What do Architects Do? The RIBA Plan of Works…

When you watch Grand Designs or any property show, it’s natural to think about what you could do with your home. Many of our clients have so many Pinterest boards or scrapbooks, sometimes its hard to know where to start.

As a chartered architects practice we know exactly where to start, after years of training, a great diverse team with oodles of experience and a code of conduct second to none, we aim to give you the certainty that you deserve coupled with expert advice.

We have picked out key information from the process (the plan of works) that chartered architects should follow in designing a new home. Hopefully, this gets the creative part of your brain buzzing, if it does reach out for a conversation with one of the teams with any question you may have.

When considering how to make the best use of your space at home who better to ask than a team of architects that spend there days designing homes and workplaces.

Below is a brief taste of the stages a chartered architect follows (RIBA Plan of Works)

 

 

 

Strategy | Stage 0

Stage 0 is the building block of a successful project. It is the point at which we establish the brief and determine the key strategic information that will help the project to move forward. It is a time to talk and establish what it is that you would like to achieve. We try our best to manage your expectations by giving realistic advice about construction budget through a sense check using a cost per square metre and the need for additional consultants, whilst ensuring that you know the process should be enjoyable and exciting.

By the end of this stage, we will have developed an initial project brief and produced a fee proposal for you so that you know what to expect over the coming months. We will produce our pre-scheme information that reviews potential layouts or spatial relationships, as well as massing studies and reviewing aesthetic precedents, without going too far down one particular track. We will also we will investigate planning precedents and the site history.

 

 

Preparation and briefing | Stage 1

This is the time that we gather the relevant existing information and build on the initial brief. We will advise on the need for an external surveyor to supply a measured survey. Combined with the feasibility information this will enable us to explore opportunities and strategies during the scheme development.

 

 

Concept design | Stage 2

Stage 2 is the tangible beginning of a real scheme. It is important to understand that design is a two-way process that involves both you and us discussing ideas. We will develop our initial ideas based on our interpretation of the brief, the feasibility output and the information supplied to us from the measured survey. We don’t pretend to get things right first time, so we want you to feel comfortable telling us exactly what you think. We allow for reasonable design changes and alterations within this period at no additional cost because it is more important to us to get the scheme working on paper first before you spend money on applications or making alterations on site.

At the end of this stage, we might approach a local authority for pre-planning application advice, particularly if we feel that the scheme is in any way controversial in planning terms. We may also advise you to engage the service of a Quantity Surveyor to update the original ‘cost per metre’ budget from the feasibility.

 

 

Spatial coordination | Stage 3

Stage 3 is the finalising of the design and the point at which we formally engage the Local Authority in the planning application process. It is when we prepare and submit the scheme for planning approval, if it is needed, or clarify that it falls within the parameters of permitted development. Any information from the pre-application advice that is needed or any alterations that are required will be completed during stage 3.

Once an application has been made, we will have regular contact with the planning department [so much as they allow] to ensure that they have the information that they need to determine the application positively and to deal with any minor alterations that may be required.

 

 

Technical design | Stage 4

During Stage 4 – Technical Design, we convert the planning drawings into accurate technical drawings and a basic construction specification suitable for a building regulations application. This is generally the stage that we would also invite other consultants, such as structural engineers, to tender for their required input based on the approved scheme.

The benefit of getting a scheme right in the early stages of the project starts to be felt in Stage 4. Changes at this stage would incur additional fees and be time-consuming as we are adding in detail and negotiating with the Approved Inspector over matters of construction. Ideally, all key decisions will have been made prior to this stage and the conversation should involve building techniques and benefits rather than wall positions and aesthetics.

 

 

Technical Design | Stage 4

As part of the technical stage, we may be asked to prepare a Tender, which covers the development of tendering information for the project to send out to contractors. When we tender, we add additional information in the form of Room Data Information, additional schedules and a more detailed specification. This ensures that contractors are all pricing on a level playing field.

If you would like us involved in the tender process itself, we can help to put together a list of contractors. We will review all tender prices and advise on what we consider to be the best way to take the project to site. The tender process is often frustrating and based very much on the market situation at the point of issuing the tender documents. Most projects tender 6-9 months after the initial consultation, meaning that many factors might have changed. Please note that we have no control over contractors and cannot guarantee that returns are on time.

 

 

Manufacturing and construction | Stage 5

Once a contractor has been selected, we will negotiate any changes or reductions in cost, we will then put together the building contract and final construction drawings based on the agreed schedule of work and amend the drawing package according to any negotiations.

Stage 5 sees the project move to site where we would manage the contract and inspect works as they are completed. Generally, we would expect to visit the site at key set dates once or twice monthly to review the works completed and certify any claims for money by the contractor. We would also deal with any issues that may arise on site during the project and sign off any variations to the contract sum to ensure that either party is remunerated for unexpected alterations to the project as necessary. As part of this process; we chair regular meetings to discuss the progression of the project and raise or resolve any concerns.

 

 

Handover | Stage 6

This is the end of the project. It involves ‘snagging’ the project for defects and the final inspection during the rectification period. We ensure that the final account is agreed and settled once any snags have been addressed.

Following the rectification of any snags, the work is complete, and you can enjoy the new addition to your home.

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