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The design + build process



At the beginning of each project, its purpose and intentions, together with its schedule of accommodation, site and budget are formed into what is known as a brief. If you do not have a pre-formed brief, the chartered architect will develop it with you. It should be as thorough as possible to help avoid problems later.
Initial decisions in the design stage will include formalising which rooms need to be adjacent, where stairs and fire escapes are needed, which floors need carpets, what the outlook will be from different rooms, how deliveries are to arrive ... the list can seem endless!
During the design process the chartered architect will keep coming back to you with plans for discussion, revision and approval. Use may be made of drawings, perspectives, models, written descriptions, computer drawings or simulations to explain the scheme.

Alterations become progressively more expensive as a project develops and once building work has begun, changes can be catastrophic and very expensive.We do not expect to change drawings once a contract has been let and work has started on site, clearly changes do happen , we do charge for client design alterations that involve additional design,drawing+administration time for our staff.

For most projects the Design Team wil linclude a number of professional disciplines

  • architect,
  • quantity surveyor,
  • structural,electrical
  • mechanical engineers

are the most usual contributors. All design team feesare normally paid for separately in addition tothe architect's fee. If an architect's practice isappointed as lead consultant, it wil lco-ordinate all the information provided bythe rest of the team and incorporate that into the design and production drawings.
Please note all other members of the design team required for the projct will be engaged by the client under a separate fee agreement and contract ,they will be responsible for their own input + advice given to the client+project .
Pask Architects do not indemnify other professionals.


At the end of the design process, a number of contractors usually receive a 'Bill of Quantities', together with a set of drawings with which to produce a cost for the project.
The Bill lists all the items and activities required to build the project as shown on the drawings (e.g. lay 100 bricks here, build in 50 windows there) and the number of items listed depends on the scale of project.

Each contractor puts his price against each item on the Bill, which is based upon an estimate of how long it will take to carry out each item and the cost of materials required, together with added sums for overheads and a percentage for profit.
The level of profit will be influenced by how each contractor expects his competitors to price and thus there is no 'proper price' for a building: only what a given contractor decides at one particular time.

To estimate how much a building will cost at an early stage in the design requires skill, experience and a knowledge of the market. Absolute precision is impossible - the less information on which a cost is based, the greater the degree of tolerance required.

For small domestic projects and alterations, a Bill of Quantities may not be necessary, and tender pricing can be based on drawings and specification only. The architect will advise on the level of additional professional advice (if any) that may be appropriate. Structural alterations, however minor, may require a consulting engineer's certificate to be submitted with the Building Warrant, and you will be advised accordingly.

Chartered architects usually consider projects in terms of work stages.
The investment of effort is often assessed as follows:

Stage C 10-15%
D 15-20%
Stage E 20%
F 20%
G to L 25-35%

Appraisal (A/B)
The aim of these stages is to ascertain whether the scheme is feasible on the site suggested and to identify any fundamental objections to the scheme, e.g. planning restrictions. These stages will not be required for all projects and they should, therefore, be charged on a time basis.

Outline Proposals (C)
Sketch drawings will seek to interpret the brief and to identify a possible solution. A firm set of outline drawings, sometimes called final sketch plans, will be produced for your approval once initial consultations with statutory authorities have taken place and the brief has been fully clarified.

The outline design is developed to show the appearance of a building, how fixtures and fittings are incorporated and how important details of construction are intended to work. Your chartered architect will check that the design proposals are within the agreed budget and in harmony with your stated objectives as regards quality, long term maintenance and performance. Your chartered architect will provide the information for design and layout to accompany your application to the local authority planning department. Information of a legal nature required by a local authority, e.g. site boundary, rights of access etc., should be referred to your lawyer. Your approval of the design drawings marks the completion of the primary design stages.

Final (E)
The application to the local authority for a building warrant requires the chartered architect (and consulting engineer) to submit drawings (and calculations) which show how proposals comply with the current Building Standards (Scotland)
Regulations. Construction is not normally permitted to commence without statutory approval.

Production information and Tender Documentation (F/G)

Once the building warrant is issued and the technical drawings are complete, the way is clear to prepare tender documents. They usually comprise the contract drawings, the specification of materials and components, the Bill of Quantities and the Conditions of Contract. The latter two are normally in a standard format and define the obligations of the parties to the contract, namely yourself as the 'employer' and the contractor.

The Building Contract (H to L)
The contractor consents to organise and direct the building work in accordance with his contractual obligations, and to supervise the work so as to achieve satisfactory completion on time. In classic forms of procurement, the chartered architect's role as contract administrator is to make periodic site visits to inspect the general progress of the work, to issue instructions to the contractor and, if necessary, to reject obviously unsatisfactory work. If you wish closer inspection of the contractor's work then you can employ a clerk of works, or come to an agreement whereby the chartered architect makes more frequent visits to the site.
Your chartered architect will report to you on matters of progress, on any unforeseen circumstances on site, any variations in budget or programme, and will issue periodic certificates for stage payments due to the contractor.

Buildings need proper maintenance. If they are to remain in good condition, they require regular inspection, especially of all external elements. Your chartered architect can help you to plan a sequence of inspection and maintenance procedures especially for those parts of a building exposed to the rigours of our climate. If you so wish, such help can include the provision of a maintenance manual. Remember that minor problems can become major defects if not attended to.

When you use a chartered architect you are protected; skills have to be exercised to the standards established by the professional body, in professional conduct and in the procedures by which your appointment is executed.
A chartered architect is obliged to uphold the reputation of the profession and fellow professionals; to carry out work on behalf of clients honourably, independently and efficiently; and to declare any interest which might conflict with the status of an independent consultant architect.
The RIAS is willing to assist those with any difficulties that may arise concerning an architect's appointment. However, serious
complaints regarding conduct should be addressed to the

Architects' Registration Board (ARB)
Weymouth Street
London W1W5BU
Tel: 020 7580 5861

RIAS Clients' Advisory Service

Tel: 0131 229 7545


The RIAS represents the RIBA in Scotland
Published by the RIAS, April 2005
Photo credits are due to individual architectural practices and the following photographers: Andrew Lee, Keith Hunter, Allan Forbes & Peter Cook


D E S I G N S T U D I O : James Pask - email - + mob 07563 553791 + Susan Pask - email - susan@ + mobile 07940 542365 |

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