Raum Architects offers a unique and personal service to ensure every element of your project from the initial concept to its completion is delivered to the highest standard.
Whether you are looking for tradition or innovation, boldness or understatement, an Architect can lift your project out of the ordinary. It takes an Architect to maximize the potential of an existing building or site and do it with flair, imagination and style. Many people are unaware of the difference between Architects and Designers and consequently often end up with compromised design solutions for the sake of a lower fee.
Be sure to check with the Architect's Registration Board to confirm you have a qualified and registered professional.
Not only can Architects provide value for money, but professional attention to detail will achieve value through the most efficient use of space, and careful selection of palette, materials and finishes. Environmental and contextual sensitivity, energy efficiency, low maintenance costs can bring extra benefits to your project and long term savings.
The very first meeting which allows a client and Architect to meet and establish the extent of work the project entails. Usually held at the project site, this meeting is important to afford the client an understanding of the processes involved in a project. It also allows for an understanding of the scope of works the project requires and the desired level of services the client wishes the Architect to undertake. The outline brief and initial budget is established at this meeting and this will assist the Architect in accurately pricing the services required and providing the client with a quotation for the works requested.
The issue of the fee quotation forms the final element for this first stage. There is no charge for this initial consultation.
The feasibility commences upon the agreement with the architect’s fee proposal, confirmed in writing through a recognized standard appointment document.
There was once a time when a percentage of the contract value (or prior to this, the budget) could be used to gauge the cost of services. This is still a fair reckoner although now many Architectural practices base costs on the time required to complete the work stages required.
In short, a fixed cost for each stage that is reached by calculating the hours against a project hourly rate.
Payment is split part prior to commencement, part prior to presentation or submission for each stage of work.
The feasibility analyses the existing site conditions in terms of scale, sun path, boundaries, topographical arrangement. The site is recorded through photographs and is balanced against the project brief to develop an initial design proposal. This information is collated in a document through images, diagrams, plans and visuals. It is often recommended that at this stage a Quantity Surveyor is appointed to give an outline breakdown initial costing. A QS appointment would be outside the fee proposal and the appointment would be direct with the client. A quotation for this element can be sought prior to instruction.
The feasibility proposal is conveyed into accurate drawings incorporating any modifications taken on-board as a response to the feasibility. The current required documentation for an application includes a full set of floor plans, elevations, site plan and location plan all drawn to scale, a design and access statement and any other local validation requirements defined by the site's attributes, the extent of the proposal and the Local Authority . This is submitted with the appropriate fee (householder development currently circa £180) to the Local Authority for consideration.
If the proposal is considered contentious, it is recommended to undertake a pre-submission consultation or seek pre-submission advice with the relevant case officer.
Factors highlighted in this process can be adopted or countered in the submission documentation. The target decision date for a standard planning application is 8 weeks. Unfortunately planning approval cannot be guaranteed; sometimes a compromise on size, scale or features may have to be made in order to secure approval. All avenues will be considered and the closest marrying of the brief and acceptability under planning policy will be met. It is recommended the Quantity Surveyor costing is updated at the completion of this stage.
Further to the planning approval, a range of detailed information will be required prior to any building work commencing. Depending on the service required this can include drawings for Building Regulations approval only or construction drawings and schedules.
With all statutory approvals met, this stage is about preparing a complete set of documentation from which the contractor or builder can construct the project. This is the ‘instruction manual for the project’, upon completion of this stage there should be very few unanswered questions about the execution of works.
The collation of this information makes for an accurate pricing pack for tender.
Having produced all the work and decided on the preferred procurement method for the project, this is the stage that allows you to obtain costs on the open market. There are again a couple of options with procuring a project: Negotiated Tender (with one preferred contractor) or Competitive Tender (pitting contractors against each other through a controlled cost submission route. Deciding on preferred method is largely dependent on the complexity of the project, the competence of the contractor and the confidence of the client.
With an agreed quotation for the works, the client and the contractor sign a contract to that effect. The client agrees to pay the agreed price and the contractor to deliver the building fully as proposed. The site supervision stage is generally the enforcement of the contract with regular valuations of the work, inspections to see that the specification is being adhered to and refining and resolving any aspects that arise during the construction.
Further information and guidance is available to download from the reference page.