process

  • Construction projects are typically delivered in a series of work stages, which allow the design to be developed, tested and built – from developing the project brief with your architect to moving back in. Our process is based on the RIBA work stages, which we then tailor around each client and their specific requirements.

    Where possible we enjoy seeing a project through from first conversations up to completion.  This ensures that the initial vision of the project, which we develop together with our client, can be carried through and in every detail.  However, we ask our clients confirm our appointment in advance of each work stage and you can opt for a design service only, also.

    As the project progresses, it will become richer and more layered. Initial ideas will take shape and come to life by choosing and detailing materials.  We will test spaces to make a coherent whole, a collection of spaces which will work around you.  More broadly the scheme will be tested to work within its specific context. We believe each progressive stage should be used to make the design better and to maximise design quality.

    We work in a structured manner and we believe that every stage has a creative dimension and is an opportunity to make the project better! This is our staged approach:

    RIBA plan of work

  • Listening & building trust: We think it is essential to work closely with our clients and from the beginning we listen carefully to what our clients want to communicate. You are at the centre of making an excellent project. We will make time to record this listening and briefing process carefully. We will prepare a written brief for you, which becomes a live document and the first seed in the design process. As we move on to the concept design, we will illustrate and record atmospheres, likes, materials and big ideas that hold the project together until the project has a unique personality. We think it is important that you can put trust in us and we will work with you from the start to build this trust.

  • The transition from brief-making to proposition is fluid. We will usually ask a measured surveyor to accurately measure and draw the the existing condition before the propositional work begins. We will develop the concept design in two and three dimensions, using hand sketches, CAD drawings, 3D modelling and illustrations. In tandem we will examine and research the context of your property, review relevant planning policies and respond to these restrictions.

    We will work with you to establish 3-4 Key Design principles, which we aim to carry through to completion of the project. These are likely to include working with light and developing a specific, coherent spatial collection of spaces. We also aim to develop one aspect of the design that it unique to you and your project.

    Construction projects are teamwork and together, with you, we will put together a consultants team.

    As this stage comes to an end, you will have a first set of existing and proposed sketches, a draft schedule and an idea of how to approach the planning process. We also recommend to obtain an early costing – either through a contractor or an independent Quantity Surveyor.

  • Planning & detail design:  If you decide to appoint us for the more detailed stages, we will develop a set of drawings initially for submission to the planning authority and then for costing by contractors.

    We will develop particular aspects and packages of the scheme and be in contact with specialist contractors. Where required, our consultants and collaborators, notably the structural engineer, but also a party wall surveyor or quantity surveyor, will bring their expertise and design skills to the project, as more detailed layers are added to the design.

    We will advise on building regulations and other technical approvals and assist with notices to neighbours.

    The planning process will usually take eight weeks from validation. Once you have approved and signed off schedules and construction information as required for detailed costing and the contract, we will invite contractors to price the project. We will meet them on site and will respond to their queries. We work both with contractors you might suggest and a team of contractors we have worked with previously and can recommend.

    Pending on your project and time scales, we will either ask a preferred contractor to cost or will invite contractors to price competitively. We will advise on the most appropriate form of contract and ensure that your budget and aspirations are met.

     

  • Works on site are about to commence: We will arrange contract meetings with you and the chosen contractor and will usually prepare the contract for you and the contractor to sign. The contractor then will receive a construction issue package from us, which is an extended revision of the tendering documents. Assuming all relevant permissions are in place and health and safety requirements have been assessed, the contractor can start on site.

    During the build, the contractor will supervise the work on a day-to-day basis and be responsible for the proper carrying out and completion of construction works and for health and safety provisions on site. This usually includes detailed checking of dimensions or testing materials. They will organise and co-ordinate the works and their workmen. Unless otherwise agreed, they are responsible for all material orders under the contract. They are also responsible for ensuring the works proceed in accordance with the agreed schedule.

    We will monitor progress on site against the contractor’s programme and certify valuations and payments. We will carry out regular site visits and answer any design queries. Once the contract works are completed, we will issue a certificate of practical completion and will review the accounts. We will also collate warranties and contractor’s certificates. After this the rectification period will start during which time the contractor must rectify any defects. After this, we will issue the final certificate and settle the final accounts.

     

  • Essentially our fees are on a time charge basis (£/h 30 to 40 for and assistant, £/h 45.00 to 95.00 for a qualified architect in-house and £/h 115.00 for directors out-of-house.

    Where we can, we will provide lump sums in advance.

    Architect’s fees for standard services can roughly be broken down in percentage fees of and on top of the construction costs (i.e., the costs to build excluding VAT). Our architectural fees vary pending on the scale of the project. As a guideline our fees for standard services for construction costs in the regions of 200-250K ex VAT are approx. 14 to 17%. The percentage gets lower the higher the construction budget, as small projects still have to run through all stages and are proportionally more time intense, their percentage fees are typically higher.

    For standard services, Architects spend approx. 1/3 of their time on design up to planning/permitted development (RIBA stage 2/3), 1/3 on detailing, costing and appointing contractors (RIBA stages 3/4&5) and 1/3 for construction up to practical completion (stage 6).

    The construction cost can vary a lot pending on what type of spec you would go for, as an indication a lower spec for a Victorian house in London would be in the region of £/m2 1500, a higher spec in the region of £/m2 3200+.