Designing our own home has always been a dream for my wife and I. Having studied Architecture for 5 years, I thought designing my own home would be a breeze. Oh how I was wrong. I had to learn to manage things such as budget, builder and a wonderful client… my wife, Katelyn. We spent many early mornings and late evenings redesigning rooms and bathrooms in our plans, until we finally finished the design of our home. I’ve also had to learn phrases like, ‘Yes, Dear’ and ‘You are right, again’. Although we had different opinions about our future family home, we both knew we wanted to live at Narangba Heights.

Building our Dream

We were excited to begin construction and see our plans unfold; but Katelyn and I quickly learnt that not everything goes to plan. Building our own home wasn’t always smooth sailing and we quickly learned the importance of communication, not only with each other but also with the builder. This has given me a greater appreciation for communication with clients, consultants and work colleagues.

All in the detail

We also learned that our attention to detail was vitally important. Katelyn and I were onsite almost every second day, taking pictures of every stud and noggin. We learned the significance of the word, ‘variation’. Although I use this word a lot during work, I didn’t fully understand the repercussions of making changes. It made Katelyn and I think more before making changes, as it would affect us financially if we made too many. Variations didn’t always come from us. The Builder would often issue variations as construction carried on. It made me look into our contract agreement and plans to understand the scope of services involved in our build. Sometimes the specifications and the contract plans would differ, which would void the variation from the builder completely. We learned how important it was for specifications to match the contract plans. Luckily for us, this worked in our favour, but it made me realise how vigilant I need to be as an architect when writing specifications alongside contract plans.

The experience of building our house has been particularly significant in strengthening my vocation and preparing to register as an Architect. During the process of building, I have been studying for my registration. Most of the 15 Modules found in the PAL program intersected with the build of our house. From consultants to fees and contracts, I was putting into practice what I was studying most mornings in the commute to work and I have gained a greater understanding for the built environment and all the people who help put it all together.

The process of designing our own home and registering as an architect hasn’t been a solo effort. I have POWE as a whole to thank. Everyone has been supportive from providing advice to answering my questions. In particular, my mentor and friend Mark Thompson who would take time out of his day for site inspections, to show me the tricks of the architectural profession, discuss registration while travelling on the train and is always patient with me when asking questions at work. It is great having such a supportive workplace and colleagues.

It’s been a pretty hectic time, through building a house to preparing for registration. Even though the road to registration still seems a stretch, I feel confident with the knowledge from building my own home, along with the great experience and projects at POWE Architects, that I will be able successfully register in the near future.