Its always good to decide early what your needs are before you visit your architect. Your needs are defined by how much persons will be occupying your project (spaces) and your reason for building (to live, rental, resale) and your budget (this defines how much you can build). Your architect will also help you to define your design scope with questions that form a part of the first design interview. After which your architect will do a site visit of your property and define your scope against what is possible based on the constraints of the site.
We use a variety of communication tools that include email, Skype (this is always on), Facetime for iPhone and online project management tools to manage information for your project to record your needs to ensure we design exactly what you want.
We have designed a number of projects for clients that are overseas and communicated virtually, very successfully. We have long abandoned sending only drawings to clients. Our technology allows us to send photo realistic images, virtual walkthroughs and virtual models to our clients that can be opened in free applications for your desktop computer, iPhone and android devices. Our clients have been able to navigate through the virtual models in a game like environment to see materials furniture, fixtures and have an exact experience of the project before it’s built. They are able to see what they are getting and instruct us to make changes where necessary.
Yes the design process is divided into a number of stages. The amount of stages depends on the services you desire and your project type. Typically a design project is broken down into five stages:
- Design Development
- Construction Documents
- Tendering and Contractor Schedule
- Project Management and Contract Administration
Phase 1: Briefing
- Receiving the client's initial instructions and statements of requirements;
- Advising the client on possible courses of action;
- Acquainting the client with the Conditions of Engagement and scale of fees;
- Visiting the site;
- Examining legislation and codes as they might affect the project;
- Making inquiries with the Town and Country Planning Division;
- Undertaking a preliminary technical appraisal of the project to assist the client to decide whether and in what form to proceed;
- Advising the client on the need for consultants;
- Preparing with the client a Schedule of Accommodation and an approximate estimate of the cost of meeting the client's requirements; and
- Preparing an outline timetable and a suggested contract procedure
PHASE 2: Design Development (Preliminary and Schematic)
- Obtaining from you ‘the client’ or having prepared at the client's expense, soil tests, and other such tests required to provide essential design data for subsoil conditions. Tests shall be carried out as directed by the Architect and Consulting Engineers.
- This stage is a more detailed design process to refine the schematic designs completed in the previous stage. This will include the contracted services of other consultants (such as a structural and civil engineer and quantity surveyor) where necessary and upon the approval of the client.
- Where possible samples and availability of products will be confirmed prior to selection.
- Assisting with the application for outline approval from statutory bodies as is necessary at this stage. Obtaining approval from the client to proceed to the next stage.
PHASE 3: Construction Documents
- Coordination of all consultants to prepare a comprehensive set of construction documents, to include: specifications, schedules and working drawings.
- The production of construction/fabrication documents with specifications on finishes, fixtures and fittings.
- Assisting with the application for full building approval from statutory bodies.
PHASE 4: Tendering and Selection of Contractor
- Coordination of all consultants to prepare a comprehensive set of tender documents, to include: specifications, schedules, Bill of Quantities and working drawings that will be used for the selection of a contractor.
PHASE 5: Project Management and Contract Administration:
- Supervision of the works being carried out during the construction of the project till completion of project.
- This stage is typical and forms part of the services offered under a standard form of architectural contract.
Typically we need the following: 1. Copy of title for property. 2. Copy of paid up land tax receipt. 3. Copy of surveyors ID indicating boundaries of property. 4. Topographical Survey of property (if sloping or hilly) 5. Images of a similar project to indicate your design style preference
Architects charge in a variety of ways depending on the project size, type and scope. The charge types are: • Percentage of construction cost • Lump sum or Fixed fee • By the hour
No, all fees are not paid all at once and usually involves the payment of a retainer to start the project and the remainder to produce a schematic design and the rest of fees are broken down into the remaining stages till completion.
No, We are not contractors but instead architects. However we can either recommend contractors we have worked with or formulate and oversee a tender selection process to select a contractor for your project depending on the scope.
Yes this is typical to the service we provide under a full service contractual agreement.
Yes, we would first have to visit your property to view the state and determine the scope of works before we accept as a project.
We remove the pain of the submission process from our clients by submitting all projects on their behalf and monitor the approval process with all relevant regulatory bodies.