1. Initial Enquiry / Appointment
Right from the start of a project we use our skills to add expertise, quality and value to your project. We will confirm our appointment to you by using a tailored RIBA forms of appointment, which is in the form of this letter., We will discuss your project requirements, ideas, budget and timescale with you in order to make sure we understand your brief. Following this, the first step is to visit your property or site to undertake a visual survey. This is also a great opportunity to discuss our ideas with you in more detail before beginning our design and drawings.
2. Feasibility Drawings
We will prepare scheme design drawings based on your defined brief and can email or meet with you to discuss these and any changes that you might like to make. We always ask for your sign off on the scheme design, and invite your comments and discussion, and we never proceed to the next stage of work without your approval.
3. Planning Drawings
Once the scheme design has been agreed, we shall develop the drawings into a full set of planning drawings and apply to the Council for Planning Approval or Permitted Development. If your building is listed or in a Conservation Area then we will also make the relevant applications.
4. Scheme Design Review
Following planning approval we believe it is a good idea to interrogate and improve upon the design elements of the scheme before we freeze the design for the building control approval / construction phase. This is an opportunity to make layout adjustments or include new elements into the scheme if required.
5. Design Freeze
At this point we “fix” the overall design so that more detailed work can begin, this includes engaging other consultants in the process and working up the design so it is suitable for construction. Obviously tweaks to the scheme as the design becomes more detailed are part of the later phases of the project but major changes to the scheme should be avoided beyond this point. For example, if you decided to add a roof terrace or change the height of the building this could have knock on implications that may affect party wall agreements or structural designs. Any additional changes beyond this point are of course possible but they may incur additional work and fees.
6. Building Control Drawings
Once Planning Approval or Permitted Development has been granted, the next stage is to produce a set of detailed technical drawings. Other consultants, such as a structural engineer may be required at this stage, we will coordinate the input from these consultants. Our technical drawings will show how the building is to be constructed and will address all aspects of compliance with Building Regulations, such as thermal efficiency & building safety. Following your approval of the detailed design, we will submit this for Building Regulations Approval.
7. Tender and Contracts
We will suggest recommended contractors that are suitable for your project, and invite chosen contractors to tender for the work. Once tenders have been received we will report to you and assist in selecting the best value contractor for your project. We will give our advice and guidance on the most suitable form of contract for your project, as well as completing the paperwork on your behalf to be signed by you and your contractor. A well written building contract is essential to give you peace of mind during the construction.
8. Construction Drawings
We will produce the drawings necessary to explain the construction works to a contractor in order to build the project. Our services also include detailed interior drawings and plans such as precise kitchen and bathroom designs, and bespoke interior architectural details. In addition we will write a detailed specification document itemising all of the work involved in the construction of the design. Collating this information before works starts ensures that the project is of the best quality possible.
As part of our role during the construction phase we will maintain day-to-day contact with the builder on your behalf. Additionally, we will regularly visit the site and carry out inspections of the work to ensure that it is to the quality stipulated in the contract documents. If we identify any defective or incorrect work during these inspections, the contract empowers us to issue Architect’s Instructions to the builder to rectify this, at no cost or delay to the client. We will deal with any queries arising from site and will provide the contractor with additional information as necessary. We will also regularly value the works completed, issue interim certificates of these valuations, and check the invoices from the builder to yourselves.
As contract administrator we will certify when Practical Completion is achieved. We will carry out a detailed inspection, and if necessary will draw the contractor’s attention to any issues which are not in accordance with the contract and which need to be addressed before we will certify Practical Completion. Once Practical Completion has occurred and you have taken occupation of your new building we will continue to be on hand, and will carry out further inspections so that we can instruct the contractor to return and rectify any defects arising. Only at the end of the defects liability period will we carry out our final inspection and issue our Final Certificate.