The Australian Institute of architects answers the question:
Why do you need an architect?
"Face it, designing and building a home, office or investment property can be extraordinarily complex. Few appreciate how difficult it can be. Arriving at the right design, navigating the town planning process, setting a realistic budget, selecting materials, finding the right builder and managing the building contract, are just some of the tasks you will need to involve yourself with, intimately, if you decide to do it alone.
Each task requires specialist skills and disciplines. Combined, they can present a daunting, frustrating and time-consuming prospect. Get it wrong and you could be living with your mistake for a long time. Get it right, however, and it will be one of the most satisfying experiences of your life. You will increase your chances of getting it right by engaging a registered architect, who is also a member of the Australian Institute of Architects.
Architects have the qualifications, professional training, vision and experience
Architects have the qualifications, professional training, vision and experience to manage the entire design and construction process. A minimum of five years of university training, mandatory practical experience and a registration exam separates architects from other, less qualified building designers. More than a designer, an architect works with you on an intensive exploration of your requirements, to help you realize your dream.
An architect will help you set a viable and realistic budget, guide you through the town planning process, obtain competitive quotes for the work, manage consultants like surveyors and engineers, monitor the budget and administer the construction contract. Critically, your architect will inspect the work right through the construction period to assist you to get the quality and level of finishes you expect.
Architects create environments that define you and how you like to live and work
Architects see the big picture. An architect will help you define and create what you want to build, present options you may never have considered and help you get the most for your budget. Architects don't merely design, they create environments, inside and out, spaces that function well, that define you and how you like to live and work. Architects produce inspired solutions to often complex residential and commercial needs. Creative thinking, attention to detail and functional performance underpin everything an architect does.
Architect-designed buildings are more desirable and sought after…
Building a new home or office, or even extending your house, is likely to be the biggest single expenditure you are ever going to make. It is a major investment, and what you want from any investment is value and the knowledge that the value of your investment - your investment in good design - grows and continues to grow. Expenditure of such magnitude should not be considered without first getting the best advice you can. Start by consulting a registered architect. Architect-designed buildings are more desirable and sought after by an increasingly sophisticated, design-conscious market prepared to pay for the benefits and enjoyment derived from living with good design.
Well-designed buildings work efficiently…an architect knows how to plan for best environmental performance
Well-designed buildings work efficiently, solve problems of space and function and, fit comfortably into the environments that surround them. An architect knows how to plan rationally for best environmental performance, can advise about placing the building on your site to optimise views and aspect, to catch the sun, provide shade, promote natural cross-flow ventilation, reduce and conserve energy. Architects are attuned to new building technologies and materials, and their application, to create efficient buildings that are light, airy, comfortable and stylish.
Architect-designed buildings are more energy efficient, cheaper to operate and easier to maintain
Architect-designed buildings are generally healthier places; places that are better for you; and flexible, too, so that your building can grow and change as your needs change. Architect-designed buildings are more energy efficient, cheaper to operate and easier to maintain and adapt throughout their lifespan than traditional structures. In a world crying out for answers to issues of energy efficiency, global warming and climate change, an architect can show you how to integrate best practice sustainability features with leading edge design.
Good architecture has inner glow…a well-designed building should fit you so that it feels uniquely yours."
Full Article: http://www.findanarchitect.com.au/index.php?action=arch_imp