Our aim is to clearly understand your vision for the project, and guide you through the process to achieving that with the upmost ease and enjoyment. Design and construction can be a long process, but done well it can be incredibly fulfilling. The best project outcomes come from collaboration, trust and a well-structured, transparent process.
The following work stages are based on a proven NZIA framework which ensures a smooth process for research, design, collaboration, client inputs and consultant deliverables.
Initial client meeting
The first chance for us to meet, and to listen to your project vision. What you want, how you live currently, how you want to live in the future, and other personal considerations are all invaluable to know at the beginning. This helps to shape the narrative of the design, which is where the magic comes from – a bespoke design specifically for you.
The brief could be loosely imagined or comprehensively refined. No matter what is known on day one, we can help move it forward by providing some high-level advice regarding how the project could be delivered.
Ideally you can provide design, cost and timeline expectations – but these are by no means mandatory at the very beginning as we can work through all of this with you.
Once a scope of work is established, we provide architectural services documents outlining our understanding of the brief, what architectural services will be appropriate and fees for our involvement.
Before design commences it’s critical to understand the site and the various design influences first.
We conduct site visits, take existing measurements if applicable, research district plan regulations and building codes, undertake site analysis for sun paths, wind directions and views, etc, and assist in engaging specialist consultants on your behalf such as surveyors or engineers as/when necessary. This foundational base of research ensures that the design process can move along efficiently.
This is the best opportunity to think freely and openly about the various ways the brief can be transformed into a real form. During this stage, we will play with various ideas and produce a range of solutions that we think you’ll like, based on the briefing. Depending on the project, there may be scope to test some out-of-the-box ideas, on top of the more typical solutions. If there is a time to be open and honest about what you like, and just as importantly, don’t like – this is it! Open communication is critical so the project can kick off in the right direction, without the risk of re-work down the line.
We often present a selection of ideas for you to consider, and for us to workshop together. From here, the idea is that prior to the next design stage commencing, a general approach which considers form, high level planning and general aesthetics is determined.
We typically recommend using the approved concept documentation to obtain high-level cost estimates from either a QS or an experienced builder – this ensures the scope aligns with the budget prior to investing time in the following stages.
The building’s style and personality really takes shape now. Based on the costing advice and the preferred concept design, the plans and external form of the house are refined during this stage.
Spaces are better defined, sunlight access and environmental considerations are made, the external form is designed, primary interior and exterior materials are proposed and construction systems are worked through. Building Code and District Plan compliance is again reviewed.
If your project requires a Resource Consent, these drawings are typically at a level of detail suitable for lodgement. If no RC is required, they can simply be used for further client feedback, consultant design coordination and any further cost checks that you see being valuable.
Site plans, floor plans, elevations, sections and 3D views are drawn to help you understand the spaces. However, the design resolution is still loose enough at this stage to enable relatively easy design refinements without costly time implications.
With client approval to proceed, as with all preceding work stages, this is when the design is coordinated and more-or-less fully resolved prior to the construction drawings.
Considerations such as structural design, roof & wall cladding, plumbing & drainage services, dimensioned setouts, interior kitchen & bathroom joinery, window design, lighting and electrical, floors, ceilings and wall finishes are all designed - and the associated product information is gathered and agreed upon.
Resource Consent, Building Consent and specialist consultant design requirements are considered and incorporated into the architectural design, where applicable.
More 2D drawings are produced, and convincing 3D visualisations to enable our clients to gain more confidence in what will ultimately be delivered.
This is also another good opportunity for a cost check, as the following documentation stage is very time-consuming and requires the design to be resolved before commencing.
Detailed Design & Documentation
This stage involves producing construction-level drawings and other supporting documentation to demonstrate building code and regulation compliance, and ultimately providing enough information for the contractor to both price and build from with minimal questions.
Construction details, materials, components, systems and finishes are all documented in drawing format and scheduled in the construction specification document which is used to identify the various product and material selections, along with guidance for how they are to be supplied, installed, warranted, guaranteed and maintained in some cases.
Once we complete our architectural documentation, and in our capacity as lead consultant, manage and coordinate any other consultant’s output, we will lodge the Building Consent on your behalf.
Questions that the council has whilst processing the application are directed to us, and we work to provide coordinated responses with any other consultants. We do our best to maintain communication with Councils throughout the design process, to mitigate any unanticipated delays through Building Consent processing.
Finding the right builder for your particular project is really important, which is why we help you find someone who is the right fit for you. The methods for finding and signing on a builder vary, depending on the type of project you have and the state of the construction market at the time.
We typically consider which procurement or tendering process is going to be suitable for your project at the very start, as in some cases it can be beneficial to engage a preferred builder early so that they can provide construction and cost advice as/when required through the design stages.
In most cases, however, a tender process is undertaken based on a selection of builders that we can recommend for you in order to find the right builder at the right price. We are trained and experienced in managing fair tendering processes, and to review the inclusions and exclusions of each tender proposal in detail to ensure they are compared equally. Once the preferred builder is selected, we help negotiate the terms of the building contract and ultimately the agreed contract sum.
We complete the construction contract between yourself and the builder and coordinate the issue of the construction documentation which includes all the relevant approved Consent documentation. Next stop, construction!
Contract Admin & Observation
While the documentation is completed, and consents provided, the construction process is often long and contains a few challenges along the way which we can help you navigate.
This is the most critical stage of the project, so having our continued involvement to ensure what has been documented is what gets built is paramount to the project’s success and your future security.
Collaboration with the builder significantly reduces the risk for all parties involved in the process, which is why we prefer to stay involved through this process as opposed to an ad hoc basis.
There are two main aspects to our involvement through construction, as follows:
We act as your professional advisor - for technical considerations, design adjustments, review of builder substitution proposals, documentation updates and liaising with the other consultants.
We act as your agent – by communicating instructions to the builder on your behalf, run regular site meetings, review supplier’s shop drawings, review samples for quality and design compliance, managing consent amendments, verifying and validating progress claims, maintaining records of cost variations and certifying completion of specific stages.
We ensure the construction contract is appropriately adhered to (acting impartially).
We collect all trade warranties, and Operation & Maintenance manuals from the builder and their subcontractors and assist in securing a Code Compliance Certificate.
We provide a second layer of security for you, by providing observation services over and above what the builder is contractually responsible for.
We make regular visits to observe quality, compliance and progress.
It is often difficult for the builder to have eyes across everything, when managing a busy site with multiple subtrades, so our involvement notably lessens the chances of delays, workmanship issues, non-compliances and costs associated with rework.
It is your choice as to how involved we are throughout construction. We will help you to determine what role would be appropriate for your particular project, based on the design complexity (risk), scale of work and the builder involved.