URBAN SOLUTIONS ARCHITECTS - SERVICES OVERVIEW
Whether a new home or an alteration, architectural services can be grouped into the 4 main phases of the project. These are:
Every site is unique and presents different challenges and opportunities. Orientation, views, topography, access and relationships with any existing buildings or services on the site are factors which influence the design of the project. State and local building and planning regulations will also apply constraints on the design process (height & setback restrictions, character codes etc.). The site analysis process identifies the relevant constraints and opportunities to maximise the potential of the site.
Before we can start the design process project we need to understand the client’s needs. This is documented in the form of a written brief which details the room requirements, aesthetic & lifestyle preferences and a budget for the project.
Once all of the above information has been collected & understood, we can begin the design process. This usually includes a design workshop with the client where a range of options are generated and discussed. The concept design phase is “broad brush” design process and focuses on spacial relationships and space allocation. Sketches from the workshop are used as a basis for preparing concept design drawings to document the preferred option/s.
DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT APPROVAL
With the concept design resolved, we can commence the schematic design process. During this process we select the construction method and external materials, locate the windows & doors and resolve the external appearance of the building. The schematic design drawings include all plans & elevations plus sections & simple 3D views. We liaise closely with the client during this process to ensure they are completely happy with the final design before proceeding to the documentation phase.
DEVELOPMENT APPROVAL (DA)
If you project requires town planning approval this will generally be sought at the completion of the schematic design. Town planning applications generally require the preparation of a Development Assessment Report and may require some additional drawings to demonstrate compliance with the relevant town planning codes. For simple, code compliant applications, we can generally prepare the report & submit the applications on your behalf. For more complex applications, however, we may refer you to a town planner for specialist advice.
DOCUMENTATION & BUILDING APPROVAL
We prepare preliminary working drawings and issue them to relevant consultants such as engineers, energy assessors, bushfire consultants and building certifiers to allow them to undertake their work. Where included in our scope, we will also start working on internal details and prepare a preliminary specification.
BUILDING APPROVAL (BA)
Once we have the input from the other consultants we produce a basic set of working drawings which are suitable for approval and construction of the project. We prepare & submit the application for building approval to the certifier & ensure that any issues are resolved so that the project is ready for construction.
The BA plans are suitable for taking to builders to obtain quotes and, for some clients, this completes our involvement in the project as they will rely on the builder to assist with the final selections of finishes & equipment from their preferred suppliers in line with the builder’s standard inclusions.
The detailed documentation stage involves providing detailed plans & elevations for kitchens, bathrooms, etc. as well as details for architectural features such as stairs, handrails, fire places etc. Specifications are completed and the complete documentation package is prepared for pricing or tender.
COORDINATION OF TENDERS
We tender projects to suitable local builders, providing unbiased advice and acting as your agent to ensure you get a competitive price for your project. The selection process will not only depend on price. The choice of a builder may also be influenced by other factors such as experience, availability and proposed construction period.
We prepare contracts using a standard form of building contract approved by the Australian Institute of Architects & Master Builders Australia. Under this contract, the architect has two roles. Firstly, we act as your representative to respond to any requests from the builder and to issue any necessary instructions to the builder. Secondly, we act as the administrator of the contract, assessing and approving claims for payment as well as processing any extensions of time or variations that may arise during the course of the construction. At completion of the work, we complete a defects inspection and ensure that all defects are rectified prior to approving the final claim.
For clients who have elected to deal directly with their builder, we can provide general advice during the construction process.