WHO AM I?

I help all kinds of people design and build homes and buildings that are environmentally, socially and economically more sustainable. Sustainability is a word that gets used (and abused) more often than not, so I tend to describe the work I do as eco-effective. I also try to adopt an integral approach towards sustainable design.

Since 2007 I’ve been a registered architect, and have worked on a variety of projects (mostly homes), both new builds and renovations. I used to design houses for rich people, but eventually realized that wasn’t particularly fulfilling work.

In addition to my practice, I also teach part-time in the School of Built Environment at Curtin University, where I help to educate future architects and inspire them to strive for a more sustainable future.

Some very thoughtful people have said some nice things about me, and sometimes they even give out awards for projects where I’ve been involved. Read them.

Sid-Thoo
Colin Henley

This is Colin. He is indispensable, and helps me get things done as I balance my various commitments. Colin studied architecture at Curtin University, and has worked locally and overseas on both small and large architectural projects. He also has a Post Graduate Certificate in Energy Studies from Murdoch University. If you decide I’m the right architect for you, you’ll have a lot to do with Colin as well.

Colin’s Linkedin profile

Colin-Henley
How can I help?

There are a number of ways in which I can assist with your new build or renovation. I like to keep things flexible so as to suit your specific needs, rather than force one particular methodology upon you – I can be involved as little or as much as you like. There are no lock-in contracts, and my involvement can change throughout the project to suit your circumstances

Traditionally, there are four stages to the design and construction of a new building or renovation:

Concept-drawing

This initial design stage is about understanding your requirements and priorities, eco-effective goals and priorities, construction budget and timelines. Usually I still draw by hand or use programs such as SketchUp, as these tools allow me to work quickly to capture key design features and ideas. We generally explore a couple of design options, and then narrow down and refine the best of those options. You’ll get a sense of how I work, and whether I’m the right kind of architect for you. This stage typically takes around 1-2 months.

Detailed-design

When we have the concept plan about 80% right, we can then start working on the detailed design. This involves modelling the design using Building Information Modelling (BIM) software, which is like a 3D model with lots of embedded information and data. We start looking at different construction options, colours and materials to achieve the ideal performance and aesthetics for your project. Once the overall room sizes and dimensions are mostly finalised, the project will generally need to be submitted to the local government authority for planning or development approval. We take the time to prepare a detailed submission to address the relevant planning policies and guidelines, and work constructively and positively with planning staff to achieve a more sustainable, high-quality design outcome that enhances the streetscape and local character. It can take around 2-4 months to complete the detailed design stage, sometimes longer depending on the time required to obtain development approval.

Construction-drawing-detail

Once planning approval has been granted, we can then start preparing the building licence and construction drawings. We will engage the services of a structural engineer to help determine the sizes of beams and columns, and ensure the building complies with relevant building codes and standards. We’ll analyze the thermal performance of the design to verify that the building will be naturally warm in winter and cool in summer, and also examine the lighting and water efficiency to get the optimum overall performance. We’ll also prepare detailed specifications to ensure we are selecting high performing (but value for money) doors, windows, insulation and building materials that are long lasting, have a minimal carbon/energy footprint and avoid toxic chemicals. This stage takes around 3-6 months depending on the size and complexity of the project: around halfway through this stage we will be about to apply for a Certificate of Design Compliance (CDC), which will allow us to apply for a building licence when we’re ready to commence construction.

Construction-services

It ain’t architecture until it’s been built! During this stage, we can help you to arrange construction quotes and select a builder, not just based on price but also on their sustainability credentials and ability to work cooperatively. We can also help to select the best building contract for your project, and can be involved throughout the build to help achieve the most sustainable, high quality and cost-effective construction outcomes. By the way, contrary to popular belief, if you have a good builder, architect and team all working together, you don’t need a project manager!

There are other ways I can help you achieve more sustainable and eco-effective design outcomes:

Design-review

If you are already working with another building designer or architect, I can provide constructive feedback and ideas on how to optimise the performance of your existing home or design.

Concept-sketch

This service is ideal if you are still trying to select the the optimum site or block of land for your new build. It’s an affordable way to explore multiple options before you commit to a land purchase or specific design.

sid-presenter

For number of years I have given talks and lectures on eco-effective building design and sustainability of the built environment. Some of my previous speaking engagements have been for the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors (AIBS), the Australian Institute of Architects, the Alternative Technology Association (ATA), the City of Cockburn and the City of Vincent. Please contact me if you would like me to be a guest speaker at an upcoming expo, workshop or event.

Energy-rating

Using a range of specialised analysis and building simulation tools, I can help you analyse a proposed or existing building design in order to improve its performance. Analyses include thermal performance simulation, daylighting, carbon/energy footprinting, shading & solar radiation analysis and natural ventilation.

How much will it cost?

Some people think architects are expensive – sometimes they are, but often they just aren’t very good at explaining how their involvement brings value to a project.

I’d like to think I’m not particularly expensive compared to other architects, and do my best to provide as much information and help as possible when it comes to designing eco-effective homes and buildings. I always break projects down into stages, and can be involved as much or as little in your project as you would like (link to How can I help?) – this gives you control over the process.

My hourly rate is $180 per hour, which sounds expensive, but you’d be amazed at much you can get done in an hour if you listen carefully to a client, and invest in reliable technology and systems to enable work to be done efficiently.

Sure, I’ve also got bills to pay and mouths to feed, but you know what? I’d much rather work with a client for a reduced fee (or even sometimes for free) if they share a similar passion to myself, and who genuinely values my contribution.

Nice things people say

Awards

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2016 Master Builders Association Awards // Excellence in Waste Management under $5.0 million

Awarded to Right Homes for The Siding

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2016 Master Builders Association Awards // Excellence in Energy Efficiency under $5.0 million

Awarded to Right Homes for The Siding

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2016 Housing Industry Association Greensmart Energy Efficiency Award

Awarded to Right Homes for The Siding

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2016 Housing Industry Association Greensmart Residential Development Award

Awarded to Right Homes for The Siding

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2016 Housing Industry Association Greensmart Water Efficiency Award

Awarded to Right Homes for The Siding

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2013 City of Vincent Building Design & Conservation Awards // Sustainable Design Award

Awarded to Patrick Hubble & Sid Thoo

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2016 UDIA Environmental Excellence Award

Awarded to Mirvac for Osprey Waters development

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2016 UDIA Russel Perry Award for Urban Development Excellence

Awarded to Mirvac for Osprey Waters development