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frequently asked questions

i.Balter Design is driven by a desire to do things differently.


#1

SHOULD I BE SPEAKING WITH A BUILDER OR BUILDING DESIGNER FIRST?

Most people naturally gravitate towards meeting a Builder on site as their first step. Whether is a Builder or Building Designer, either way, you'll achieve a similar result.

It's an opportunity for you to have a general conversation with a qualified industry professional, gather information on what the journey is going to involve and understand what the next necessary steps are for you to take.

#2

TO MAKE A DECISION WHETHER MY PROJECT IS EVEN POSSIBLE, I REALLY NEED TO KNOW UPFRONT WHAT MY OPTIONS ARE AND WHAT THE TOTAL COST WILL BE. CAN YOU MEET ME ON SITE TO GIVE ME A ROUGH IDEA OF MY OPTIONS AND COST?

This is the most common question i receive. After all, making a long term commitement of your time and your money, its understandable that you would want to be 100% certain that your ideal outcome can be achieved within your budget and timeframe.


Generally speaking most Builders and Building Designers will meet you on site for an 'casual' chat, where different options are thrown about and MAYBE very generic pricing scenario's are hinted at. Typically, a short time later you'll receive a fee proposal detailing your project's scope and designers fee's for the full design and documentation journey.


There's an enormous leap of faith required on your part, to take the step from an inital 'casual' on site chat with generic information, to a couple weeks later being asked to commit to a full residential design and build project. Which is going to requre you to say yes to a 10+ month design commitement and a sizable financial outlay.

i.Balter Design is driven by a desire to do things differently.


You wouldn't sign on with a surgeon, who had built their surgical plan before completing a thorough consultation with you about your particular issue.

That initial consultation stage plays the same vital role within Building Design. It's all about finding out what you actually need and what your options are, before moving forward to formulating a plan. It's why I created The Soulful Design Strategy as my 1:1 custom consultation service for people who are renovating or building their family home.


Being a standalone service, that you can book by itself without any obligation to progress into a full project. To me, I think that if you’re going to invest your time, money and energy into a project, you want to be sure that it’s going to deliver the results you’re actually seeking.   


The Soulful Design Strategy is my way of protecting your investment and giving you, that opportunity to dip your toes into the whole process of working with a designer. Importantly, it’s coming in at a fraction of the price of a full design project and you’re looking at getting a professional strategy in your hands in just 4 weeks.

To find out more click HERE


#3

WHAT DOES A BUILDING DESIGNER DO?

A building project relies on many ‘moving parts’. From first sketches, to town planning, to securing building permits, material selections, co-ordinating the various specialist consultants. It's easy for the process to feel overwhelming if you don't have the right expertise on board. That's where you risk pouring time and money into a design process that loses momentum, resulting in blows out of your budget and a space that doesn't meet the unique needs of your family or business. 


It’s easy to confuse a Building Designer with other related roles - an Architect, a Builder or an Interior Designer, to name a few. While I can only speak from my own professional experience, I see the role of a Building Designer as distinct, diverse and multi-disciplinary. A Building Designer is responsible for the design and documentation process of a residential or commercial construction project.


I design homes for families and premises for businesses, bringing additional expertise to my role through my qualifications as an Interior Designer and Estimator (Quantity Surveyor). 


This means I’m involved in the building and interior design process from start to finish.

  • I'm your advocate throughout the entire design and build process.
  • I create design concepts that are customised for you, ensuring the integrity of your vision is maintained as they engage other external consultants to bring it to life.
  • I ensure that every stage of the project stays on-scope and guide you to make confident, clear decisions that align with your budget and timeframe.
  • I streamline the process so you have one consistent point of contact and take the stress out of managing the intricacies of design, compliance and construction.

It's important to note that in the state of Victoria, any structural works must be designed and documentated by a VBA (Victorian Building Association) registered professional (Draftsperson, Building Designer or Architect).

#4

WHY CHOOSE I.BALTER DESIGN?

When you partner with i.Balter Design, you can count on: 

A creative vision that is completely personalised and collaborative.

  • To me, the most important part of what I do is connecting with my clients. Because a home or business premises has to be completely customised to the people who will be using it.
  • We have to get clarity around how you want your space to function, how you want it to look and feel. To do this, I ask questions that will articulate the needs, tastes and preferences you didn’t even know you had.
  • Armed with this knowledge, I’m able to create a design vision that truly fits you, your business or your family.

A design concept that is centred around connection.

  • In my designs, I don’t just focus on functionality OR aesthetics alone. I consider them both in equal measure. 
  • I think about how they combine to create an experience for everyone who walks into your space. 
  • That can look like designing a home that can grow with a family and hold precious memories for years to come.
  • That can look like designing a business premises that elevates a customer’s experience and builds brand loyalty.
  • In both cases, it comes down to creating a space for you where people can connect with each other. It comes down to designs that aren’t just a backdrop to your everyday life and work, but actually make that life richer and deeper.

A seamless process that is built on communication.

  • As your designer, it’s my responsibility to deliver beautiful, functional designs that fall within the scope of our project. 
  • I’ve seen too many people let down by budget blow-outs because their designer didn’t ensure their concept was compliant AND cost-effective.
  • I believe that creativity thrives when it has constraints and I keep your budget and timeframe front of mind throughout the design process.
  • I prioritise open, honest communication, so that your expectations are always aligned with what you can afford and you’re never caught off guard when it comes time to build.


#5

WHAT ARE YOUR QUALIFICATIONS?

With 20 years’ experience and training under my belt, I am a Registered Building Practitioner with the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) and hold the following qualifications:

  • Diploma of Building Design & Drafting
  • Diploma of Interior Design
  • Certificate IV of Building & Construction (Estimating)

#6

WHAT WILL IT BE LIKE WORKING TOGETHER?

I believe the best work happens when it is guided by professional expertise and personal alignment.

It’s essential that you feel comfortable communicating with your designer and confident in their ability to evolve your vision from the initial design to the final build.

This is why I invest time into the initial stages of every project and throughout its development, to ensure we both feel a sense of synchronicity and our collaboration is sustained and aligned throughout the entire process.

I also only take on a limited number of projects every year, so that I can pour my energy into strong client relationships and a highly personalised, collaborative service.

To learn more about how I can help, about my process or simply ask a burning question, you can book in for a complimentary 30-minute consultation, or shoot me an email.  


#7

DO YOU MANAGE THE EXTERNAL CONSULTANTS ENGAGED THROUGHOUT THE DESIGN AND BUILDING PROCESS, OR IS THAT UP TO ME?

From initial design concepts to engaging external consultants, I can manage the process from start to finish. With your approval, I engage a team of trusted and competitively priced consultants and manage their output during the entire project, right down to consolidating invoices so that all communication you receive is completely streamlined through me.

Of course, I can tailor my project management to suit your preferences, enabling you to be as involved as you wish throughout every phase of the design and build.

#8

WHAT IF I CAN’T VISUALISE MY PROJECT FROM 2D DRAWINGS? 

You won’t have to! Waiting until construction starts to see your design concept captured would be unnerving for anyone. Fortunately, we have the technology that provide that peace of mind. The 3D software I use will provide you with the certainty of knowing exactly how things are going to look. No leap of faith required!


#9

OK, I’M INTERESTED. WHAT’S NEXT? 

You can book in for a complimentary 30-minute phone consultation HERE. This is our opportunity to discuss your project and consider your desired outcomes, time and budget constraints, and creative vision for the space.


As the founder of i.Balter Design, Emily Nair creates spaces that support the connections that matter.

Specialising in residential and commercial building design, she believes that our physical environments have a powerful impact on how we live and work.

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