THE PROCESS

Working with an architect is the best way to ensure that your project delivers the best solution for your requirements. An architect will work to achieve the highest quality design outcomes and produce a building that best suits your lifestyle. The architect will be there through the whole process, including construction, to ensure that the final product is the best that it can be. If you choose to work with us, these are stages that we will include in our services:


OUR FIRST MEETING

We start with an initial meeting in our office. For this meeting you will need to come prepared with an understanding of your goals for the project. In this meeting we need to understand what you need; it helps if you can bring drawings, photos, magazine clippings or anything else that shows us what you hope to create. In the meeting we can show you some relevant projects that we have worked on and answer any questions you may have about the process. The meeting is a great opportunity to see if we can work together. We believe this is very important as we will be spending a lot of time with you over the course of the project.

If you prefer to meet on site, rather than in our office, the fee for the first meeting to occur on site starts at $165 including GST.

FEE PROPOSAL

After our first meeting we will prepare a fee proposal for you. This will include a summary of the design brief and the services you require. The fee proposal breaks the project down into the design and construction stages, with the fees for each stage given. The project stages are: concept design, design development, development application, construction documentation, contractor selection and contract administration. We also include an estimate of the fees for sub-consultants, such as surveyors and structural engineers, if required. We will also recommend a surveyor to you, as this document is required to begin the initial stage of concept design.

Once you have accepted the fee proposal, work commences on the design stages of your project.

CONCEPT DESIGN

Concept Design Sketch.jpg

For this stage we start by assessing the site conditions; we look at the surrounding environment and determine how the building can be placed and designed to make best use of the site’s assets while working within any constraints. Site conditions such as setbacks, orientation, neighbouring dwellings, easements and view corridors are all considered. We prepare a series of sketches for you, and discuss the various options and how they work with your site and lifestyle. These sketches, drawn by hand, focus on the planning and relationships between spaces. We believe it is essential to get the planning right before focusing on the form of the building (external appearance).

Other work completed during the concept design includes a preliminary estimate of the cost of works, which is based on previous similar projects. This estimate allows us to determine if the proposed design is meeting your budget.

With your approval of a final concept design we proceed to the design development stage and also assist in the coordination of any necessary sub-consultants.

DESIGN DEVELOPMENT

In design development we take the approved concept design sketches and turn them into a set of drawings and documents, commonly know as the final design. The drawings will not only add accuracy to the planning, but will focus on the form of the building and the materials that might be considered for use. A series of plans, elevations, and 3D perspective views will be provided so that you can visualise the building from all angles. You will also have access to a 3D model to play with at home.

Depending on the complexity of the design, these drawings will also be provided to sub-consultants, such as the structural engineer or sustainability consultant, for an initial review. An updated estimate of the cost of works will also be completed.

With your approval we proceed to the development application stage.

DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION

The approvals process is dependent on where you live and the type of project we are working on. We will take you through the processes available for your particular project at the beginning of this stage.

We prepare any development application documentation for all the relevant authorities and can attend pre-approval meetings when required. The documentation may include plans, diagrams, analyses, studies and reports. We will lodge all approval applications with the relevant authorities for you. We will also be there to provide further information to the authorities as required.

In this stage we may also start to discuss the design with a preferred builder. 

On receipt of any required authority approvals, we will ask for your approval to proceed to the construction documentation stage.

CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTATION

The construction documentation stage is where we focus on the fine details of the project and in particular the interior design. We do all the interior design work in-house so that the overarching design intent is realised and everything is coordinated with precision. It also allows us to work closely with you on every aspect of the project and tailor it to your needs. We can guide you through the many selections required so that you aren't overwhelmed. We can visit showrooms with you to select fixtures and fittings and will offer advice on the compatibility of selections.

A full set of drawings that include plans, elevations, construction sections, interior details and joinery design, electrical and lighting plans, and any relevant technical drawings will be provided alongside a specification which details all the materials, finishes, fixtures and fittings, and the quality of work required.

During this stage we will also be working closely with specialised consultants which could include:

  • geotechnical engineers; to complete a mandatory site soil classification,
  • asbestos consultants; to complete a mandatory assessment of asbestos in existing buildings,
  • structural engineers; to finalise the structural design and prepare technical documents for construction, and
  • energy assessors; to complete a mandatory energy efficiency rating.

We will discuss with you the preferred method of building contractor selection and prepare a pre-tender estimate of the cost of works. With your approval we submit for authority approval for construction and proceed with building contractor selection.

CONTRACTOR SELECTION

It is important to select the right builder for your project. Whilst we have working relationships with many excellent builders, we also like forming new relationships. If you have a builder in mind that we haven't worked with before, we will organise a meeting with them to understand how they work and talk to their past clients or architects whom have worked with them before.

The selection of a builder can be completed in two ways:

  • A preferred builder can be selected during the initial design process, typically in the design development or development application stages. This selection process allows us to seek initial costings from the builder and to then work closely with the builder during the construction documentation stage to refine the detailing of the project to match your budget. The builder will provide a final lump sum costing and we will assess whether this accurately reflects the scope of works.
  • A formal tendering process can be conducted where we invite up to four builders to cost the project using all the information gathered in the construction documentation stage. The process typically takes four weeks and concludes with a review of the tenders and a recommendation from us of which builder to select or, if required, which builder(s) to negotiate with.

Some of the builders we like working with include: Walmsley Building Solutions, Preferred Builders, BAL Building, WQM Building Group, Sutton and Horsley, Alliance Building Group, and Champness Builders.

CONTRACT ADMINISTRATION

Once a builder has been selected we seek your approval to prepare the contract documents. We will coordinate a time for you and the builder to sign and execute the contract documents before work commences. We typically use an Australian Institute of Architects and Master Builders of Australia approved contract which allows the architect to administer the project on your behalf. The contract has many clauses within it that provide security to the owner during the process.

During construction we manage the relationship with the builder and administer the contract from start to finish. This includes:

  • arranging regular site meetings with you and the builder;
  • tracking and reporting regularly on the progress and cost of the project; 
  • visiting the site to observe general conformance with the building contract and instructing the builder regarding design quality control, materials selections and performance; 
  • assessing any variations from the builder and obtaining your approval when required; 
  • assessing the builder’s progress payment claims and issuing progress certificates to you before you make each payment;
  • tracking all claims for extensions of time or any changes to monetary sums; and,
  • instructing the builder in regard to incomplete work and rectification of any defects. 

At the end of construction, we assess and determine whether practical completion has been met and then issue the notice of practical completion. On meeting this milestone the builder will hand over the project and you will be able to move in and enjoy the final result. A defects liability period commences at practical completion and we will continue to administer the project to ensure the builder returns and fixes any defects that arise. At the end of this period we will ask the builder to finalise any outstanding defects and determine final completion and issue the final certificate. This will formally conclude our services with you, but we are always happy to assist with anything in the future.