Frequently Asked Questions

“What will my new home or renovation cost?”

Costs fall into these three categories:

  • Design & Drafting
  • Council fees
  • Construction costs

Each project is unique and fees are calculated accordingly.  The complexity and size of your project will determine the fees, along with the constraints on your site & the number of external consultants required, however, an allowance of $13,000-$18,000 for the Design & Drafting, (including a survey of the land & engineering) would cover most average sized projects. Contact us for a fee guide for your project. Approval costs will vary dependant on the type of applications you require (see below).  When it comes to construction, this is also very much driven by the nature of your project, we usually recommend obtaining initial estimates from builders from your concept plans prior to completing the documentation and engineering, that way changes can be made to the concept during the design development stage if required.  An allowance of around $1500-$1700/m2 for new homes & $2000-$2500 for renovations will be close to the mark for the majority of projects.

“What is the best way to determine if UDS is for me?”

Generally, choosing a designer is all about feel, do you feel comfortable & confident that they understand you & what you are trying to achieve. Client satisfaction is our key objective & as such we take time to listen to you & get in touch with your needs & desires. We will happily show you previous work & you can view testimonials from many happy clients on our website.

“Project home company or Design Professional?”

Building Designers are trained to specialise in design and will produce a unique “one-off”  design that meets all your needs, along with any specific site constraints.  Project Builders generally produce mass market designs that are not site, or client specific.

“What does a building designer do?”

In short, a building designer designs new buildings, and/or alterations and additions to existing buildings.  The term building designer is used by professionals, such as Architectural Draftspeople, who hold a design license and have similar or the same qualifications as a registered Architect.  UDS is licensed to design individual homes and multi-residential developments up to 3 storeys in height.

“Does my house require a Town Planning Application?”

In many cases Town Planning, or Development Applications aren’t needed, however depending on the location and intended work this may be required.  Searches conducted will reveal if your home requires Town Planning as part of the process.

“What is Certification?”

In the past, a building application was lodged with the local council.  Today however, the role of assessing building applications is usually handled by private certifiers.  The certifier will present the application to council on your behalf, review the application and issue the approval of the plans prior to construction.  The certifier is also responsible for assessing construction is to required regulations.

“Should I Knock Down and Rebuild or Renovate?”

The million dollar question, there are many factors in this decision, the first question is whether you will be allowed to demolish, in Brisbane many homes are protected from demolition, which may make the decision for you.  Typically, on a square metre basis, it is cheaper to knock down and rebuild than to renovate, but not in all cases.  Your designer will assess all the criteria and help you with this decision.

“How do I Select a Builder?”

The best way to select a builder is to follow the recommendation of someone who has had a good building experience.  As with the designer, choosing a builder is about feel, are you comfortable and confident in the job they will do for you.  Ask to see their previous work, and do a history check on the QBCC website (  UDS can assist you in selecting a builder, we have several quality builders that we can recommend to you.

“Do I need a Survey?”

In most cases a survey is required to locate important site information and to determine the ground levels as well as building heights.  However, on minor projects this may not be required.