The following is a brief guide to the main stages of a building project and is intended to give an indication of the architectural and surveying services provided. It should be made clear these are general guidelines only and do not specifically relate to any particular project.
With extensions and alterations to existing properties, it is usually necessary to measure up the relevant parts of the building and prepare a plan of the current layout and elevations. Depending on the clients requirements, sketch designs and proposals will be prepared giving a brief indication of options available with relevant notes such as rooms sizes, heights, distances to nearby buildings, possible construction difficulties, planning objections etc. Elevations may also be provided to give an indication of the overall appearance and, where necessary, a typical section through the structure.
It maybe necessary to meet and discuss the various options available to you and look at these in more detail. It may also be necessary to explore other avenues if the initial designs have not quite matched your expectations. Generally, it is easier to clarify proposals once there are a few ideas down on paper and this also helps many clients to visualise spatial arrangements and the external appearance. When the scheme is agreed, a drawing will be prepared accurately showing the proposals on plan and in elevations, together with any important notes. The application forms, fee, location plan and any other documents necessary will be prepared and submitted to the Local Authority. This will be monitored during its progress through the planning process and should lead to a consent for planning permission being granted.
The Local Authority require information on how the new structure will be built and therefore detailed drawings will be prepared showing the specification for foundations, walls, floors, roof, drainage, ventilation, heating, staircases, windows and doors etc. These details will be to satisfy the regulations required under the Building Act 1984. A detailed section through the building is also required together with dimensions and notes pertinent to the building works. An application will be prepared and submitted with the appropriate fee to the Council.
Some clients may not need any further assistance with their building project beyond the statutory approvals. However, if you require professional advice on the construction phase it will be necessary to prepare a written specification detailing additional information which can then be given to building contractors for pricing. This will include electrical and plumbing works, joinery, fixtures and fittings (type of sanitaryware, light fittings, showers etc.), floor and wall finishes, ceramic tiling, decorations etc. together with details of the contract particulars.
Suitable contractors will be asked to tender and the drawings and specification sent to them accordingly. Some clients may already have builders who they wish to use but, if necessary, suitable contractors can be recommended who would be appropriate for the works. On receipt of the quotations, these will be checked and forwarded to the client with a brief summary and recommendation.
When the contractor is appointed, a contract will be prepared and issued for signature by the two parties. Details such as clarifying the responsibility for insuring the works while under construction and checking the contractors insurance requirements are adequate will be part of a package of measures carried out to ensure the project is satisfactory before works begins.
Once works commence, there will usually be a regular weekly meeting to discuss the works as it progresses in addition to other inspections which maybe necessary to ensure the contractor carries out the work in accordance with the specification and drawings. Some projects may require the services of a Structural Engineer to size steel beams etc. and advice on this aspect will be given together with the introduction of a suitable consultant if required.
Other examples of advice given to the client during the course of the works are:
Usually brief minutes of site meetings are issued with instructions to the contractor which may alter the specification or overall value of the works.
Another important area involves progress payments to be made to the contractor during the course of the works. Invoices are submitted to the Surveyor for approval before certificates are issued by him for payment by the client. A list will be prepared showing how variations and extra items may change the overall value of the works and this will normally be issued with the certificates.
Once the project is complete, a Practical Completion Certificate will be issued and this will be followed by a Defects Liability Period of 3 or 6 months. After this has elapsed, an inspection will be made and the contractor advised of any defects to be made good before a modest retention sum is released.