To get a good idea of what those services include, and what we do …it goes something like this……

Site Investigations and Pre-design

This is the information gathering time, getting a client-architect agreement, obtaining client and property information including, land and building survey, photographs, town planning information, making sure we know what we’ve got.

Most importantly discussing and sorting out what is required, and working out a time frame and
preliminary budget for the project.

Concept and Sketch Design

This is an exciting part and involves preparation and presentation of initial ideas, firstly usually rough sketches and discussion for feedback, followed by concept design drawings; plans, maybe sections and either some preliminary perspective pencil sketches or computer models.

These concept drawings are important to find out if the design is heading in the right direction, that we are all on the same page. You may see things you don’t like or are unsure about, that’s fine, lets discuss it and if changes need to be made before going onto the next and more detailed stage….. so we need to think it over carefully.

The concept design is then worked up into the sketch design incorporating all the ideas and changes arising from discussion.

At this time any design input from consultants is also incorporated if required. The initial brief is checked against the design and any additions or changes made.

Sketch design drawings including; plans, elevations, and sections along with either a computer model or a scale model, or both, are then completed and presented for approval.

Computer walk through and scale models are useful to aid in both design and visualization. It’s important
that clients have a clear understanding of what is being proposed…because we have now settled on a design.

Resource consent and development applications

If a Resource Consent or a Project Information Memorandum is required, these are usually applied for once the sketch design has been approved. At this stage another check of anticipated costs is carried out.

Design development

Moving on from the sketch design is the developed design phase, more design detail is now considered, and this may include incorporation of consultants advice. There may also be issues arising from the Resource and PIM Consent Applications to sort.

At Roger Course Architect we also offer additional services such as landscape, interior and lighting design, or we can work in with other consultants. As the initial designer of the project’s concept, “the big picture”, it is important that we get input from these other consultants at this time so any conflicting issues are sorted into one cohesive design.

Its time to zoom in and we are now looking closer at buildability, the completed design and fit out of service areas; kitchen, bathrooms, laundries, and specific items such as stairways, balustrades, fireplaces, preparing estimates for provisional sums and putting together a preliminary specification including lists of finishes.

Any changes to drawings or computer model incorporating all the previous items are presented to clients for approval……….the design is all but complete.

Building contract documentation

We are now in a position to commence preparation of detailed documentation; plans and specifications to lodge for a buildingconsent and to send out for pricing the project.

We handle and issues arising from the building consent to ensure that it is approved and at that stage if no further involvement is required, our part is finished.

Tendering and building contracts

Sometimes clients elect to undertake the management of the tendering and construction contract themselves or employ a project manager to oversee construction. Our experience has shown that this is rarely that successful; even the best project managers don’t have the same skills or vision as a trained architect who has completed the design of a project, again “the big picture”, and it is our view projects often suffer for that.

Engaging an Architect on a full-service contract ensures that the most qualified person is making the right decisions every step of the way.

Usually either a chosen contractor or a few selected contractors are invited to price the project and submit competitive tenders. The tenders are checked for a number of aspects including time and suitability; we will offer advice regarding selection of the contractor however the decision is up to the client. There is usually some negotiation and discussion before we prepare the building contract and the final signing.

Contract administration and observation

How much observation of the building is required depends on the type and complexity of the project. We would visit a site once or twice a week, and often more dependent on what stage the build is at. One of the benefits of living close to many of our projects is ease of access for site visits.

As well as checking that the construction is going according to plans and specifications we also process and check payment claims. Some of the payment claims are withheld by the client as a performance retention, and this is usually paid out after an agreed maintenance defects period has passed.

The last but by no means important aspect of the contract administration is obtaining a code compliance sign off from the local authorities.