The Process

 

Introduction

The services provided at AJC Architecture cover all stages of a project from initial feasibility through to final handover of the building once complete. While the full service may suit a majority of clients, we understand that some may only need a partial service to achieve their requirements. Therefore whatever architectural service you require, we would be delighted to discuss your project further.

We have developed systems and procedures within the practice that deliver individual projects to satisfied clients. These procedures, together with experience, ensure that the process of each project is as clear as possible.

The guidance on this page provides a summary of the stages that most projects will require. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss anything in more detail or have any questions.

 

Initial meeting

Selecting an architect is clearly an important decision in respect of your project. Detailed consultation between you and your architect will assist in the success of the project as there will be discussions regarding your home lifestyle and exacting requirements. Therefore we provide a free initial meeting, ideally at the property or site of your project.

There are many aspects that we will be considering during this meeting, such as:

• The context of the site, such as access and topography.
• Any initial thoughts you have in respect of the design.
• Further options in respect of design and detail.
• The feasibility of the proposals and ways of addressing any constraints.
• Considering planning implications.
• Any structural and/or health and safety implications.
• Ensuring you are aware of the process of building and the project stages.
• Timescales of your project.

Advice would be provided to confirm whether a planning application is required and to guide you through the process.

After this meeting we will send you a letter of appointment, detailing the project brief and fees.

If you are happy to proceed to appoint us for your project then we ask that you sign and return the letter of appointment to confirm.

 

Appointment of Consultants

In order for a project to proceed appropriately suitable consultants may need to be appointed in addition to the architect depending on the nature of the project.

A structural engineer and health & safety (CDM) consultant are usually appointed at the early stages of the design.

Other consultants often required include the following, all of which can be recommended: planning consultants, services engineers, surveyors, landscape designers, interior designers.

 

Measured Survey & Brief

The initial stage includes a full measured survey of your existing property or site. This survey provides detailed information such as proportion and scale, materials, drainage layouts and considers the context such as trees and neighbouring buildings/boundaries etc.

During the survey photos would also be carried out to assist with working up the proposals.

The survey and photos would then be used to create detailed CAD drawings to support the proposals and accompany the planning and building regulation drawings.

At this stage a meeting would take place to discuss the brief in further detail, ensuring your requirements and aspirations are fully addressed within the proposals.

The survey drawings would then be utilised to assist in creating the proposals, addressing your ideas, in turn creating the initial design.

 

Design & Planning

The project would be developed in further detail, identifying detail such as:

• Proportion, location and scale of any openings.
• Detailed layout of proposals.
• Roof design.
• Natural light levels.
• Drainage
• Relationship with context.
• Materials

When the detailed design is agreed the planning application would be prepared and submitted.

Due to the nature of the project the level of information provided at planning stage can vary significantly, in particular when working on conservation projects to assist with listed building and conservation area requirements.

Once the supporting drawings and statements are complete the planning application can be submitted. At this stage we will ask you for the relevant Cornwall Council planning fee and then submit the application. Once submitted a copy of the application, supporting drawings and statements would be issued to you for your records.

Once submitted planning applications are usually registered within a week of receipt by Cornwall Council and determined within 8 weeks of registration.

 

Detailing, Building Regulations & Tender

Upon receiving planning approval, the next stage is to prepare the building regulations application where construction methods would be studied in further detail. Building regulations drawings and notes would be created acknowledging construction details, materials, fixings, plumbing layouts etc.

The building regulations drawings and associated specification notes would be submitted to either Cornwall Council Building Control or an approved inspector for building regulations approval. Once submitted full plans approval can take up to 5 weeks. If timescales are particularly important work could be carried out on a building notice reducing this period considerably.

The drawings and supporting specification notes provided at this stage are of sufficient detail to issue to builders for pricing.

The tendering process is the recommended approach to appointing a contractor, as a rule approaching at least three contractors for comparison. We encourage clients to only use contractors who can demonstrate the highest level of quality and familiarity with the type of project proposed. Through experience of working with contractors throughout Cornwall, we can suggest appropriate teams depending upon the nature of the project. The tender submission information would be prepared and issued accordingly. Upon receipt of the tenders we would discuss the merits of such with you to assist in ensuring the most suitable builder is chosen.

There are many situations in which a traditional competitive tender might not be the most appropriate method of procurement, in these cases advice will be provided on the alternatives.

 

Contract Administration & Site Inspections

Full project management services are offered at AJC Architecture, tailored to your requirements, to ensure the terms of the contract between you and the builder are acknowledged and the build is delivered as smoothly as possible.

Contract administration can be provided between the client and contractor, ensuring that the contractor is carrying out the project as designed and the budget costs are adhered to.

JCT Contracts are used for most projects, the most suitable being applied to each project in respect of complexity and contract value. For small to medium sized projects the JCT Minor Works Building Contract 2011 is often used. The contract will address many important items, such as:

• Commencement and completion dates as agreed.
• Contract value.
• Interim stage payments. Generally issued every 4 weeks, this ensures work is never paid for in advance to protect you.
• Any damages the builder must pay you for late completion.
• The extent of retention, generally 5%.
• Rectification period, generally 3 or 6 months.
• Extension of time, if required due to exceptional circumstances.
• Architects instructions to ensure any additional costs are formally agreed.

The contract would be prepared and signed approximately 2 weeks prior to commencement. A pre-contract meeting between you and your builder would be arranged, at which signing would take place. A set of construction drawings and specification notes would also be issued and signed during this meeting for both you and the builder, to accompany the contract.

Regular site visits would be carried out throughout the construction period, to inspect the work and advise to any specific detailing required. Formal meetings would also take place addressing progress and any further information, ensuring that you are clear about your projects development through to completion.

 

Fees

Fees vary according to the size and complexity of the project. Fees are either calculated as a fixed price fee respecting the extent of services required, or a percentage of the (net) build cost of the project. The method selected largely depends upon the nature of the project and the clients requirements.

Our full service is broken down as follows:

• Brief development and outline design proposals. Scheme design and preparation and submission of a planning application.
• Detailed design development. Construction drawings and preparation and submission of a building regulations application.
• Project management to include tendering, contract administration and site inspections.

Fees for each of the above stages will be provided after the initial meeting for your consideration.

We ask that invoices are settled within 14 days of issue.

Fees for local authority charges and additional consultants are not included in our fee.

AJC Architecture is not VAT registered.