Of course the service we provide can be tailored to your needs. Our experience is that clients may have relationships with a preferred contractor that will not require full services. Others may have inherited a planning consent that requires tweaking or a helping hand to deliver the project on site.
Services are broadly based on the revised RIBA plan of work, as outlined below. Neel's experience covers all stages for a broad range of projects, from the smallest of bespoke extensions, to large scale housing projects.
The RIBA Plan of Work
This involves an initial free Architect's consultation at the project site, in order to establish your needs and to identify site specific opportunities or constraints, including any planning and technical issues to be further appraised. This is also the first chance to appraise budget project costs.
This meeting will determine the best approach to your project, tailored to your needs and assist us to understand the best approach to your project.
As we develop your project further, this stage includes any planning submission that may be required. Sensitive projects, including those in Conservation Areas and Listed Buildings may require a convincing, well pepared Design and Access or Heritage Statement or more detailed modelling.
Neel has years of experience, designing and obtaining planning for interventions in sensitive areas, often succeeding in using a contemporary approach to deliver elegant, modern, functional spaces, even in the context of Listed Buildings.
Towards the end of this stage we should have a fair idea (subject to consents) of the form the final project will take and we may be able to commence more technical design, including any additional input from relevant professionals including Party Wall Surveyors and Engineers.
This stage bridges the design and construction phases and involves the preparation of full information for tendering a project. Even if you have a builder in mind, it is useful to have a full record of what is to be built as part of your agreement. This stage eliminates any questions as to what was priced to be built.
Ideally these documents will form part of a written building contract between you (the employer) and the builder (the contractor).
If you do invite tenders, depending on the scale of the project, you may engage a Quantity Surveyor to act on your behalf. This may not be necessary for domestic projects and we are more than happy to assume this role.
We can also analyse tender returns and help you appoint the right contractor for your project. This stage also includes the drafting of the building contract, where used.
Handover and Close Out
Upon completion, once the job has been snagged, half the retention money that has built up over the project will be certified to be released to the contractor.
The final sum will be paid after an agreed time, to ensure that everything is just as it should be. This allows any teething issues or defects to emerge and be rectified. This marks the end of the building contract.
This stage usually commences with a measured survey to produce drawings of existing buildings which will be an accurate reference for all future proposals.
This is followed by a feasibility study including the production of sketch proposals for discussion. You will be encouraged to be heavily involved at this stage. Some of the best solutions come directly from clients.
Depending on the complexity of the project, particularly in sensitive locations, this may involve the submission of pre-application enquires to Planning and Conservation authorities. We will then be able to confirm the scheme's viability and fine tuning the design to your needs and the Local Authority’s requirements.
As the title suggests, this is where we carry out the technical design of your project.
By now, with planning consent in hand, we will know what will be built. This stage deals more with the how we will build it.
The main body of work for this stage is the Building Regulations submission. The local authority will assess the compliance of the scheme with the regulations, including information prepared separately by your appointed Structural Engineer.
Using an Architect to administrate a building contract is a useful safeguard against potential disputes, when your project gets to site. By this stage, although appointed by you, the employer, an Architect should remain impartial. Although it is best to build precisely what has been priced, the reality is that things change on all projects. We will value any variations in the contract fairly.
Under most building contracts, payment of work will only be required, at regular agreed intervals, when value and certified by the contract administrator. A retention fund (usually 5%) will also be held, reducing the likelihood of works being unfinished.
This stage has recently been introduced to allow the performance of a project to be reviewed. What worked really well? What worked a little less well? What could be done better? What is the energy performance of the property?
We see this as an ongoing part of our overall development, rather than a specific client service.