Making good buildings is an exciting challenge, but starting out on a building project, whatever the scale, can be daunting. It's a complex process with many decisions to be made, and probably a few reversals of fortune on the way. As architects we are, or certainly should be, involved at the earliest stages to assist in making reality of intent. Our involvement can extend through the whole process.
The range of services we provide is best described in the RIBA's Plan of Work. Our summary of this is set out here.
We provide a service tailored to your needs, developed in discussion with you. Flexibility of approach is vital.
Concept and design
Good design depends on a clear brief. We work closely with clients to establish what is wanted, and what is possible. Then it's up to us to analyse, develop and refine and present design proposals. Architects have developed their own 'jargon' in the form of sketches, technical drawings, visualisations. It's sometimes too easy to forget that our language is not universally understood, so we strive to improve the way we communicate. Technology has expanded the possibilities over time, and with its help we try to present our designs in ways that can best be understood by our clients. And, of course, the regulating bodies, and those affected by development. Local planning authorities and their other consulting partners need to be properly informed of the specifics of any design, as do neighbours and local community groups. In addition to excellent design, good, clear description of the proposals, are essential to gaining approvals.
Costing, Technical Design
Once the concepts are agreed and approved the next stage is to develop accurate budgets and prepare the technical design necessary for the project to proceed on the ground. Early cost planning, with as much detail as possible, is vital to controlling building costs as the development progresses. It is at this stage that technical alternatives and their cost implications can be considered. Any design needs to be buildable and affordable. Developing a budget and assessing the technical options and their implications are vital parts of the design process, and need to be considered in parallel).
Making buildings is a team effort requiring many different skills. Early involvement of all members of that team is essential to a successful project. Which is why we prefer to work with consultants and contractors we know and understand - but are always open to forming new working relationships. Appointment of consultants and contractors will, of course, depend on a number of factors, including cost and competitiveness. But we maintain that a co-operative team, all striving for the same goal, will produce the most satisfying outcomes.
Handover, building in use
Where required, we can provide a full contract administration service, which will include regular inspection of the work in progress, negotiations with the contractor, valuations and agreement of the final account and provision of ‘as-built’ information which will form part of the working manuals for the building in use. As part of our commitment to good design we always welcome feedback from a finished project, and will respond to it and provide support as necessary.