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A QUICK GUIDE FOR CLIENTS ON ARCHITECT’S SPEAK

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.

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VALUE MANAGEMENT

MoneyWhat 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.

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LEGAL

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.
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COST CONSULTANTS

image by 401(k) 2012 via flickr

For all my projects I recommend the engagement of a cost consultant, otherwise known as a quantity surveyor. Cost consultants specialise in estimating construction costs in advance. Engaging a cost consultant is fundamental to effective cost management, particularly through the design and documentation stages of your projects. Cost consultant significantly decreases the likelihood of cost overruns that could lead to project delays and/or abortive documentation costs. It is highly recommended that the appointed cost consultant is

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BAD DESIGN COSTS

House

Bad design does cost.

Some further thoughts to my earlier posting on the bad design costs.

Good design can provide significant value to both the owner and user; however, there are often greater costs occurred due to bad design. On the initial investment made good design pays back over a long period of time, whilst with bad design the negative effect can be immediate and can continue over its life cycle. It can mean a home may need refurbishment or replacing before it was originally planned. This can imposes unwanted costs on the owner and users.

BUDGETS

image by Tax Credit via flickr

image by Tax Credit via flickr

It has come to my attention that my approach to budgets may be different to the majority of architects.

This is where my point of difference lays. Firstly, I discuss with the client what they would like to achieve. As you can suspect a lot of client’s needs and aspirations far exceed their budgets; so I then work closely with the client to see what can be achieved within their budget.

I suspect a lot of architects establish the client’s brief then announce the estimated cost; which normally exceeds the client’s budget. This results in the architect not being engaged.

Clients have budgets and it is important to keep within these budgets. The last thing you want on a project is for the client’s dreams to be turned into a nightmare with costs exceeding their budgets. It is the architect’s role to keep the project within the Cost of Works budget; and it is important to have contingencies to prevent overruns of costs. It is vital to communicate clearly to the client when an added item or a design change will affect their budget; then they can make a considered decision on whether they want to proceed with this. Life is too short to have the unnecessary burden of debt.

DREAMS

image by Jake Bellucci via flickr

image by Jake Bellucci via flickr

People dream about their ideal homes.

And to turn people’s dreams in to reality, one needs to build a level of trust with their clients. It is such a huge responsibility. You are not only managing their cost of works budget you are also managing their expectations. There is so much emotion invested when it comes to residential designs; as you are often dealing with people’s dreams.

LOVE RESIDENTIAL CLIENTS

Love RingI love working with residential clients

My first love has always been residential architecture. I have always been fascinated by houses. From the days of growing up on farm – where I would visit the local homesteads – to now seeing the houses entered in the annual Architecture Awards.

I have always been intrigued by how people live. I think this is part of the reason I have spent so much time overseas. When visiting a foreign country my preference has always been to stay in someone’s home rather than a hotel. Thankfully I have lots of friends in amazing places. This fascination of how people live translates to my love of designing homes.

I also adore working with private clients. It is much more personal. I enjoy the process of understanding how a client lives and what they want to achieve with their new home. No two clients are the same. Read more…

CONCEPT DESIGN

THE CONCEPT DESIGN STAGE

Pre Design

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…

DESIGN DEVELOPMENT

Design Development – the second stage of your core architectural services

The Design Development stage for your project follows the approved Design Concept stage. The approved concept design drawings – which are typically, free hand drawings – will be translated over to CAD. These will help to explain the developed design to you. I will work closely with you during this stage to refine your design; and present samples of the proposed materials and finishes.

As with all stages of your project I will arrange, attend and record meetings with you. I will also arrange, attend and record meetings with authorities (town planners etc.), other consultants and other relevant parties.

As necessary the work of other Specialist Consultants (Structural Engineer, Ecological Sustainable Design (ESD) consultant, Building Surveyor etc.) will be coordinated to assist in the development of your design. Read more…