Architect’s services can vary significantly depending on the size and type of project and the specific requirements of the client. This article outlines all of the architectural services provided by Architecture for London.
For private residential work such as house extensions, an architect’s role can cover all areas of the project, from briefing to contract administration, architecture, landscape and interior design.
Larger projects usually have a full design team with a number of other specialist consultants that assist the client. In this case, an architect’s role is typically more focused. The architect can act as the lead consultant where appropriate.
Architecture for London offers a full range of architectural services. We can assist with a full service throughout the project, or a limited appointment for specific RIBA work stages. View our portfolio of recent work, or contact us on 0333 772 7253 to discuss your project.
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RIBA work stage 1
The design process begins with a meeting with an architect at your property. This initial design session lasts for either half a day or a full day, depending on your requirements. We will help to define your brief and advise on the best way forward for the project.
A. Brief development
Architect’s services include developing the brief and discussing alternative approaches for your project. This stage includes advising on the need for other consultants, from structural engineers to home automation specialists. We will also assess any soil or structural investigations required.
B. Proposed sketches
We will discuss a variety of design ideas with you, including material finishes, organisation of spaces, qualities of natural light and views.
Following this we will produce a set of scaled, hand drawn sketch plans.
C. Assess required consents
The statutory consents required for your building project will be considered.
D. Cost information
Your budget will be discussed and agreed. We will provide outline construction cost information based on current prices per square metre for comparable projects in London.
E. Draft programme
A programme will be produced alongside the payment schedule that describes the sequence and duration of each element of the design and construction works until completion on site.
RIBA work stages 2-3
The design process is a collaborative one, and your architect will discuss each aspect of the proposal in detail with you as the design develops. We provide architects plans, other drawings, material samples and 3D rendered views that illustrate the qualities of the proposed spaces.
A. Appoint consultants
We will suggest appropriate consultants from our list of suitable firms in London. These may include a structural engineer, a party wall surveyor and an approved inspector.
Larger and more complex projects may additionally require a planning consultant and a quantity surveyor.
B. Outline designs
Our proposals will be developed into a full set of planning drawings. We can produce realistic 3D visualisations alongside sketch drawings to enable you to clearly envisage ideas. We will work closely with you to decide the final appearance of the scheme, including material finishes, for which we can provide samples and mood boards.
C. Obtain cost estimates
At this stage a quantity surveyor may be appointed to produce a detailed cost estimate of the scheme prior to submitting a planning application. This will ensure that the project is on budget. The cost report provides a detailed ‘shopping list’ of all items in the project, allowing informed decisions to be made if savings are required on specific items.
D. Planning consents
Pre-application advice may be sought from the local authority. Following this, an application will be prepared for planning consents. Plans, elevations and sections will be submitted alongside a design and access statement.
For smaller projects there is usually an eight week determination period, in which time the planners will consult with neighbours and relevant bodies.
E. Other consents
Various other consents may be required, depending on the scope of the project. These may include listed building consent, freeholder consent for leasehold properties or Highways approval.
Architect’s services at this stage typically include progressing the design from planning drawings to a fully developed proposal, with detailed drawings and schedules describing the works.
These form part of a package that will enable prices to be provided for construction.
A. Detailed designs
Detailed drawings (sometimes called blueprints or architectural details) will be produced to finalise all elements of the design, indicating key junctions, structural design, services including electrical layouts, and floor, wall and roof constructions.
B. Building Regulations
A building regulations package including detailed drawings and notes are submitted to an approved inspector who will certify compliance with the building regulations.
C. Party wall notices
Your architect will liaise with a party wall surveyor to ensure that the appropriate party wall notices are issued in accordance with the work described on the detailed drawings.
D. Interior design
We are able to produce a complete interior design for all projects, including soft furnishings. We also offer landscape design, bespoke joinery and kitchen design if required.
E. Select building contract
We will advise on the selection of an appropriate building contract for the works, and explain the process of entering into a building contract.
We highlight the duties of the client, the architect and the contractor at each stage.
F. Prepare tender documents
Tender documents will be prepared to supply to contractors for pricing. These will include a schedule of works, detailed demolition and construction drawings.
G. Invite contractors to tender
Contractors will be invited to tender, allowing a period of 4 weeks for contractors to review the documents and return completed tender submissions with a lump sum price and a total contract duration in weeks. We will advise on the selection of a contractor.
During construction works, your architect will visit the site to see that work is proceeding in accordance with the proposed designs. Following completion your architect will make final inspections and advise on any rectification works required.
A. Appoint a contractor
A pre-contract meeting will be arranged with the selected contractor to discuss the project in detail and to present the building contract for signatures.
B. Issue construction drawings
A full set of construction drawings will be issued to the contractor and work will begin on site.
C. Contractor’s queries
We will deal with queries and issue formal Architect’s Instructions to the contractor.
D. Certify work completed
At regular intervals we will visit site to inspect all work, to ensure that it is completed to the required standard. Once this is agreed, we will certify the work completed and the sums due to the contractor.
A 5% sum is typically retained until the end of the project.
E. Extensions of time & claims
Typically a building contract contains provisions for damages to be awarded to the client for over-runs on the part of the contractor. The contractor may however claim for extensions of time for valid reasons. We will assess these and award if appropriate.
F. Final account and certificate
The architect’s practical completion certificate transfers possession of the building to the client. At this stage the rectification period will begin. This is typically a 6 month period in which the contractor is instructed to return to rectify any relevant issues.
Once the final certificate is issued at the end of this period the remaining retention sum is paid to the contractor.
To view our recent projects and learn about the architect’s services provided for each, please visit our project portfolio.
What does an architect do?
For private residential work such as house extensions, an architect’s role can cover all areas of the project, from briefing to inspecting work on site, architecture, landscape and interior design. For larger projects an architect’s role will be more focussed and they will work as part of a larger team.
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