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Everything You Should Consider When Looking For a Residential Architect in Sydney

Updated: Oct 30, 2023

When searching for a reliable residential architect in Sydney, there are several important factors to consider. From experience and qualifications, to design style and budget, this blog will help you break down the process to make sure you’re working with an experienced professional who can bring your dream home to life. We’ll talk about how to identify your style, the importance of a good rapport with your architect, and how to make sure you get the most for your project requirements and desires. Keep reading for everything you should consider when looking for a residential architect in Sydney!

You should look to consider:

- The architects' experience

- The architect's interests and design history

- The architect's project methodology

- Your project requirements (time targets, budget and quality)

- The architect's past clients; experiences, rapport and references

- The architect's attention to detail

- The experience of the people who will actively be working on the project (director, graduates, students?)

- The architect's acknowledgement of sustainable requirements


When it comes to finding the right residential architect in Sydney, experience and credentials are key. It's important to take some time to look at their portfolio of work, as this will give you an indication of their style, but also how they approach a project. Ask for references from previous customers or employers - this is a great way to get feedback on how well they communicate with clients and if they meet deadlines and expectations. Additionally, check that your potential architect has the proper qualifications (registered architect!) and ask if they hold memberships with any industry bodies or groups such as the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) and Australian Passive House Association. With all these factors taken into consideration, you can be sure that you’ll find the perfect residential architect for your project.

Architectural Interests and Design

With so many facets of architecture, what does your architect actually want to work on? What's their ideal projects? Commercial? Heritage? Sustainable Houses? Multi-residential developments? Finding a residential architect in Sydney who is enthused and excited by the challenge of developing and working through design options and outcomes will push the boundaries of what's possible more-so than someone doing a project for a fee. As mentioned in the earlier paragraph experience within these interests should hold a significant weight when considering your architect options. Shore Architects continue to push and test the design possibilities on each and every project until the optimum outcome of architectural quality (related to budget!!) is uncovered. All the images within this blog are project images from Shore Architects.

Project Methodology

How is your architectural project created? Architecture is a complex field that can be created via a wide array of media and methodologies from pencil sketches to photo-realistic VR walkthroughs and simulations. We utilise the use of sophisticated technology and methodologies to ensure accuracy, efficiency, and precision. CAD (Computer-Aided Design) technology has been revolutionizing the architectural industry by providing architects with an array of tools to design, analyze, visualize and communicate their designs in a timely manner. From 2D drawings to 3D models, CAD technology enables architects to create detailed plans for construction projects quickly and accurately. This blog post will discuss how modern architecture practices utilize CAD technologies as well as some of its benefits. Ask how your residential architect in Sydney typically creates projects. Are they hand drawn? Are the designs sketched and approval drawings completed by external drafting companies? Everything we do is in-house and highly detailed with detailed 3D modelling. This creates the highest level of communication between architect as client because typical plans and elevations can look completely different to each set of eyes regarding atmosphere, light, scale and amenity. Walking through a 3D model filled with textures and scale figures will be the most direct communication path between the proposed project and what it actually feels like to walk through the space.

Your Requirements - Budget, Quality and Time

When it comes to budget, cost and time requirements for a residential project in Sydney, communication is key. The client should have a clear understanding of their budget and convey it to the architect. The architect, in turn, should provide a breakdown of costs and fees and anticipated timeframes amongst their current project pipeline. This includes not only design fees, but also costs such as permits, construction documents, and project management. Additionally, the client should communicate their preferred timeline for the project, including any specific deadlines. The architect can then provide a realistic timeline for the project, taking into account potential delays and unforeseen circumstances. It is important to consider what we call 'thinking time'. You will want the opportunity to sit down and take time to consider the designs presented to you and critically assess how they impact how you wish to use the spaces both now and in the future. Don't unnecessarily rush the process to meet a deadline if it's not hyper-critical. The quality component is often a direct derivative of budget. By having open and transparent communication about budget, cost, and time requirements from the outset, the client and architect can work together to ensure a successful project outcome that meets expectations.

Past Clients' Experiences - Communication and Rapport

Good communication and a good rapport with clients are essential in any profession, especially in architecture. The client must communicate their requirements and expectations to the architect, and the architect must be able to explain the different aspects of the design process in a way that the client can understand. Moreover, the architect should be approachable, responsive and keep the client updated on the project's progress frequently. Each project we currently undertake is viewed on creating a great result for that client but also seeking to generate future projects by ongoing and great word of mouth.

Attention to Detail

Attention to detail is another vital trait to look for when looking for a residential architect in Sydney. The difference between 'development' and 'architecture' is the relationship of materiality, form, light and atmosphere. The right architect should be thorough, meticulous, and pay close attention to every aspect of the project, from design to construction. They should make sure that the project meets all the relevant standards, regulations and building codes, and that the final product exceeds your expectations. You are investing time and money in the architectural design process that should produce a highly unique, boutique outcome of high architectural integrity. Consider how your architect pushes the boundary of conventional development and seeking to find the best outcome on every project.

Shore Architects residential architect sydney

Project Scope

Be clear as to what you actually require from your residential architect. Some developer/contractor clients only need base sets of plans required for approval before they implement their project management strategies and consultancy relationships from past projects. Some 'mum and dad' clients want complete guidance and coordination from their architect by providing detailed design drawings, co-ordination of engineers, handling of Council submissions and selections of every single tap, handle, paint colour and cladding type. Others want a little in between. We offer full services from concept design to on-site administration of the building contract, please raise how much architectural service and guidance you require during our initial consult meetings.

Who within the firm is actively working on the project and how often

This note refers to who within the firm is actively involved in the project and how often? During initial meetings and consultations you will likely meet with the more experienced faces of the company/firm. Ensure the fee you are paying for architectural services is being realised and adequately supported, guided and designed by the same faces that helped land the project. At Shore Architects, the principle architect is currently engaged in every single line drawn, phone call made and email sent. You always have full access to open communication via phone and email throughout all stages of the project.


It's a great time for the building industry as sustainable principles have taken their rightful place at the forefront of development criteria. The industry itself is a significant user (and abuser) of finite sources and all projects should endeavour to greatly exceed the (very!) easily-passable minimum requirements of energy and sustainability legislative requirements under the NCC/BCA and BASIX. Registrations and continual involvement with bodies such as the Australian Passive House Association will promote a potential architect's awareness and engagement of their projects with an alignment towards minimising the environmental impact on the world. Please don't allow your next project to exist as a poorly oriented, leaky, energy consuming disaster with no regard for current or future environmental security. A series of additional upcoming blogs focusing on sustainability principles and Passive House design will expand further upon how sustainability should be implemented within your architectural project.

When looking for a residential architect in Sydney, it is important to consider budget, cost and time requirements. Additionally, understanding the client’s needs and expectations as well as being context sensitive are key design considerations. Furthermore, incorporating sustainable design principles into projects can ensure long-term energy efficiency and cost savings for clients. Ultimately, these criteria will help you find a residential architect who meets your individual project goals while creating beautiful structures that last a lifetime.

Please get in touch if you feel we could assist in an upcoming architectural project.

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