Nuts & Bolts with The Undercover Architect Amelia Lee

This week we welcome back The Undercover Architect Amelia to continue with her answer to our Ask The Builder Facebook Group question of “What is the role of an architect compared to a draftsman? And do I need one when contemplating a new build?”

Last time Amelia touched on what roles an architect, a draftsman and a building designer undertake, what that potentially means to you and her opinion of the difference of each of the roles. This week we jump right in the who you will need to use.

So who do you need to use?
To make this decision, I think of it a little differently. To paint an analogy you might understand …

I have quite curly hair – not curly enough to be nicely structured, but wavey enough to not be able to wear it neatly or straight!

So, when I get it cut by someone who isn’t really trained in cutting my style of curly hair, I can see it. Ultimately though, they’ve done their job. I asked them to cut my hair. It’s shorter, tidier, and healthier. It’s cut. But it’s difficult to style, and doesn’t look as good as it can. I end up wearing it in a ponytail most of the time.

When I find a hairdresser that really knows how to cut my curly hair … WOW, what a difference. It sits well. It doesn’t need as much styling. It looks great all the time (not just when I’ve spent time styling it!)

Yes, the latter hairdresser usually costs more. But hey, I only get my hair cut 3 or 4 times per year, and the result is so different – so I can justify the extra expense.

Missed opportunities
When I look around at the standard of housing in Australia, and the lack of design in it, and it simultaneously breaks my heart and puts a fire in my belly. I see:
• Homes that cost a fortune to heat and cool electronically because they are not designed for the sun’s movement
• Homes that waste so many opportunities (and their owners’ time and money) in how they are created because those designing them didn’t have the right expertise
• Homes that don’t optimise their land, or natural assets to make the experience of them great
• Homes that do not create great neighbourhoods because they crowd their blocks, overshadow their neighbours and turn their back on the streets (which makes the street less safe to be in due to a lack of natural surveillance)
• Homes where you need to paint your letterbox a different colour so you don’t come home to your neighbour’s house at night by mistake
• Homes that are so poorly designed that living in them involves daily compromise in functionality and lifestyle for their occupants


An example of Amelia’s work found on Undercover Architect

What is great design?
Great design is not about wow factor, or expensive aesthetics and winning lots of awards.

Great design is about how your home feels and how you feel in your home. How it works for you now, and anticipates your needs for the future.

Great design is not anymore expensive. You can build a wall in the right place, or the wrong place – it will still cost you the same amount to build. Achieving great design is about being informed up front so you make the right decisions first.

If you invest in the right professional, they’ll actually save you money – in the build cost, and in the long-term use and maintenance of the home.

So who is that right professional?
Well, whether that’s an architect, building designer or draftsperson is ultimately reliant on these things:
Your state’s requirements for licensing …

but far more importantly …
What you’re seeking to achieve for your home … and the type of specialist you think will help you achieve it.

What an amazingly comprehensive answer Amelia, thank you. I am sure our Facebook reader Larissa will have an excellent understanding on what is now required for her new build.



Amelia Lee is the Undercover Architect, your secret ally in getting it right when designing, building or renovating your home – simply and with confidence. Should you require any more questions answered, you can contact Amelia via her Website, Facebook or send her an email at [email protected] If you’d like to see an architects take on the pretty world around us, have a little look at her Instagram and Pinterest.

Nicole xxx

2 Responses to Nuts & Bolts with The Undercover Architect Amelia Lee

  1. Larissa says:

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! This is the perfect answer and I can’t wait to share it. These are all the the reasons we don’t quite “fit” in our current home anymore! We built “Off the plan” so our house didn’t take into account the sun, heat, cooling or entertaining. Looks like an architect is what we need for next time!

Leave a reply