Our Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does it Cost?

Architectural fees are calculated as a percentage of the building contract price. To provide a fee proposal, we need to know some details about the site, the type of build, proposed budget and design aspirations. The fee percentage varies from 5-8% on a sliding scale based on the size and type of project, the site conditions and level of performance/ specification targeted of your project and which services are provided. We can tailor a design and specifications using our Base, Better or Best standards to suit your preferences and desired budget. Spending a little more on quality and performance will provide much better longevity, superior comfort, health and wellbeing as well as significantly lower running costs and ongoing maintenance.  These factors including build costs and overall project costs are best discussed in person.

How Long Does it Take?

This is specific and dependent on the nature of your project. The Design Concept stage is commonly around 1-2 months. Often the building consent process and external consultants work influences the overall project timeframe. Our role is to be proactive in coordinating these external inputs so they are expedited in the most timely way. Quality clear drawings and documents will help speed building consent. Tendering/pricing can be carried out in parallel to the processing of the building consent to save time. The size and type of project will influence the length of the construction phase. A simple modest size home on a flat site could be 6 months while a more substantial home on a hill site may be 9-12 months. We commonly design using prefabrication and panel systems which saves a significant amount of time on site. Once we have some details about your project we can advise accurately on the overall specific timeframes.

How Do I Write a Brief?

A thoughtful, well considered design brief will greatly assist the success of your final project. Together, we can help you create a design brief by asking the right questions to help understanding your aims, budget, design style, and the desired Superhome standards you want to achieve. We will also want to inquire about the reasons for your building project, the intended activities, and your expectations so we can consider both design aesthetics and functionality. Showing us photos of your favourite existing projects can also be useful to communicate your tastes and preferences, likes or dislikes. Timings and budgets will be established early on, and ideas will be further developed and be documented after you approve initial concepts.

Can You Design a Home Anywhere in New Zealand?

Yes, we are currently engaged in projects nationwide and have designed projects as far north as Whangarei or as far south as Manapouri. We usually only need to visit the site once at the beginning of the project, after which we can coordinate with site surveyors and geotech engineers etc. to get the site information we need.

Can You Design a Home on a Hill Site? 

Yes, we specialise in hill site homes and high performance Superhomes, with many completed designs on the Port Hills, Banks Peninsula and all around Aotearoa. A hill site project is more complex and requires both a designer and a builder with experience in hill site projects.

Do We Need Our Own Builder or Do You Recommend One?

We can assist our clients to vet prospective builders and advise on the best selection and also help with getting the right building contract in place. Involving the builder early on in the design process is highly recommended as it can help to develop a design with optimal buildability and cost effectiveness. This can circumvent possible problems during the build and ensure everyone is on the same page.

Do You Design to Passive House Standards or Other Certifications?

We have experience in designing projects to achieve a variety of certifications including Passive House standards or even exceeding them. In 2015, we designed and built two homes that were Australasia's first-ever 10-Star and Homestar rated homes. Following the completion of the Living Building Challenge training, we apply the core imperatives of LBC, going beyond merely just being sustainable, and instead achieving positive impact through regenerative design and development. Not just reducing negative impact (our Foot Print) but also adding positive influence (our Hand Print) through exemplar buildings which are both healthy and climate-positive.

Furthermore, your home can be Quakestar rated for peace of mind that it will perform well in earthquakes and extreme weather events. Every home designed by Bob Burnett Architecture is Superhome Certified to Base, Better or Best standards depending on the your budget and needs. This ensures your home is guaranteed to be warm, dry and healthy. Your home is a superior future proofed investment, climate-positive and with extraordinarily low ongoing running costs.

What Does Bob Burnett Architecture Do Differently?

We are passionate about designing super-sustainable, energy-efficient homes that are healthy for people and the planet, far exceeding subpar code minimum standards. Over the years, we have developed a valuable library of superior design details and building techniques to ensure high-quality design performance in our client’s homes. We focus on understanding our clients needs and wishes and creating a home that exceeds expectations for functionality, form, and performance with aesthetical flair.

Has Bob Burnett Architecture Won Any Awards?

Yes, Bob Burnett Architecture has garnered over 30 ADNZ Architectural Design Awards and many others. Bob received the national Sustainability Superstar award from SBN (Sustainable Business Network) in recognition of work done by Bob Burnett Architecture. Bob has also had roles in creating the Superhome Movement Charitable Trust and co-foundering Quakestar, a rating for a building's resilience to Earthquakes.

Are You Architects or Designers?

We are both. Bob Burnett is an experienced architectural designer and has been a professional member of ADNZ (Architectural Designers NZ) for over 20 years with over 30 years industry experience. Shizuka Yasui is a Level 1 registered architect from Japan - a top level held by only 10% of Japanese registered architects. Shizuka has over two decades of experience in New Zealand following five years in Japan.

Bob Burnett Architecture 2024