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JEA Client Journey

This page is written as a guide to assist you on your journey through your project from concept through to completion with JEA. It is written in order to help educate you about the steps and processes that we will guide you through on the project.



Please understand that we have finite resources in JEA and as such we strive to deliver excellence at all times, so efficient communication is key to that at all times.


We insist that all correspondence during the project up until stage 04 (Construction) shall be done through email where possible, before resorting to a phone call. We ask that you do this because of our workload and programs and because we have so many new enquiries, that we need to prioritise our phone time wherever possible.

Refer back to this document if you have any general enquiries before reaching out to us with a question as most general questions will be answered here. If your question refers to a specific design or admin issue related to your project, having that in an email allows us to best respond and record what we need to do to help.


If the query is urgent please book a call with the member of the team as needed.


It is a requirement of the RIAI Code of Conduct that architects must agree on all fees in writing prior to commencement of work. You will have received your fee agreement and signed this off as part of your acceptance. 


Please familiarise yourself with all aspects of the agreement, we have included a webpage in your agreement that explains how fees are calculated, so please be clear on this and all aspects of the agreement before proceeding with your project. 


Project Budget 

From our experience as the design and project develops, so can the client's ideas or design brief. As a result, it is likely the project's budget will increase from the initial budget used in the fee agreement. Other factors which may increase the budget can be outside factors such as the availability of builders, expansion of the project scope and general inflation during the project so it’s important to be aware that this can and most likely will occur.


JEArchitecture always aims to aid the client during the design with the budget being a core element in how we develop our design from the beginning. 

We will insist that you employ a Quantity Surveyor at the design stage and again at the detail design stage to assist with the budgeting, but ultimately the budget will always be driven by client needs and desires, so please cut your cloth before you point at the architects because your budget has outpaced your bank balance. 

Stage 01 – Scheme Design/Concept Drawings

The first stage involves the formulation of a design brief from the clients and is a huge factor in helping JEA cater the design to your needs.


The brief will usually contain some of the following items to help JEA in developing the initial design proposals –

  • Budget                                            - Spatial Requirements/Programme

  • Character/style/materials               - Lifestyle/activities to be accommodated

  • Environmental/upgrades                - Site & Planning Constraints

JEA must inform you that at this design stage, a Project Supervisor of the Design Stage (PSDP) must be appointed for the purpose of Health & Safety Regulations. JEA will offer this service within the fee agreement. The appointment must be signed in writing and along with this the AF1 form must be filled out and posted to the HSA.

As the brief is being developed JEA will carry out a detailed survey of the existing property or site if the project involves a new build to create existing drawings as part of the design process. This brief meeting may be a separate meeting or may happen at the same time as the survey is carried out, depending on the complexity of the project. 


From here JEA will take your design brief and begin to develop the design aiming to incorporate as many items in the brief as the budget or design allows for. JEA will then take the budget, brief and survey away and work on your designs. This can take anywhere from 6-8 weeks again depending on the complexity of your project.

Once the design is ready, JEA will then send the design to a Quantity Surveyor, to create a cost plan of the design to have an approximate costing of the design. JEA along with the QS may need to tweak the design to bring it in on budget before presentation to the clients. The figure will more than likely go up from here but it gives a good starting point on the project costs. 

The design will then be presented through a suite of presentation drawings including site plans, floor plans, elevations and sections. This will also include 3D Renders of the proposal and a physical 3D Model of the proposal.

The design may then be tweaked through additions or items being removed and the client will confirm in writing via email a final sign off on stage 01 and instructions to proceed to stage 02.


Stage 02 – Developed Design – Planning Application

At this stage, the design will have been agreed upon and can now be developed in further detail to comply with relevant planning regulations and standards depending on the County Council.


JEA will produce a set of planning drawings for the client to review before lodgement with the council. This is an important stage and the client should have any proposed changes required brought to the architect as any changes after planning is lodged can add further delays, costs and may result in a new planning application and further costs.

As part of the application, additional consultants may be required. JEA will seek quotations for required services at this stage and have the client confirm these before instructing these additional professionals. All consultant fees are paid directly by the client. Consultants needed can include the following –

  • Planning Consultant (If in the opinion of the architects, the project scope is difficult in planning compliance and would need additional expertise)

  • Civil Engineers (May be required to design Surface Water/Waste Water Design proposals)

  • Roads Engineers (May be required for new entrances/parking solutions)

  • Conservation Architect (May be required where a listed building requires specialist input)

Depending on the project additional documents may be required to support the application and will be included in the fee agreement above. This can include supporting statements, design rationale reports and rural housing compliance reports.

All associated administrative work will be completed by JEA as part of the agreement.


The planning application will be managed by JEA and any resulting correspondence received will be passed on to the client in a timely manner.

Laminated site notices will be posted out to the client with instructions on where to erect them on site. It is the Clients responsibility to make sure they are erected in the correct location and in a timely manner. 

You can take the site notice after the initial grant has been recieved.

Approximate Planning Timelines following lodgement-

  • 8 weeks   - To give an initial decision of a grant/refusal.

  • 4 weeks   - for the final grant of permission. This decision will be open to objections from the public for a further 4 weeks. This                    means the final grant is not valid until the 4 weeks elapse.

Additional Information – The council can request further information on a planning application to aid them in making their decision. This can involve additional drawings, consultant reports for example. Once requested the applicant must respond within a period of 6 Months.

Additional Information submissions if required may take several weeks to compile. Once Additional Information has been lodged with the council, the initial decision will fall due 4 weeks from that date.

Compliance Submissions

Following a grant of permission, the council may ask for compliance documents/drawings on various items prior to commencement of the project on site. JEA can complete these items for you or have consultants aid in this being completed if required. Compliance submissions if required may incur Additional costs for this work, which is dependent upon the council's request.


If the decision is (i) granted and appealed by a third party, or (ii) the design is refused, or (iii) has been granted with conditions the client would like to contest/appeal this can be appealed to An Bord Pleanala within a period of 4 weeks after the date of the decision.


The client must inform JEA in a timely manner if they wish to appeal because this appeal requires the preparation of separate documents which takes time to formulate. If JEA does not have the time to prepare this document we may not be able to make your appeal in time. 


In some cases where the appeal is complex, JEA will require a planning consultant to carry out the appeal. In this case, JEA can advise on an appropriate planning consultant and seek quotations for said additional work. Note that any appeal made to An Bord Pleanala will incur additional costs for this work which is dependent on what's involved.

Stage 03 – Detail Design – Building Drawings Specification & Tender

Once the project has been developed to the relevant planning standards JEA will produce a set of detailed construction drawings and specifications to enable the project to be priced through either a traditional tender or negotiated tender.


JEA will review the details of the build with the client at the beginning of this stage to agree on everything from construction methods to finishes, as all of this detail will go into the construction drawings and specifications. These items will depend on the project type - new build, conversion/extension or deep retrofit. The drawings and Building specifications will be in Compliance with the up to date Building Regulations. 

It is up to the client to check the drawings, specifications and resulting BOQ before agreeing on a contract price.

Traditional Tender

If this route is chosen, JEA will produce a full set of construction drawings, written specifications and a preliminary health and safety plan along with any relevant consultant drawings/specifications and formulate a tender package. JEA will compile a list of suitable builders with a minimum of 3 chosen which the client can add to if required. Builders will be chosen on the basis of quality. The tender package will be sent out to the contractors for competitive pricing and returned in a predetermined time.

JEA will complete a tender summary for the client to aid them in their decision on choosing a contractor. Once chosen the builder will enter in to a contract with the client with JEA as the contract administrator. In turn, the builder has contracts with specialist sub-contractors and with suppliers of materials. The RIAI Code of Professional Conduct states that your RIAI independent consulting architect will have no financial interest in any building contracting firm and receives no commissions or discounts from contractors or suppliers, so you can be sure that the advice you get is free of any conflict of interest.

Negotiated Tender

With this route, JEA will advise on employing a Quantity Surveyor to complete a Bill of Quantities (BOQ) based on the tender package. This will include a full cost breakdown and rates to enter into negotiation with a preselected contractor of which JEA will advise. The main difference being the BOQ will formulate the price which is sent to the contractor to negotiate on and agree a project sum.


Once chosen the builder will enter in to a contract with the client with JEA as the contract administrator. In turn, the builder has contracts with specialist sub-contractors and with suppliers of materials. The RIAI Code of Professional Conduct states that your RIAI independent consulting architect will have no financial interest in any building contracting firm and receives no commissions or discounts from contractors or suppliers, so you can be sure that the advice you get is free of any conflict of interest.

Project costs and associated timelines will be re-evaluated and agreed upon at the end of this stage.

Following the appointment of the contractor, a competent Project Supervisor of the Construction Process (PSCS) must be employed by the client, this is usually the main contractor but can be an independent appointment. Once appointed this is agreed in writing and the resulting AF2 form must be filled in and lodged to the HSA for H&S compliance.

JEA will begin Preparing Health & Safety Folder for handing over to the client following practical completion.


If required JEA will prepare and lodge the BCMS package for a commencement notice which is included in the fee agreement.
As a building owner, it is your responsibility to comply with the requirements of the Building Control Act and Regulations as they apply to building owners which includes for the giving of notices and the appointment of suitable competent persons to design and construct the works.

Depending on the size of the project you may be required to appoint a Design Certifier and an Assigned Certifier and to comply with Building Control Regulations 2014 (S.I. No.9). This is an additional service which may be undertaken by JEA as a separate appointment and charge. Note that if your project requires an Assigned Certifier under the BCMS and you choose not to opt out of this role, there will be an additional fee charged for taking on the role of Assigned Certifier.


Where S.I. No.9 applies, the building cannot be occupied or used until completion has been certified by the builder and the Assigned Certifier/Architect, and has been accepted on the building control register.

Stage 04 – Site Stage – Inspection & Certification of Work 

JEA will help you evaluate the tenders received, and, when construction starts, act as your independent advisor during building work, liaising with the builder but independently of them, and inspecting the work at intervals on your behalf to ensure that it is being carried out generally in accordance with the contract documents and tracking progress of the works completed.

JEA will advise you on stage payments during the project, and will not certify payments unless the work complies with the specifications and work completed on site. JEA will track works completed or materials on site and show this in their interim stage payments. This will be shared with the client through a live BOQ document where live costs can be tracked by the client.

During construction, it is best that you NEVER give instructions directly to the contractor, because what can seem a simple change may have cost and time implications not easily foreseen. If you think you do need to make changes, discuss these with your architect to make sure that they are necessary and so that any additional cost can be established and controlled. If you want to avoid surprises and unforeseen costly over runs, involve the architect at all times.

Remember that the architect is not the builder, and does not supervise the work, that is the builder’s job. During the construction stage, the architect administers the building contract as your agent but is legally required to act fairly between you and the builder.

Remember that the builder is in business to make a profit. Your relationship with the builder should be on a business basis.



The Architect’s work continues after the building work is finished, as part of all payments due to the builder a 'retention' figure is held back for up to twelve months and is only paid out, on the architect’s instruction, after any defects have been rectified by the builder. This is known as retention. This figure is usually 5% of the payment and will come off each stage payment. Half of the retention is due to the contractor on Practical Completion, with the final 2.5% due after the defects period. This retention will be paid into a separate account administered on behalf of the client and builder by JEA.

JEA will track progress and in their opinion when the works are practically complete to allow the occupants return to the building and use it for its intended use, will issue a certificate of practical completion.

This is a key point in the project as it transfers insurance from the builder back to the client so the client must make their home insurer aware this has been issued and their insurance now covers the house again. This is also the stage where half the retention money will be paid to the contractor and the second half kept until the defects liability period is complete. This is also the beginning of the Defect period.

JEA will then carry out a final inspection and issue a Compliance Certificate on Completion with building regulations and planning permission (if relevant) and Contract Final Account to the client.

Following the Completion of the Defects period and in the opinion of the architects all defects have been rectified, the architects will release the final retention money to the contractor.

JEA will then issue the client with the Health & Safety Folder which will include all the relevant certificates from the builder, architect, sub-contractors, drawings and other relevant documents on a project to project basis.

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