A lot of times when at the beginning of the journey when a client begins to think of engaging an architect to design and deliver their project they are often times very unsure as to what the architect exactly does. Although there is a general understanding that the architect will bring something special to the project, for someone who has never engaged an architect there is often times ambiguity as to what exactly the process involves. In this blog I will discuss the stages of work involved in a full architectural service, which will help to clarify this for you if you’re considering a project.
At JEArchitecture, an medium sized architects practice in Dublin we specialise in domestic and residential work and are very familiar with working with clients who are a first time architect client. However before you begin working with you architect it always useful to prepare by asking yourself the questions you will need to know, this link here is a very useful document for clients to prepare themselves before they come to work with an architect. This second link, https://www.riai.ie/work-with-an-architect/top-tips-from-architects/, will also help with tips when considering your project.
In JEArchitecture we endeavour to make the process as easily understood for the client as we can and as a result we have broken the process in to easily digestible chunks so that the project plan makes sense to you the client. The RIAI Working with an Architect document breaks the process into 8 steps, in JEArchitecture we have consolidated this into four steps which we will go through in this blog.
The steps we take our clients through in a project are as follows;
Stage 1 – Scheme Design
In this stage we will work through the feasibility of your projects brief and your budget in order to get a clear idea on what is required. This initial phase may involve a couple of iterations of the brief and is all about manging expectations and educating the client on what’s feasible planning and budget wise.
Once we have agreed a brief we can deliver on JEArchitecture will begin the design stage. The first thing we need to do is to carry out a survey of the existing building and site, this may involve a topographical survey in some instances. From the survey and the brief we have a clear idea on what we have and what we want. This is when the fun begins and the design starts.
We as architects are all about the design and this is the part that makes the job most worthwhile. It is also ultimately why you are employing an architect, for the design. At JEArchitecture we produce 2D drawings, renders and a 3D model of what the design is when we present to the client.
Stage 2 – Planning
In this stage we further develop the design into a planning application. At the design stage we will have taken into account the possible planning constraints when preparing the design. in this stage we further develop the design drawings to present the plans in such a way that they comply with planning regulations. This may also involve preparing specialist reports and renders and may also require additional inputs from engineers and or planning consultants. When a planning permission has been granted the planning conditions may also require that the design be revised a little and this would also happen in this stage of work.
In a lot of projects we can proceed onto the detail design stage once a planning application has been lodged in order to save time. However in the more complex projects where the planning is not a given, It is only when we have a full grant of planning that we can move onto the detail design stage of work
Stage 3 – Detail Design
In this stage we take the design/planning drawings and further develop them so that they are ready for construction. This stage is also used to prepare for site, to tender the project and get a contract in place. This stage also is required in order to prepare a project for Building Control Management System – Building regulation compliance.
It is at this stage that the client and architect will work together to agree the detail of the finishes and program of work. This process is where you will be required to answer the finer detail of the project.
When a project is fully worked up, it is then passed to the engineers for engineering input. Once the engineering input has been included the project is ready to be tendered. In JEArchitecture we will always tender a project to 3 or 4 contractors we have worked with and sometimes the client will include a contractor or two from their own list. The project is then sent out to tender for 3 weeks.
Once tenders have been received, they are reviewed by us in house then a summary is put to the client. The client is always the one that chooses the contractor, this is usually done on price but is not always the case. Sometimes a project will have to be tendered more than once due to budget overruns. Once the project tender process is complete, the project is ready to go to site.
Stage 4 – Site
This is the stage where all the hard work has paid off and the project now commences on site. For the client this is the stage will be the most stressful and also most rewarding as it all comes together. Your architect will assist you with the contractor choice, the contracts administration and will supervise the project as it proceeds.
Its really important to have you architect involved at this stage as you will be face with a myriad of decisions and complex processes. If your architect is not involved it will be left up to the builder to interpret the design which always leads to compromise.
At the completion of stage 4, the architect will sign off on the project and insure that it is all certified and ready for you to enjoy. At JEArchitecture we understand the process and will gladly guide you through to your dream.