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.

Contract Documents – All of the documents, which form the written building contract, including the agreement between you (the owner) and the builder, any special conditions, the drawings and specifications, and any other relevant documents. We love assisting our clients in bringing the building contract documents together.

Contract price – How much you will be paying the builder, including the GST.

Contractor – The builder, sometimes called the main contractor.

Cost of Building Works – The actual net cost of your building works excluding any amounts for GST.

Estimate – A judgement of the likely costs of your project, which we will assist you with during the design and documentation of your project.

Owner – Again, that’s you (the client)

Prime Cost Sum – An amount of money included in the building contract for an ‘off the shelf item’, like a basin or tap, which we haven’t decided when you sign the building contract.

Project Budget – An amount decided by yourself which includes the total available funds for your project. This including building costs, provisional sums, escalation, contingency sums, architect’s fees, consultant’s fees, GST, loose furniture, equipment, relocation costs, approval costs and any other cost, allowance or item defined by you.

Provisional Sum – A sum of money included in the building contract for known work, which could not be fully described when you signed the building contract, because some details were unknown. Provisional sums are more likely with renovations are more complex projects.

Subcontractor – A firm or person (under contract to the builder) who performs work or who supplies and/or installs an item forming part of the works in the building contract. Typically the builder is responsible for the selection, engagement, supervision, performance and payment of all subcontractors in accordance with the building contract. Subcontractors do not include any firms or persons directly engaged and paid by the owner for work outside the contract. These are separate contracts.

Variation – A change in the scope of works in the building contract. This includes things that you change your mind about on site.

Work – The activities, labour or processes involved in construction of your project.

Works – The completed construction as set out in the building contract documents. Generally works can be seen as the product of the work carried out under the contract.

If you’d like to discuss your project, please contact me for an obligation free consultation.