Where to start
First step is to visit the site and establish the existing site conditions, whether this be a clear flat site, heavily treed sloping site, built up residential site with existing structures etc.
We produce an existing site and floor plan and elevations to inform our design work. A record of the existing conditions is incorporated into the concept design output provided to you.
Depending on the applicability to your project, a land surveyor is typically engaged to provide a ‘levels and features’ survey. Some sites require the site boundaries to be re-established, especially if the intention is to build to boundaries.
Once we have been through the process of gathering information to establish the opportunities and constraints associated with the site, we will commence our concept design work. Drawings and diagrams are produced to represent the architectural principals being addressed, relationships among spaces (both internally and externally) and the beginnings of a plan layout. While we consider the likely three-dimensional resolution and materiality at this stage, this generally occurs in the background with real development of these aspects occurring in the design development stage.
The concept design work is then assessed against the preliminary budget to allow decisions to be made (as required) to bring the two (brief and budget) into alignment. Further design reviews occur at each subsequent stage. Typically two to three meetings are required in this phase.
The design concept is further developed and refined. A 3D computer generated model of the proposal is produced and communicated to you to allow for a better understanding of the design. The model is used to make decisions with relation to the overall form, location and extent of glazing, interaction with the external environment and site surrounds, materials and finishes. We start to consider the overriding structural system and what opportunities are created to work with parts of the structure as an element of the overall aesthetic.
If your project requires planning approval, an application is made once the 3D resolution of the design is agreed. Making changes to the design once we have a planning permit adds time and expense. This timeframe varies on a project-by-project basis.
You are asked to approve the documents supporting the town planning application at this point to allow us to submit the application on your behalf.
Once the planning permit is in hand (it is reasonable to allow 12-16 weeks for planning approval, which can vary on a project by project basis), we will then finalise the design development stage by looking at the internal aspects such as joinery layouts and finishes, fixtures fittings and equipment selections, detailed materials selection, selection of light fittings etc.
This information is recorded in a set of architectural schedules that are then incorporated in the Construction Documents. You are asked to participate actively in the selections/decisions to be made at this stage of the process. We will guide and support you in making the required selections.
You are asked to approve the detailed design documents at this point to allow us to move to the next stage.
The objectives of this stage are to produce a set of technical drawings and supporting written specification to allow the project to be tendered and a fixed price obtained from a Builder. The drawings reflect the level of detail required to ensure the design intent and architectural details can be effectively communicated and understood by the contractors. The documents are also used to obtain a building permit from a Building Surveyor.
The planning permit previously obtained does not constitute building approval. The technical drawings address the requirements of the Building Regulations, the National Construction Code (formally the BCA), Australian Standards and other industry codes and requirements.
Information from other consultants, like the structural engineer and thermal assessor (6 star rating), is developed and coordinated with the design drawings.
You are asked to approve the construction documents at this point to allow us to move to the next stage.
Multiple Builders will be assessed for their suitability to your project. Alternatively we can assist in assessing the suitability of your suggested Builder(s).
The construction documents are then issued to the Builder for pricing. Upon receiving tenders, we will prepare a Tender summary and an assessment of the cost breakdown and make recommendations as the preferred contractor. We can facilitate negotiations with the successful Tenderer to bring the cost of works into alignment with the adjusted project budget to allow the project to be constructed as required.
Depending on the applicability to your needs (i.e. complexity and type of the project) an Architect can (and I believe should) be engaged to administer the building contract. This service sees the Architect employed to manage time, cost and design quality outcomes and act as an independent assessor and certifier of the Builders progress claims.
We will apply our expertise to resolving design details and contractor queries/requests for information on site, coordinating additional consultant input, manage communication between yourself and the builder, assessing and certifying Builder’s claims related to time and cost.
Once you project has reached the completion stage, we continue our role as contract administrator to ensure practical completion has been achieved and a record of incomplete and defective work, which doesn’t necessarily stop you occupying the building, is known and seen to in a timely manner.