Are you considering not using an architect for the construction stage?
A full architectural service takes a project from concept through to completion on site. Occasionally clients consider not engaging the architect for the construction stage of their project, other wise referred to as Contract Administration; however, there are risks associated with this. Some clients fail to understand that CA is a core architectural service, as opposed to an additional service. While this may at first be seen as a cost saving measure clients may not be aware of the risks involved by proceeding with the construction stage without the assistance and guidance of the architect. Contracts produced by such organizations as the MBA and HIA have no role for an architect and it could be argued that these contracts appear to be biased towards the building contractor. Clients need to understand these risks before making the decision not to engage the architect for the provision of CA services. The risks include:
- Forms of building contract where there is no provision for an architect.
A brief guide to help you understand our language
Brief – Your wish list
Client – That’s you
Consultant – A person who is consulted for paid expert advice, i.e. structural engineer, surveyor etc. We can advise you on the appointment of your consultants, from our trusted team.
Contingency sum – A sum of money included in a building contract or preserved outside it for costs (if necessary), for things unforeseen at the time that the building contract price was calculated. Contingency sums are highly recommended and we can assist you in establishing a recommended amount, which is normally calculated on a percentage.
Design Contingency Sum – A sum of money allowed in your project’s budget to cover the cost of matters that are unknown or unresolved at the time your budget is established. Your design contingency will typically be proportionally high early in the design stages and reduces as the design develops. Design Contingency Sums are highly recommended, and we can assist you in establishing an amount, typically calculated on a percentage.
What is value management?
In architect’s speak value management is an effective tool for helping us to help you. It assists you to understand the real implications of your requirements (otherwise known as the design brief).
Value management shares the decision-making. It empowers you to make
critical decisions when it comes to your home’s design and budget.
Did you know that I can often walk into a house and pick up if the architect was involved on site or not? Now this isn’t a comment on builders’ quality, it’s is a comment on how important it is to engage the architect on site. People often think the design process is finished on the completion of the drawings, this is far from the truth. It is impossible for the drawings to cover all the details, as the time and cost involved is not warranted. If you are concerned about quality, it’s imperative that you engage the architect from concept and right through to the end of the defects liability (typically twelve months after the completion of the build).
Some days I feel like I am a lawyer, as I am constantly dealing with legal issues to protect my clients. These rang from planning requirements, building permit issues, to administrating a construction contract on site between the owner and builder.
Planning requires skills in understanding the legislations and rescode, which assists in the town planning negotiation stage with planners and neighbours. It makes it a lot easier to stand your ground when you know what your talking about and you have received an unreasonable objection. It also commands a greater respect from the planners.
Who needs an architect?
This is a great informative video clip illustrating that Architects work on projects of all sizes and complexity, and that they can add value from design and construction to the resale of your home. Warning: it is slightly cheesy.
I was having a conversation with a builder the other day and I was reminded how important furniture plans are. It breaks my heart to see people shelve out thousands on renovations and extensions when it ends up being difficult – or impossible – to furnish.
image by Images_of_Money via flickr
A Quantity Surveyor – why do I need one of those?
I always recommend the appointment of a Quantity Surveyor for my client’s projects.
Quantity Surveyors specialise in appropriately estimating construction costs of your project in advance. Architects are not expert in this skill.
Engaging a quantity surveyor is fundamental to effective cost management of your project, particularly through the design and documentation stages of our service.
Not engaging a cost consultant significantly increases the likelihood of cost overruns that could lead to project delays and/or costs associated with re-documentation.
image by Atsushi Tadokoro via flickr
What is Practical Completion?
he definition for Practical Completion will vary depend on the type of Building Contract you are using. The following is a guide on the ABIC Building Contracts’ definition; please refer to your contract for the full definition.
The works are at practical completion when, in the reasonable opinion of the architect:
a. they are substantially complete and any incomplete work or defects remaining in the works are of a minor nature and number, the completion or rectification of which is not practicable at that time and will not unreasonably affect occupation and use, Read more…
THE CONCEPT DESIGN STAGE
During the initial client meeting a brief would have been obtained from you; which would have formed part of the Client and Architect Agreement. At the pre-design stage I will obtain a more detailed brief from you. I will issue this in a written format for your approval. For a residential project this may include your particular likes and dislikes. I will spend time with you to try and understand how you live. This is an extremely important stage of your project.
Throughout the whole project I will arrange, attend and record meetings with you.
Recommendations will be made for the appointment of other Specialist Consultants as required, including their fees. These would have been listed in your Client and Architect Agreement; and may include a Building Surveyor, Ecological Sustainable Design (ESD) consultant, Geotechnical engineer (for a soil report), Cost Consultant, Structural/civil engineer etc.
A site appraisal will be carried out to establish the site conditions and constraints. These may include overlooking issues, privacy, noise, orientation etc. This is an extremely important step in the design process.
A Planning Property Report will be obtained for your site; this will confirm the Town Planning zone and overlays. Read more…