The following list of topics is designed to prompt thought about various aspects of your project.  They won’t necessarily all apply and there could well be important items that are not mentioned.  It is simply a good starting point for discussion.



What type of home do you envisage & what are your overall aims?

  • Project purpose, likely number of occupants, family size, likely period of ownership, how you live & entertain, hobbies, pets, work from home options, flexibility of use.



What do you consider are the important features of your site and surroundings?

  • Landscape, topography, plot size, views and outlook, orientation for sun, prevailing winds, site planning and outdoor living spaces, planting and landscaping, vehicle access, neighbouring properties, design covenants & restrictions, relevant history.



What are your spatial & planning requirements?

  • Approximate size, type and number of spaces required and their relationship to one another, garaging and storage, special purpose rooms, e.g. gym, home theatre, wine cellar, swimming pool etc.


Building Appearance: 

Do you have particular preferences as to how the building will look?

  • Building location & context, 3D forms, personal likes / dislikes, specific material choices, colour, relevant examples. You may prefer to create a file of Pinterest images and provide access for Houston Architects to view.


Energy Use & Sustainability: 

Do you have specific ideas or requirements around energy use and sustainability?

  • Space heating, hot water heating, passive solar design, insulation, thermal mass, on site water storage, sustainable material choices, low flow plumbing fittings.


Are there any specific detail requirements that we should be aware of?

  • Living Areas: Built in joinery, shelving, seating requirements, musical instruments, e.g. piano.
  • Kitchen: Appliances (number & size), storage expectations, layout preferences.
  • Bathrooms: Shower sizes, bath type, bidet, separate or combined facilities, bathroom storage etc.
  • Bedrooms: Wardrobes & storage, homework design, acoustic insulation.
  • Technical: Home theatre & audio, computer networking, security, home automation.
  • Access: Level thresholds, ramp, domestic lift or dumbwaiter, specific door hardware / locking requirements.



What is the project budget?

  • What is included and/or excluded from the build cost budget, e.g. appliances, furnishings, furniture, landscaping, siteworks, fees, GST etc.



Do you have a specific programme in mind for the project?

  • Are there any critical timeframe requirements or deadlines to be met?


Architectural Services: 

What level of service do you require from your architect?

  • Core Services are the recommended minimum service. They comprise design & contract documentation, procurement and construction phase contract administration and observation of the building works.  This approach ensures the homeowner benefits from proper professional advice throughout the entire process from design commencement to building occupancy and beyond.
  • Partial services comprising only design and contract documentation will leave the homeowner responsible for a significant number of decisions to make beyond the completion of drawings. Exposure to greater levels of risk is likely and a substantially higher time input will be required.  Complex technical and contractural decision making becomes the homeowners responsibility and consequently we do not usually recommend this approach.
  • Additional & supplementary services (over and above core services) are also available to suit project specifics.



The following services will be arranged on your behalf, if and when required.  We will usually suggest names of appropriate consultants with whom we have a good working relationship, however you are welcome to use other consultants if you wish. 

Fees for separate consultants are not part of the architects fees.  Usually the homeowner will engage and pay for consultant services directly, with the architect being responsible for coordinating and liaising with consultants as necessary.



Copy of LIM, certificate of title and / or deposited plan of property is to be supplied by the owner.  We are able to obtain these documents on your behalf if required.


Soil Test / Geotechnical Survey:

Soil tests will be required for most properties to determine soil type and bearing capacity.  Slope stability and/or geotechnical analysis may need to be undertaken for hill properties to help determine suitable locations for building and assess potential for rock fall or other hazards that may require mitigating before construction can commence.


Site Survey:

A full site survey is required from a registered surveyor prior to commencing design work.  The plan should indicate legal boundaries, easements & rights of way, contours at 1.0m intervals minimum for sloping sites or spot levels on flat sites, location of existing services, site features, vegetation etc.


Other Separate Consultants:

As the design work progresses, there will be input required from other separate consultants.  This may include a quantity surveyor for cost information (recommended at the completion of the design stage), structural engineer, landscape architect for site planning and landscaping, interior designer for colours, fabrics & furnishings etc. 

Specialist input may also be required for aspects such as home automation & home theatre systems, swimming pool and/or spa specialists, central heating & ventilation etc.



Registered Architect   B.Arch. A.N.Z.I.A.   N.Z.C.D.(Arch)