Frequently Asked Questions

what is a Wish-List?

A wish-list is a way to work out what is important to you in your Dream Home.  That is to say, it helps you decide what you must have in your Dream Home.  Whether you plan to build a new home or renovate.


If you put aside your budget for your Dream Home this will let you think without restriction.  It doesn’t mean that your dream home will be expensive.  But it helps ensure that you end up with the home you want at the end of the day.


why have a Wish-List?

So, a good place to start your home project is to make your Dream Home wish-list.  Firstly, you can brainstorm what is important to you in your Dream Home.  Secondly, your wish-list allows you to drop the barrier of ‘I’d love to have that home, but how will I ever be able to afford it’?  And Thirdly, you can start to think ‘This is the Type of Home That I Want and How Can I Get It’.


Another good reason is that your wish-list allows you to focus on what is important to you in your Dream Home.  Above all else, you can now pay attention to these important features.  To clarify what you want.  Writing these down while you create your wish-list.  Once you have the big picture worked out for your Dream Home, you can then be very specific on what you want.


Furthermore, it will help you avoid making changes to your home during construction.  Because this is when costs can blow out in a home project.  Also, you don’t want to finish your home project and find that it is not quite what you wanted.  That what you wanted was a bigger kitchen, for example.

what is a Wish-List?

So your wish-list includes everyday aspects of your Dream Home.  The number of bedrooms, living areas and other rooms and spaces that you want.  Likewise, you can see how these rooms can be interconnected with each other.  Also, the flow of your home as you move from one room to another.


Above all, you want to include in your wish-list the way you want your home to look and feel. What type of aesthetics and design do you like?  You may want your living areas to open up onto a landscaped deck area.  It could be that you want particular kitchen appliances in your kitchen.  Or that the most important aspect of your Dream Home is to have garden views and other vistas from your home.


And finally, everyone’s idea of their Dream Home is different.  What is important to someone may not be that important to you in your Dream Home. So, if you can work this out at the start of your home project this will help you get the home that you dream about.


2. Contact your local Council


So why contact your local Council about your home project?  As it turns out it is a good idea to contact your local Council before you start your home project.  For the reason that your Council will have information on your home.  This information from the Council will help you in the planning of your home project.


First of all, your Council has document archives.  Moreover these Council archives hold dated Planning and Building Permit applications.  Your home may have had building work done on it before.   Your Council’s archives could store previous Town Planning or Building Permit documents.   So, you may be able to get a copy of the building plans for your home.  This is even more useful if you don’t already have plans for your home.  In addition, you can find out the legality of this building work.


information on your title

Your Title may have planning and building restrictions on it.  This is another good reason to contact your local Council.   Your Council’s Town Planner can tell you if your Title has any Overlays.  For example, you may have a Special Building Overlay on your Title if you are in a flood-prone area.   Or you may have a Heritage Overlay on your Title if your home is a Heritage Building.  These Overlays can restrict the building work allowed to your home.


Likewise, your Title will also show you if you have Overlays that you will have to consider in your home project.   Or Caveats or Property Covenants on your Title.


Your Council’s Town Planner can answer other questions about your Title and building restrictions.  Moreover they can tell you about your home’s Zoning Requirements.  In addition, they can tell you if you have an Easement on your property.


do you need a town planning permit?

Furthermore, the Town Planner can tell you if you need a Town Planning Permit for your home project.  So, if you need a Permit you can consider your Planning requirements at the beginning of your home project.  Which means you can avoid lengthy time delays and extra costs.


Finally, the Council’s Building Surveyors can tell you if you need a Building Permit.   So what happens if you don’t get your Permits in place?  Building work completed without an authorized Permit is illegal.  As a result, the Victorian Building Authority can apply a penalty that could cost you $75,500.


Council has the authority to make you demolish unauthorized building work.  After which, you can then apply for your necessary Permits.  Once you have approved Permits you are allowed to rebuild the approved building works.


Alternatively, Council can ask you to prove that the built work complies with the Building Regulations.  Even more expensive and difficult to prove after built.  Either way, it is best to avoid this situation and have your paperwork and Permits in order.


Contact your Council before you start your home project.  You can speak to the Town Planner and Building Surveyor.  And find out what permits you need for your home project.


3. Organize a Land Survey 


Part of the documents for a Building Permit Application is a Land Survey.  So, why not do the Land Survey at the start of your home project rather than at the end?  One good reason is that information from the Land Survey is useful.  It will help you in working out the suitability of your home project.


And did you realize that almost all fences are not built on the exact Title boundary?  Your fence could be a little way off your Title Boundary.  Or you could find out that it is a long way off.  Over time fences are rebuilt and relocated.  This is most important if you are building on your fence line.  You want to know exactly where your fences are in relation to your Title boundary.  One thing you don’t want to do is build on your neighbour’s land.


The land surveyor can take spot levels of your homesite so that you can see the slope of your land.  With this information, you could decide that your floor plan needs different levels.  With a sloping land, you may decide to step your floor plan.


What do I bring to the first meeting with an Architect?

So you plan to build your new home. Or you want to renovate your existing home. You should bring the following to your first meeting with your architect.

  • Your wish-list
  • Your budget
  • A copy of your Title
  • Any other information that you may have about your Homesite


what is bp architects’ Special offer?


It is important that you choose the right architect for your Home project.  Below are our promotional offers to help you decide.


Architectural Consultation


Speaking with a registered architect can help you move forward in your home project.  You can contact BP Architects and have a no-obligation 20-minute telephone consultation.  Find out if you should build a new home or renovate.  You may have particular questions about your home project that are stopping you.

In Sort, it is difficult to get impartial advice.  A qualified architect can provide you with the information you need.  Allowing you to proceed to the next stage of your Home project.

Email Bridget and book your consultation.   Include your contact details and some information about your home project.  We will contact you to arrange a time that suits you for your architectural consultation.


What questions should I ask an Architect?

So you plan to build your new home or renovate your existing home.  What questions should you ask an architect?  And how do you find the right architect for you?

  • What is the process you use to design your Client’s Dream Homes?
  • How do you incorporate you Clients’ feedback into the design?
  • Do you have Clients’ Testimonials?
  • What area of architectural design do you specialize in?

To learn about our step-by-step process in designing our Client’s homes go to our Design Process page.   Here you can learn more about the different steps in designing our Client’s Dream Homes.  When do you need Town Planning.  And what do you need to get a Building Permit.  What happens when you get the builder’s quote and it is too high?


For instance, find out what these people have to say about their Dream Homes on our Client Testimonials page.


Should I sell and build a new home?  or should I renovate my existing home?


Build a new home or renovate?  This is an important question to ask before you move forward in your home project.  Renovating can be more expensive than building a new home.  There are a lot of unknowns.  These unknowns may only become clear when the Builder starts to demolish your home.


This could lead to variations in the work required by the builder.  The builder might claim extra costs for this work.  This could blow out your building budget.


How you feel about your local community and the location of your home is important.  It makes a house feel like home.  If your existing house feels like home, this might be the right reason why you stay.  The right reason for you.  Consequently, rather than build a new home you decide to renovate.


You may be able to have your house removed from your home site.  And get paid for your house at the same time.  This will save you on demolition costs and provide you with some extra money that can go towards your new home.  To find out the best way to manage your home project email us.  We would be happy to discuss what is possible in your home project.



How do I choose the right architect for my dream home?


You want to be sure that you have chosen the right architect for your home project.  It is important that your architect understands what you want in your future home.  And that their skills and design abilities will enhance your home.


Your architect adds great value to your future home.  It is our technical and design skills that allow us to design our Client’s Dream Home.  Our expertise in architectural residential design and sustainable design transforms our Client’s homes.



how do I know that I have my dream home?


The way we design our Client’s Dream Homes is a step-by-step process.  From Concept design to the final documentation of your new home.  You want to make the right design decisions at each step of the way.


Want to know about our design process?  Learn how we collaborated with our Client’s Colin and Julie.  You can find their Dream Home journey at Architectural design process.  Here you can read a real-life example of designing a family home in Cheltenham.  Which explains our step-by-step approach to designing our Clients’ Dream Homes.



How long does it take to get a Town Planning Permit?


The Town Planning Permit process can be complex and complicated.  And sometimes it is difficult to get approval for the work you want to be done on your home.  You want comprehensive reports and documents for your Permit applications.  This way you are more likely to succeed with your application.


Involving your Town Planner early on can get you over some Town Planning hurdles. You want the right team on your Dream Home project so that you get the best results.


Councils have a VicSmart Town Planning permit process.  You can get a permit in 10 days if your building works fall under the following categories:

• minor subdivision
• minor and simple buildings and works
• tree removal and lopping


If your project does not qualify for the VicSmart process, there is also a Fast Track service. Using the Fast Track Service, you can get your Permit Approval faster than usual.  If you qualify.


Then there is the traditional route if you don’t qualify for either service.  This way it can take 6 months for Your Town Planning Permit.  Keep in mind, any changes will mean longer delays in the approval process.



What do BP Architects’ Clients say about their dream homes?


It is important to us that our Clients are happy with their Dream Homes.  You can read what they have to say on our Client’s Testimonials Page.


The homes we design are designed to suit our Client’s lifestyles.  It lets them live the way they want to live.  Spending more quality time with their family and friends.  The important things in life.


We design unique and original homes which are as unique and original as our Clients.  Read more about our Client’s Dream Homes on BP Architects’ Client Testimonials Page.



What makes BP Architects’ fees competitive?


With specialized skills and technical knowledge, we provide a professional architectural design service.  The energy efficiency of our Client’s homes proves to be cost effective over the life of their homes.


You will save money in energy bills over the lifetime of your home.  With reduced running costs and a comfortable home to live in.


We provide you with the services that benefit you most of all.  So that you too can have your Dream Home.


How do bp architects fees work?


The fees that we charge for our services are both fixed fees and hourly fees.


An initial architectural consultation is available for homeowners.  Called ‘Your Home Design Options Review’ we visit you in your home.  Specific advice is provided for your home project.  After ‘Your Home Design Options Review’ you will have a clear idea of how best to proceed with your home project.  A fixed fee applies to this consultation service.


We design homes so that you can live the lifestyle you want.  An hourly fee applies for Concept and Sketch design architectural services.


You may or may not need a Town Planning Permit.  If you need a Town Planning Permit we can prepare the necessary drawings and reports.  A fixed Fee applies for this work.


A Building Permit Application requires a House Energy Star Rating Report.   You need at least 6 Energy Stars.  We can prepare your House Energy Report at a fixed Fee.  Contact Us to find out about your House Energy Report.


We can act as your representative when the builder is constructing your home.  This is part of our Project Administration architectural services.  An hourly fee applies.


Learn more about our architectural services at BP Architects Services.


What type of homes does BP Architects design?


The types of homes we design are Healthy and Sustainable Homes.  if you decide to build a new home or to renovate.  Our expertise lies in the field of residential architectural design.  With technical skills and knowledge in energy-efficient and low chemical homes.  Which we apply to the design of our Client’s environmentally friendly homes.


The way that your home looks and feels is important.  This is what we call the design aesthetic of your home.  This can affect the way you feel as well as have an impact on your health.  We design beautiful homes that our Clients’ love.   Which lets our Client’s live the lifestyle they desire.


In conclusion, the homes we design are contemporary and innovative sustainable Homes.  Whether our Clients plan to build a new home or renovate.  Each home is designed to have a small ecological footprint.


Why would I choose BP Architects to design my Dream Home?


Our Clients enjoy living in the homes that we design for them.  Whether they are building a new home or renovating.  Above all they have the benefits of a beautiful home with low energy bills.  Their homes are comfortable to live in and they know they live in a healthy home.


We work in liaison with our Clients to design their home and to fine-tune their Home design.  For this reason, our Clients know that they end up with Home that they want.


BP Architects design energy-efficient sustainable and healthy eco homes for our Clients. Established in 2000, you can see our house designs on BP Architects Projects Page.


Bridget Puszka is the principal design architect at BP Architects.  Bridget has the following Qualifications:

  • Registered Architect, Victoria
  • Certified Passive House Designer / Consultant
  • Masters of Science: Advanced Environmental and Energy Studies, University of East London, UK
  • Bachelor Architecture, Melbourne University
  • Accredited FirstRate House Energy Rater
  • Certificate IV NatHers
  • Green Plumbing Training


Click on the image to see BP Architects’ Awards.

BP Architects Awards
BP Architects Awards


Have a question about your Home Project?  Send your questions to Bridget at BP Architects.


Do I want an architect or a draftsperson/building designer for my home project?


Read about this in my blog post ‘Do I want an Architect or a draftsperson/building designer for my home project?‘  You can learn more about the services provided by an architect.  And the difference between an architect, draftsperson and building designer.  


Learn more about what it takes to be a Registered Architect.  And the qualifications of an Architect and that of a draftsperson/building designer.