“Buildings are all about money” and any architect wanting to break into development needs to “embrace that truth rather than shy away from it,” advised architect John Smart kicking off the third talk by architect developers.

After starting small Smart’s practice Craftworks is now designing and developing a range of projects including six detached houses and a 10-storey residential tower.

Our takeaways from John’s talks are:

-Learn the ropes by starting small

-Understand the competition. Developers are savvy with costs and drive a hard bargain but architects' professionalism and passion for ‘making great buildings’ give them a unique advantage

-Be highly organised

-If you are speaking to lenders, you need to earn the jargon

-Understand tax (or find someone who does) as it can have a great bearing on your profit 

-When borrowing money use a broker and understand agreements such as exit fees because they can be hefty

-Apply your design skills to everything because this is where you can differentiate your product from a developer’s

-Be prepared for risk but make sure you have some buffers in place.


 The next speaker in the series is Donald Matheson on September 14th.