A small alteration project requiring a building consent i.e. a bathroom alteration, may cost as little as $3000.00 for completion of all the phases or up to $20,000 for an extensive extension project. To obtain a building consent for an alteration can sometimes require more detail than a plan for a simple house.

How much does a set of plans for a new house cost?

The costs of plans for new houses also vary. A straightforward house may cost as little as $15,000.00, however a complex, architecturally designed, hill project can cost $35,000.00 - $50,000.00. We are happy to provide a fee letter based on our design process for review.

I’ve built before - why does it cost so much now?

Compliance costs have steadily increased over the last 10 years. You can no longer build from 5 pages of plans and a small specification. Now it wouldn’t be uncommon to have more than 40 drawings, a big specification and detailed supporting documentation. In addition, the LBP programme requires participants to carry out on-going professional training and this often costs money.

Can I apply for my own building consent?

Maybe? But it might not be practical. If your project includes restricted building work you will need a registered building practitioner (LBP). For a list of restricted building work and what it means go to the government website This website includes a section for homeowners. The compulsory forms required to gain building consent are extremely complicated and tend to assume prior experience and knowledge of the building industry.

How do I know it’s worth altering my house?

Sometimes alterations are simply not worth it. We often do concept plans for alterations, which lead the owner to realize that the same money could be spent on a less stressful upgrade by moving home. Renovations can be worthwhile in desirable suburbs where decent housing is limited or suburbs zoned for popular schools. Sometimes people simply love their homes and don’t want to leave. It is not worth it you intend shifting home in the new few years as it would be difficult to financially gain on your investment.

How long will it take?

Again that varies depending on the project. We tell people to allow six months for the design process and building consent. Like it says in the Mainland cheese advertisement, ‘Good things take time’. The design phase is critical to a successful project. Take the time to think and reflect, particularly if you have never embarked on a building project before.

What is an LBP?

An LBP is a licensed building practitioner. This stems from the government’s response to the leaky house crisis. This scheme ensures that only competent people can practice in their field of expertise. To maintain my membership my work practices are reviewed and it is compulsory for me to continue professional development. For more info on the scheme visit the website

Why use an LBP?

You may not have a choice. If your project includes restricted building work you will need a registered building practitioner (LBP). For a list of restricted building work and what it means, go to the government website There is a section to inform homeowners.

Do you design houses on TC3 land?

Yes! There are viable build solutions for TC3. It’s unfortunate the government chose to label land in the way they have as the land is unchanged; it is merely labeled differently. If land is in the green zone it can be built on and deserves to be restored to its former glory.

Is there a charge for an initial consultation?

This is dependent on if we have to travel to your home. Our hourly rate applies if we come out to your house. If you make an appointment and come into the office there is no charge.

Why use a designer instead of a housing company?

Housing companies build warm dry houses that are perfectly adequate. They can also provide price certainty. However if you have a builder that you want to use, or if you have your own ideas about the home you want to create, use a designer. We can help you come up with your unique home. We are also able to introduce you to builders appropriate for your project. Using a designer is an investment of your time, but the rewards are worth it.

What is ADNZ?

ADNZ stands for Architectural Designers New Zealand. ADNZ is a community of professionals who share a passion for design and connecting people with architecture. Choosing an ADNZ registered designer ensures you are using a competent professional with approved sound practice and is continually reviewing their professional practice.