Article 8

Article # 8 - Services
in a series of 10)

Services

The additional services in our typical sample architect designed house are shown in the chart below.
For the purposes of this comparison, "services" includes plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling.

 

Plumbing

The cost of plumbing fittings was covered in Article # 7, so in this article we will deal primarily with plumbing pipework and plumbing systems.

As pipework design is covered by various standards, most of the difference in cost between a volume builder's house and an architect designed house is attributable to the number of sanitary fittings involved. If the number of sanitary fittings is similar, the plumbing pipework costs will also be similar.

In some instances architect designed houses may included specialist systems such as grey water systems, solar hot water, rainwater to cisterns, etc. These are usually excluded from volume builder's houses.

Electrical

As electrical circuitry design is covered by various standards, most of the difference in cost between a volume builder's house and an architect designed house is attributable to the number of light fittings and power points involved. Typically, an architect designed house will have more light fittings and power points than a volume builder's house.

In some instances architect designed houses may included specialist electrical systems such as lighting controls, home automation systems, computer networks, etc. These are usually excluded from volume builder's houses.

Light Fittings

Light fittings can be a significant part of the cost of electrical installations.

The cost of these can vary significantly between a volume builder's house and an architect designed house, due to either higher quality, increased scope or both.

Volume builders tend to include items selected from the lower cost range as this is what the market dictates, whereas with architect designed houses the client expectations are usually higher.

Heating and Cooling

The cost of heating and cooling can vary significantly depending on the types of systems adopted.

Typically, volume builder's houses have limited heating systems and usually no cooling. In some instances the heating system might be as simple as a single gas or electric wall heater in the main living room.

With architect designed houses the client expectations are usually higher, and in many cases these include more complex and expensive systems such as hydronic heating, ducted or split system air conditioning, evaporative cooling etc.

In Article # 9 we will discuss the differences in the inclusions and exclusions between volume builder's houses and architect designed houses - those "hidden" extras that are often excluded from a volume builder's price.