1 Site Visit
- Photographic recording of the site
- Observe surroundings, natural features, views, location of neighbouring buildings, orientation, available breezes, any visible services
We trust our process
We believe it is better to taking little steps in the right direction rather than to have to retrace our steps. We are committed to bringing you along on this journey and empowering you to make informed choices along the way, while ensuring we keep your final destination firmly in our sights.
We want you to feel ownership of the finished project and for it to feel familiar to you because you have been instrumental in getting there. Our aim for the process and the completed project to exceed your expectations.
This step is for a building to be retained, refurbished, renovated or extended
When commencing the design process for a renovation / extension of an existing house, the accuracy of the existing plan is very important. If you have copies of previous plans of the existing house this is a useful starting point from which to undertake our measured drawings.
Our measured drawing stage starts with field work to either verify the accuracy of the plans you supply, or to carry out a measure-up from scratch to produce an accurate set of documents of your existing home.
Our measure up will enable us to produce a 3D CAD model of your existing home (floor plan, 4 x elevations and 1 x section).
The 3D CAD model will become the basis for all subsequent design work, and will be used to present to you with basic 3D images of the proposed alterations and additions to your home. We have found this to be invaluable to explain a design to those unfamiliar with reading plans.
There are two types of survey which we may require for your project; a Detailed Terrain Map (DTM) Survey and an Identification (Ident) Survey.
A DTM produces a drawing which includes contours, levels, fence lines, building location (including roof overhangs), garden beds, driveways, paths, retaining walls, steps, visible services, significant trees and their canopy, and so on. An Ident Survey locates and pegs the actual corners of the property which may or may not be where the site fences are. An Ident is more likely to be required where setbacks to boundaries are going to be minimum dimension and the location of the actual boundaries need to be known to ensure compliance. Both of these Surveys are carried out by a Consultant Surveyor who we can connect you with, if required.
Both those services visible by a site inspection and/or DTM, and underground services through the ‘Dial-Before-You-Dig services, Council searches, and specialist Consultant underground service locators
A geotechnical engineer is needed to carry out bore hole tests on your site in a number of locations to take samples of the soil profile at varying depths, from which they determine the site classification. The site classification is necessary information for a structural engineer when they come to design footings for your project, as it lets them know the bearing capacity of the soil and, if it is clay soil, how reactive or stable it is.
We hold in-depth discussions with you about the spaces you need, how they will be used, the desired relationship between these spaces and their surroundings, and the general site usage.
This process results in a set list of spaces with detailed information about each space and a guide to the size we suggest each of these spaces should be. This is sometimes referred to as the project’s Room Data Sheets. Depending on the nature of the project these Room Data Sheets can include such information as required services, number of power/data outlets, need for specific acoustic properties, security, types of fixtures and fittings, loose furniture and any equipment that needs to to be accommodated for in the plan.
The size of these spaces is then reviewed by you, as what we suggest as a suitable size may be more or less than what you require. Our suggestions are a starting point from which you can compare these spaces to similar sized spaces you are familiar with and confirm how big or small each space in your project should be for you.
We convert the sizes of these spaces into a total anticipated building area by inclusion of allowances for internal and external walls thicknesses, circulation, and general storage to determine the total Gross Floor Area (GFA) of your proposed building.
This brief and building area is a benchmark which we refer back to through all future stages of the process. It is also what we use to base an initial opinion of the construction cost on (refer Budget). The brief and building area can be altered as required throughout the process, and by doing so we can discuss how any such changes will impact the projects’ final outcome, test changes to the brief against what was initially discussed, and what impact the changes might have to spatial relationships and to your construction cost.
This may be your:
i) Construction budget, or
ii) Whole of project budget which can include things like:
From the Project Briefing discussed above we will have determined the total Gross Floor Area (GFA) of the building, including allowances for internal and external walls thicknesses, circulation, general storage and so on.
Based on our knowledge of previous projects of similar types, and with reference to construction cost publications issued by the Construction Industry we can offer an opinion as to what a suitable preliminary construction budget might be. You should note that Architects are not Quantity Surveyors and any opinion we offer with regards to construction budgets should be treated as a guide only. Should you require more accurate estimates we strongly recommend you seek the services of a Quantity Surveyor. There are a number of local Quantity Surveyors we regularly work with, and we can we can assist you to access their services and provide them with the information they will require to enable them to advise you further.
i) Your expectations
ii) Key dates / milestones (eg where funding bodies impose their time frames on provision of funds)
iii) Our advice regarding realistic time frames based on our knowledge of the process
Design is a two-stage process:
i) Preliminary Design (PD) – Refer attached sample PD plan
Once we have gathered all the necessary information we can undertake preliminary design.
During this stage, we consider various layouts for rooms, spaces, and functions, and explore the relationships of these to each other and to the features of the site so that we capture available breezes, views, natural light and shade, and take advantage of all your property has to offer.
We use these layouts as the starting point from which to review your design brief and to confirm design parameters.
There are opportunities throughout this stage for client review and feedback, allowing you to re-evaluate your brief if necessary.
Your involvement at this early stage is important. The overall approach to the layout here paves the way for the whole project.
Comments are reworked into the initial concept ideas.
In many ways, the preliminary stage is the most critical. Several options can be explored. The full potential of the development is determined at this stage.
ii) Sketch Design (SD) – Refer attached sample SD plan
Based on the preliminary designs you approve in PD Stage, we work up more detailed plans, provide preliminary external elevations and explore concepts for the external expression of the building.
We prepare more detailed sketch plans and convert design drawings into CAD, which enables us to present preliminary exterior design in a sketch 3D format.
Again, there are opportunities for client review and approval.
Completion of PD and SD drawings will provide you with completed sketch design plans, to scale, showing all areas designed.
We set up basic working drawings in CAD for liaison with consultants, and assess and review construction techniques and details to an extent sufficient to discuss your design with them.
We engage other local consultants on our client’s behalf and liaise with these toward preliminary structural and services engineers’ designs.
The design is refined and client feedback is sought.
We prepare preliminary schedules of windows and doors, liaise with a Building Certifier and other authorities, and undertake a BCA compliance check.
Once our Design Services are complete, there are a couple of ways to proceed with documentation.
Our preference is to complete a full set of architectural documents including drawings, details, schedules and a full specification. This allows better control over the tender and construction stages. The Tenderer’s are all basing their price on the same information, the same quality of workmanship, same fixtures and finishes; essentially once tenders come in it should be relatively straightforward to compare between the submissions received.
It also means the documentation is comprehensive enough that what the Builder builds compares well with what both you and we expected and intended during design.
Without this level of documentation, there is a risk that what you understood you were getting is not what the Builder has allowed. This can make it difficult to compare tender prices as well as resulting in increased stress and potential conflict during construction.
We completely understand the limitations of Budget, however and although not our preferred method, we can offer a reduced service as long as you appreciate the limitations of this, the risks for you and the additional work you will need to undertake.
Our reduced scope of service is to produce Building Approval documentation only. This is limited to basic plans, elevations and a section. Basic window and door sizes are shown on the drawings and generic materials are noted.
Basic BA documents are sufficient to gain Building Approval, however there will not be sufficient information on these drawings to communicate with your Tenderer’s and with your selected Builder what finishes, fixtures and level of quality you require. The Builder will also be left to resolve any non-standard detailing themselves which can often result in a less refined or well considered solution. In our full service, these details are included in the detailed drawings and in the specification and schedules.
A basic set of Building Application drawings also does not describe the contract type you intend to enter into with your Builder, nor any contractual requirements you may have; specific to this project, e.g. start date, completion date, liquidated damages for not completing on time, requirements for insurances; who is responsible for what types of insurances and how much. These items are described in our specification which forms part of the contract documents when it comes time to sign a contract with your Builder.
Please note that there is a suite of Australian Building Industry Contracts (ABIC) contracts available (produced by both the MBA and Australian Institute of Architects) which has in it a role for the Architect to administer the contract. This gives some specific powers to the Architect to assess the work, certify progress claims and generally administer the contract fairly between the Owner and Contractor. There is value to including a role for an Architect in the construction process. Having been involved throughout the design and documentation of your project, we know the project intimately and understand the reason why the building has been designed in a particular way. Often times the Client or Builder neglect to consider the end goal for a project as it was originally designed and can make decisions for ease or cost during construction which, in the long run, may not line up to your expectation long term and which you will have to live with long after the Builder has moved on.
When we have a role with-in the contract we are also able to inspect the work and determine that the work is complete and defect free. We can instruct the Builder to carry out rectification of defects or to vary the work where required. We assess the Builder’s progress claim and certify their claim so that you only pay for work which is complete and defect free, we certify when the works have reached practical completion and manage the defect liability period through to final completion. If we are to be engaged to perform this service we will require a contract from the ABIC suite of contracts to be selected.