Design + Build – could this be the architect’s new best friend?

Well, it may not be everyone’s idea of a new best friend but it appears it could be one of mine…

A mutual friend introduced me and Heath Whiteside of Whiteside Homes last year.  Heath was keen to work with an architect so he could provide a full design and construct service to his clients.

It immediately sounded like something I would be interested in  – in fact I couldn’t see any ‘cons’ with the model.


  • With the builder, architect and client on the same team from the start, the stress around many unknowns – in particular budget blow outs – should be minimised.  From the minute we go out on site together, Heath and I are talking about design ideas and the best / easiest / cheapest / most efficient / etc ways to achieve it.
  • I can do what I am good at, enjoy the most and what I have time for  – meeting, forming and maintaining relationships with clients; designing; selecting + specifying finishes, materials, fixtures.  I just don’t have time or the head space at the moment to sit and document for hundreds of hours / project nor do I have to when working so closely with the builder from the outset.
  • The design + build model has the potential to  more ‘normal’ people with an architectural service.  Many architects turn down projects with lower budgets usually because they run at a loss in a traditional practice.  Conversely, many ‘normal’ people don’t approach architects because they fear the cost / process.  By working with the builder and consulting on the documentation rather than slogging it out myself (see point 2) my fees can actually cover the amount of work done at the lower budget end so everyone is happy!
  • My role can change, expand or shrink as my life allows.
  • If there is too much work for me to do I can call on the many architects / graduates I know who do not work 9-5 (or 8-10 or whatever ‘full time’ hours are expected of them) or want to and see if this is something they may be interested in.


On Friday Heath asked whether 12 design + build projects would be achievable this year.  Coming from a small practice 12 new jobs seemed like a lot and I wasn’t sure where the clients were coming from…

Then this tweet from @WhitesideHomes

MUST READ… To kickstart the launch of our new service Whiteside design + build, we are giving $500 CASH to the…

Well, that’s one way to get the word out!

You can check out Whiteside homes at, on twitter @WhitesideHomes or on FaceBook


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