In Australia the definition of an 'architect' is;
- A person who has a degree from a university (Bachelor of Architecture)
- Has then undertaken work experience required by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects and the Architects Registration Board
- Subsequently passed their registration tests.
This process will vary from State to State. The most important element is experience. The RAIA and ARB endeavour to ensure this experience has been gained when accrediting the architect or architecture firm.
An architect should be knowledgeable about all aspects of a building from the planning to the construction and the habitation. They should also have some skill in expressing their ideas to you.
Architects fees can vary incredibly depending on the kind of work you want done. There is a guide which architects follow to ensure good practice. The ARB in your state will be able to provide you with a rough costing guide depending on your circumstance. It is wise to have an idea of this amount before you begin thinking about engaging an architect.
A good architect can be invaluable to the building of your house. With some careful planning and creative thinking, they may be able to save you money whilst improving the aesthetic outcome.
You may have decided to be serious about Ecologically Sustainable Design (ESD). In this case an architecture firm which specialises in ESD will be able to provide expertise on the best type of design so that your house is Energy Efficient and Ecologically Sustainable. If the design is well done, you will not only have an Energy Efficient house but a cost effective one as well, with lower Energy and Water costs.