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The Process of Architecture

THE PROCESS OF ARCHITECTURE  

The following timetable is a working approximation of how the process of bringing an architecturally designed building into being can be carried through.  It is not the only way but it is a good guide to the range of necessary steps that need to be undertaken to achieve the desired goal. 

 

 First meeting -  Potential clients and architect assess each other. 

 Engagement – Contract/letter of agreement, fees, timing, undertakings, scope of works.
An understanding is reached and agreed upon between the parties about what the architect is required to do, when and for what agreed fees.   This becomes the basis for a legally binding contract between the parties.  Such a contract is subject to the legislation governing the conduct of architects which defines and enforces the duty of care of the architect as a registered chartered professional. 

 Site Analysis  There are a range of things that are required to be known about the particular site, the locality and the rules and regulations of councils, governments and the Environmental agencies pertinent to the given region. 

                                         Survey
                                        Title
                                        Constraints
                                        Neighbourhood Issues
                                        Ordinances applicable 

Environmental Analysis 

                                        Existing vegetation
                                        Aspect, solar penetration 

 EcoCost Analysis  – A way of finding out which materials and building process will create the least environmental impact in the particular site and brief requirements in point. 

                                        Existing Material Possibilities
                                        Local Materials/ raw, manufactured, stored
                                        Exposure, weathering, corrosion, damp 

 Building Procurement Program  
An investigation and discussion of the available means of getting a building built, from owner building to formal fixed cost and timing contracted builders.      

                                         Construction Process required 
                                         Contractual form of Program 

 Brief Formulation  
A working document detailing all the possibilities, constraints and requirements of the building.  This is the formulation of the “Wish List” and then the constraints on and opportunities for achieving it.  This becomes the means of clearly stating what the building is supposed to provide in terms of amentity,  environmental impact, form and function and appearance.

                                        Client interviews, requirements 
                                        Brief negotiation and acceptance 

Preliminary Ideas - A range of sketchy ideas and notional design concepts which the architect discusses with the client to explore various possible designs. 

Sketch Design Ideas
A coherent design concept for the building with a clear idea of its plan, form, appearance and how it will work in terms of the requirements of the brief.

                                        Presentation, negotiation, 
                                        Acceptance of the optimal choice 

 Preliminary Costings 
An off the plan costing estimation is essential at this stage to ensure the wild schemes of the architect can actually be built for somewhere within the realms of a realistic budget.  This needs to be as accurate as possible to ensure that the project remains on track.   It is accepted that the accuracy of such a costing is +/- 20% or so at this stage.  Later clarification of the design allows this margin of variance to be reduced. 

 Design Development        
Once the sketch design is accepted by the clients it needs to be worked up into a building that can be built, in terms of structure, plan and layout and essentially budget.  Amendments are common during this development process and the finer details of the planning and appearance are worked out here.  An ongoing cost estimation process is carried out to maintain budget imperatives.  It is important that the developed design is what the clients want from their architect, but also what Council wants for its municipality.  So, numerous opportunities for comment, amendment and even re-design are given.

                                        Engagement of Consultants, engineer, surveyor, etc 
                                        Review of applicable constraints and brief issues 

Presentation, Negotiation          

At the end of the process the design is agreed to be ready for submission to the relevant Authorities for planning approval. 

                                        Acceptance and Drawing Up 

Submission to Authorities for Planning Approval  
This is often the most trying and strenuous part of the process for the client.  Society has granted Local Councils and planning authorities extensive control over what may be built in any given location. This can be very invasive for the person trying to create their home.  The proposed scheme is advertised in the papers and letters are sent out to all neighbours, both owners and tenants, notifying of the proposal and asking for comment and objections.

The process allows for neighbours and the general public (even people not from the area!) to make objections and comments on the proposed building which the Council are required, and do, to take into consideration in their deliberation on the proposal. 

                                        Negotiation 

Council Evaluation 
Once the Planning Officers have had their negotiations on the proposal and whatever changes are agreed upon are made, the Planning Officer drafts a report which then goes to the elected Council which deliberates upon it.  Representations to Council are common by both architects and owners and objectors giving weight to their views.   The Council in Council make their decision at the meeting and an official letter is sent out with their decision and the decision is made public in the papers. 

Appeal 
There are extensive rights of appeal to the Council and then to the Land andEnvironment Court once the Council have made their decision public 

 Documentation 
Once the authorities have accepted the design of the building for planning approval a D.A. (Development Approval) is usually granted.  The next step requires that the building design meet the requirements of the various structural,  fire, safety, plumbing and electrical regulations.  An extensive detailed set of drawings is required to be developed and submitted to Council for the appraisal of their building approvals section (as opposed to planning people) 

                                       Working Drawings, Specifications, (Model) 
                                       Engineer’s Drawings and Certification 

Submission to Council for Building Approval 
Building approval being granted allows that a series of other minor approvals can be sought.  These approvals are required to be stamped on the building plans which are to be available on the actual building site.  Plumbing and drainage authorities need to be advised and their approval for the works gained.  Electricity authorities need to be advised and their approval for the works gained. 

                                        Negotiation 

Once all these approvals are gained and the appropriate fees, charges, taxes, levies, summarial extortions and outright thieveries are paid, the actual process of building the building can commence forthwith, note that building is not allowed to before all these things are in place and penalties can be severe. 

 

Various Strategies are then available for procuring the building. 

 

 

…..EITHER….. 

 

Tendering 

                                        Collation of Documentation 

                                        Tender Estimations  

                                        Selection of Tenderers                          

                                        Calling for Tenders 

                                        Recommendation for Selection of Tender 

                                        Acceptance of Tender 

Construction Contract 

                                        Selection of Contract 

                                        Assessment and checking of      Insurances,  

                                                                                          Licences,  

                                                                                          Certifications 

                                                                                          Financial Capacity 

                                                                                          Deposits 

                                        Completion of Contract Documentation 

                                        Signing of Contracts 

 

 

Construction 

                                        Inspection 

                                        Notification 

                                        Progress Certification 

                                        Practical Completion 

 

 

In this Scenario the architect acts in a contract management role, ensuring that the builder and client both meet their contractual obligations to each other.  Ie that the building is constructed in the specified manner to the tendered costs.   This usually entails a series of site visits and consultations with the builder, client and various subcontractors to optimise the building program and resolve conflicts and issue instructions. 

 …..OR….. 

 Construction Management 

 

                               Programming of Works 

                              Selection of Subcontractors 

                              Appointment of Subcontracts 

                                        Supervision of Works 

                                        Certification of Progress Submissions 

                                        Finalisation of Works                           

 

In this case there is no on-site role for the architect as the Construction Managers take on the much more detailed role of direct day to day supervision of the construction works.   The architect is consulted only where design discrepancies or unclear documentation are encountered. 

 

 

All Building Procurement Processes result in …. 

 

Occupation 

                                        Defects Liability Period   

A three month period after the practical completion of the works where any detected defects may be notified and remedied by the builder. 

                                        Final Completion  

All outstanding accounts are finalised with the builder and the contract finalised. 

 

The Home Owners Warranty Scheme legally requires that the Builder Guarantees their work for a period of six years from the date of Final Completion.  An insurance Policy is issued guaranteeing this. 

Post Occupancy 

                                        Building Manual 

                                        As Constructed Drawings 

                                        Operation interviews assessment and evaluations



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