Exploring your options and collaboratively creating the scope of work.
Developing the scheme of work - to include as much information as possible before pricing.
A formal bid for the work will be provided, along with a follow up meeting for further discussion/ revisions of the bid.
A programmed build process with all trades and specialists succintly managed through to the completion of works.
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A site visit and an initial conversation where we offer any general advice in advance of the design process. We then make referrals to our trusted pool of architects who can visit and discuss the feasibility of any initial ideas. Our aim is to leave you with a very clear picture of the process ahead and try to flag any possible issues ahead of time. We may also be able to give some indication of approximate per square metre costing for the project - but this is only loosely indicative and designed purely to assess initial feasibility for the customers desired budget.
Real architecture involves much more than outline planning drawings and a vague brief. To ensure build quality, the project scheme should be a developed design - to satisfy building control, and which considers all the nuances involved with the interactions of the materials being used. It is also about following on with the developed scheme - to ensure that the vision of the build is executed by the builder. The architect should also be able to offer initial budget guidance input.
The contract administrator (in our case the architects we work with) will take on a role of guiding you through the contract process, both in the design phase and during the contract phase - once the build is underway. The administrator is legally responsible for representing both party’s interests fairly - they will attend valuation meetings and certify any work that is invoiced by the builder/ subsequent interim payments, and generally keep an eye on how things are moving along with the project, offering input throughout. Having somebody officially administer the contract helps eliminate a lot of the stresses of a project and gives customers and contractors further piece of mind.
It can often feel a bit daunting for customers to go through the process of obtaining planning permission, but it really shouldn't be a feared part of the process. An architect with a comprehensive knowledge, developing a sympathetic architectural scheme, along with a gentle pre-emptive approach - is more often than not very successful, and can make the process much less painful.
Once you have secured planning permission (as applicable) and have engaged the architect to develop the scheme, very often there will be elements of the build that will require a structural engineer's input. The engineer can be engaged to provide an engineering calculation pack for any fabricators to refer to and provide the sketches for how the work will be done. They may also be required to develop a 'temporary works package' - which denotes how the work should be phased when undertaking the structural work - i.e. In what order loads might be propped and new beams installed etc.
Once you have a developed set of drawings (and engineer's specification - as applicable), your architect can then help you with an application for building control consent. Whereby a fee proposal will be made by a building control officer, and upon the customer's agreement of the fee, they can work alongside the builder to visit the site as appropriate and provide sign off certification for your project.
If there are any specialist elements to the build - a damp proofing specialist, or a hand-crafted zinc roofing specialist as examples - these subcontractors can be approached ahead of time, and their design input can feed into the specification of the scheme as required. It is rare that these elements of the work will impact on the planning permission or building control sign off, but this part of the design process can be undertaken sooner as required, or material alteration to the terms of the planning permission can be requested thereafter.
Some architects will offer an in-house interiors package as part of their overall service, others will prefer to make a specialist referral to an interior designer. There is no obligation to develop an interior design scheme, as you may wish to do this yourself in due course.
With all information in hand, we can develop an itemised quotation, with a full breakdown of all line item costs for the work, including site set up/ preliminaries, and the ‘Overhead & Profit’ rate we apply. We work with our customers to revise this 'budget bid' as necessary, to hone the scope of the work to preference and look at how we can help ‘value engineer' the scope to meet customer budget as possible. This may take several revisions, and also helps us fully understand the requirements and familiarise ourselves with the details. We may also arrange some face to face 'pre-contract' meetings, to ensure clarity ahead of the next stage. At this stage we will also be able to provide an accurate overall timeframe for the project.
Once there is some agreement of the overall works involved and the attached contract sum, we will arrange a contract meeting with the administrator, you (the customer), our quantity surveyor, site supervisors, and the site manager/ contracts manager. The contract is talked through, and if all parties are happy to proceed, the contract is signed. We may at this stage also be able to offer a general works programme - detailing how things will unfold throughout the project - sometimes further information is still required for a developed programme, but it will be provided prior to any start onsite.
These meetings will typically be either bi-weekly or monthly dependent on the scale of the project and the cash flow factors involved. We will submit our valuation document for any completed work on the relative date, and the administrator will then follow up given their visit and review of the document. There may be a few changes to note, but typically within a few days they will certify the works as complete. The customer will have time and opportunity to raise any of their own queries also, prior to invoice. Thereafter, we will send a VAT invoice for the valuation.
Depending on the size of your project we will appoint a qualified working site supervisor and a site manager. Larger projects will require full time onsite site managers in addition to the full-time supervisor, due to the complexities and demands involved - to keep the build programme at an optimal pace. There will be extensive circular communication between all professional parties involved throughout the project. Daily contact and updates are available if desired – however, we do endeavour to only ask questions relating to customer preference, as we appreciate the upheaval is disruptive enough to everyday life for our customers. The extensive pre-work should mean that most details have been thought about in advance.
Once the works on site are coming to an end, a snag list will be compiled, and our customer/s will have the opportunity to add to it at that point in time. The work will be completed exhaustively, and then there will be an opportunity for our customer to provide a 2nd snag list with any further snags they might have noticed. Once works are complete, the contract administrator will provide a practical completion certificate. The typical retention period will generally be 6 months - and our customers will retain a proportion of the total build cost for that time.
We will then return any time within the retention period as requested, to ensure that any potential issues with finishes or subsequent teething issues are made right - prior to the final valuation and sign off being provided by the administrator. (Certificates from building control and any specialist subcontractor certification is provided for the customer also). And you can then fully begin to enjoy the fruits of the work.
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