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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.
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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…
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…
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The Town Planning Stage – the third stage of your core architectural services
Town planning approval is often required for singular residential project. It is often dependent on your site’s area and whether there are any Planning Overlays. These may include Heritage, Floodway, Wildfire Management, etc.. Typically this is confirmed at the pre-design stage. Occasionally as the design develops a planning overlay may be triggered, which would require a planning permit. For example you may decide to include a new fence in the scope, and depending on the overlays in your council this may or may not trigger a planning permit. As this occurs you will be advised.
Prior to submitting your town planning application a meeting maybe held with the local council. This will be follow with the preparation of the application. This would include plans, diagrams, analyses, studies, reports and other information for the submission. Once these are complete I will assist you in lodging the formal application. Once the planning permit is granted it is time to move onto the Construction Documentation stage.
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Construction Documentation – the fourth stage of your core architectural services
Construction Documentation – otherwise referred to as working drawings – is the step following Design Development/Town Planning stages. If Town Planning is required typically this stage will not commence until the approval is received.
The work of other specialist consultants will be coordinated and integrated into the architectural drawings. These consultants may include the Structural Engineer, Ecological Sustainable Design (ESD) consultant, etc.
The Structural Engineer will prepare their documentation and computations; these will form part of the submission for the Building Permit. A structural engineer is required if any structural work is carried out; for example a new window opening, a deck, the removal of a structural wall etc.
For a residential new build or an extension an Energy Report will need to be carried out by an ESD consultant. This is a requirement of the Building Code of Australia (BCA). Typically the report is carried out at this stage; however, on some project a preliminary report may be carried out at the Design Development Stage.
On more complex or larger residential projects a Mechanical and Electrical Engineer may be appointed; otherwise these will be incorporate as a design element in the building contract.
Drawings will be prepared including plans, elevations and sections, together with other details and schedules to enable statutory approval to construct your project. Read more…
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Finding a Builder – the fifth stage of your core architectural services
This stage, which we refer to as Contractor Selection, occurs after the completion of the Construction Documentation stage. The options for Contractor Selection include tendering or negotiating with a preferred contractor. There are advantages and disadvantages with these two options; which can be discussed in further detail with you.
If you chose this route the tender documents will be issued to all tenderers. Typically I would recommend three tenderers. There is a huge investment of their time and money in preparing a tender submission; and it is unfair to tender to more than three potential contractors.
I will respond to any inquiries from the tenderers. Upon receiving the tenders and after the closer of the tenders the tenders will be opened. Together with the cost consultant, if any, these tenders will be assessed.
If necessary the preferred tenderer can be negotiated to obtain an offer acceptable to you.
During a negotiated offer I will assist you in determining the preferred negotiation process. The relevant documents will be issued to the prospective contractor to describe the scope of the works. I will arrange and coordinate negotiations and any enquiries they may have. Together with the cost consultant, if any, I will assess all submissions from the prospective contractor required to establish the contract price and final project scope.
Upon completion of the Contractor Selection stage your approval will be obtained to prepare the contract documents; these will form part of the Contract Administration Stage.
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Being on site – the final stage of your core architectural services
Once a contractor has been selected for your build – which is known as the Contractor Selection stage – it is time to commence the Contract Administration stage.
This stage begins with the preparation of the contract documents; including making the arrangements for the signing and execution by you (the owner) and the building contractor. This needs to be in place before construction can commence.
Whilst your project is on site I will report regularly to you in regards to time, cost and progress of your build. I will visit the site periodically to observe the general conformance of the construction works with the building contract documents and instruct the building contractor regarding design quality control, materials selections and performance.
I will arrange and attend regular site meetings along with the preparation of the minutes.
When the need arises the building contractor may present shop drawings for my revision. For a residential project these maybe prepared for the joinery, windows, stairs etc. On occasions it may be necessary to coordinate the construction services provided by other Specialist Consultants; examples of these maybe the co-ordination of services on site.
As required instructions, supplementary details and clarification of the contract documents will be provided to the building contractor. Variations will be assess and determine and your approvals will be obtain.
I will assess and determine the building contractor’s progress claims (and issue progress certificates), and claims for extensions of time. Read more…
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Engaging an architect for your new home can be the best investment you can make.
Architects can help you achieve your needs, aspirations and visions for your project. We can also add value through good design and sound construction.
Undertaking a building project, whether a new build, extension or a renovation, can be a daunting experience.
When you engage an architect you are employing someone who has undertaken seven years of architectural training – no other building professional is trained in design and construction to such a level of expertise.
Do you consider it a good investment? Would you trust your project to anyone else?