Many of our clients have not worked with an architect before, nor have they embarked on a major building project. To preempt the many questions that often arise, we have explained here how we go about our work, and the various services we offer.
To ensure a successful outcome to any given project – be it small scale or large – we follow a logical and well thought out path from initial briefing to final decorations and furnishings.
B. Design Brief
At the beginning of a project we discuss the ‘brief’ carefully with the client. This includes the overall scope of work to be embarked on and the likely costs involved – the building costs, plus all associated costs, such as professional fees. We start work on the project when we have agreed the basic principles and the overall cost targets.
Before we start on the design work we arrange to carry out a measured survey of the building and/or building plot. The cost of the survey, whether it is done by ourselves or by a firm of surveyors is charged to the client separately from our overall fees.
In the first stage of the work we carry out the following functions:
- Prepare preliminary design proposals.
- Prepare preliminary budget forecasts.
- Present schemes/budgets etc to client and discuss.
- Have initial discussions with local planning officers (as and if necessary).
- Advise the client on the need to engage specialist professional consultants (as necessary).
- Advise the client about ‘Party Wall’ matters.
D. Design Development
Having agreed the preliminary design schemes/budgets with the client, we then develop the scheme to a more detailed level and prepare a planning application for submission to the local authority for ‘Planning Consent’:
- Preparation of all necessary location maps, site plans, building plans, section/elevations, roof plans and sketch views etc (as necessary).
- Complete all necessary ‘Planning Application Forms’ and prepare any other relevant information to reinforce the planning application.
- Prepare a ‘Design & Access Statement’ to accompany the design drawings.
- Submit the application to the local authority on the client’s behalf.
We have an excellent relationship with Local Authority Planning Departments and a proven track record in winning advantageous ‘Consents’ for our clients. However it should be understood that the granting of planning consent is out of our control, and we cannot therefore ‘guarantee’ the outcome of our planning applications.
Please note: Once we have submitted a planning application on behalf of a client we monitor the application carefully and we respond, as necessary to any queries a planning officer may have.
Occasionally a planning authority will require additional information or modifications to our design scheme whilst the application is under review with the local authority. We endeavor to act quickly and efficiently in response to any such directives that we may receive from the planners, so that the application can be processed smoothly.
Any alterations to our drawings and/or additional information that we may produce during the application process are subject to additional fees, charged on a time basis.
E. Technical Design
F. Production Information
G. Tender Documentation
Having received planning consent from the local authority, we proceed to the detail design stage. In this stage we carry out the following work:
- Liaise with the structural engineer and brief him with regards to the structural design and what is required in terms of design details as well as structural calculations.
- Carry out a more detailed inspection of the site, and/or of the building.
- Prepare all necessary detailed design drawings, construction drawings, construction details and specifications.
- Specify all materials and components.
- Prepare all necessary electrical drawings/diagrams/ specifications.
- Prepare all necessary plumbing, drainage, heating drawings/diagrams/specifications.
- Prepare a written ‘Contract Schedule of Works’.
- Submit all relevant design drawings/calculations/ diagrams/specification to the local authority for ‘Building Regulations Approval’.
- Submit all relevant design information to the ‘Party Wall’ surveyors and/or adjoining owners.
- Liaise generally with the client during the detail design stage and agree with the client the detail design and specifications.
- Research the availability and suitability of various building contractors, and make recommendations to the client in this respect.
- Advise the client on ‘Contract Procurement Procedures’.
- Revisit the budget forecasts where necessary to update these in the light of any changes to the design scheme and/or the agreed scope of work that may have occurred during the detail design stage.
H. Tender Action
When the detail design drawings/specifications/schedules etc are complete, we send this package of information out to building contractors for pricing and we negotiate on the client’s behalf a contract price with the selected builder.
K. Construction to Practical Completion
Having secured an agreed contract sum we assist the client and the building contractors in preparing for the construction phase and in arranging the ‘start on site’ date. During the construction phase of the project we carry out the following procedures/duties:
Day-to-day liaison with the building contractor, sub contractors and specialist suppliers.
- Attend weekly site meetings and inspections to monitor the progress of work.
- Report back to the client on any major issues.
- Liaise with structural engineers, quantity surveyors and any other professional specialist consultants during the course of the contract.
- Prepare and issue any further detailed design information that may be required by the building contractor, the sub-contractors or specialist suppliers.
- Prepare and issue monthly interim valuations to facilitate progress payments from the client to the building contractor.
- Regular liaison with the local authority building inspector (The District Surveyor) to ensure that he is satisfied with the construction of the new building works.
- Attend to all ‘practical completion procedures’, overseeing the final completion of the works and general checking of the completed project before the client takes ‘beneficial occupation’ of the building.
- Prepare final valuation information, collating all relevant building costs, and issuing the ‘penultimate’ valuation certificate.
- Liaise with the client at the point where they move into the new building.
L. Post practical completion
After the client moves into the renovated building and starts to live/work in the property, there are sometimes additional works, and/or minor variations that the client requires. Also it is normal at this stage for there to be some degree of ‘fine tuning’ of the client’s specific requirements that need to be attended to. We assist our client in all these matters and ensure that, as much as is reasonably possible, the client is satisfied with the final completed building – we attend to these matters before issuing the ‘Final Certificate’, that facilitates the final payment from the client to the building contractor.
Time expended in post-contract works and additional client requests are charged separately from the main fee, and on a time basis at our agreed hourly rates.