- id8 Designs is an RIBA Chartered Architecture Practice and registered with the ARB (Architects Registration Board). Only individuals registered with the ARB can legally make use of the protected title “architect” and be listed on public directories and advertise their services as an architect. This ensures a high standard of design and professional service, as architects are required to undertake a long period of training, adhere to the ARB code of conduct as well as carry minimum levels of PI insurance. Companies and individuals advertising “architectural services” and “architecture” are often not architects and will not be registered and regulated by the RIBA or ARB. They will not be permitted to display the RIBA crest, though will go to lengths to blur the distinctions. They typically provide low-cost drawing services, with little design input – they are generally offered as a cheap incentive by a builder to tie a client into their construction services. This is a false economy as an architect can save the cost of the fee through a competitive tendering process for the construction works. The RIBA has a useful guide to appointing an architect.
- The RIBA website includes a downloadable guide to working with an architect, including guidance to fees. Fees are generally based on a percentage of the project value, with the workstages up to tender stage based on a projected cost for the design at that point. After actual figures are obtained, the subsequent work stage fees are based on these actual figures. Fee rates are based upon the regional fee surveys carried out annually by Mirza and Nacey. These are then apportioned to each workstage and invoiced monthly, with a catch-up where applicable.
- The “RIBA Outline Plan of Work” organises the process of managing, and designing building projects and administering building contracts into a number of key Work Stages. We can provide architectural services to cover each stage of a project to suit your needs and budget. You may choose to just have the initial consultation to get a feel for the potential of a build, or develop a scheme up to submission of a planning application. Please contact us to discuss your project. We can also provide detailed drawings and specification for the full range of RIBA services:
- RIBA Workstages 0, 1 – Initial visit and consultation. This meeting will last up to an hour. These discussions will help form the brief and initial concepts for the project. We can also advise on costs, contracts and options for taking the works forward.
- Contracts. If you decide to take the project forward, the next step would be to enter into a formal contract. This would set out the architects services and obligations to the client and vice versa. Again, there is flexibility to pick and choose the architect’s services that would suit the project and your budget. The RIBA charter does not allow an architect to proceed with work unless a contract is in place.
- Measured survey. To work up proposals, we will need to carry out a measured survey of the existing property and to have this in a CAD format. This allows us to prepare sketch proposals and to develop the scheme. A measured survey of the existing plan and elevations would also be required for submission of a planning application to show the extent of the proposals. The fee to carry out a measured and drawn survey will depend on the complexity and size of the existing property and of the proposed scheme. Generally, for a terraced house the fee is approximately £650, for a 3 bedroom semi-detached house, around £800. A more precise fee can be advised at the initial meeting.
- RIBA Workstage 2 – Concept Design. These are drawings and sketches to develop the design and to communicate options to the client. The goal being to submit a design, that meets your needs as well as fulfilling the planning requirements of the local authority (if applicable). This process can take as long as it requires for yourself to become comfortable with the design, as it is preferable to explore as many options as possible and to discount any that do not satisfy the brief. This would hopefully avoid any ‘what if we had done that…’ situations later on. This is the key process in adding ‘value’ to the property, as a design that improves the house as a place to live and enjoy, as well as increasing the market value.
- RIBA Workstage 3 – Statutory Consent Drawings. Design drawings completed to allow submission of a planning application, application for lawful development (permitted development) or equivalent stage.
- RIBA Workstage 4a – Technical Design and Production InformationSubmission of Building Control Application and Tender to Contractors. This stage aims to develop the technical aspects of the design such as the structural design, electrical layout, plumbing, roof and wall design etc. The aim of this is twofold:
1 – To provide adequate information to make a Building Control Application (this is the local authority department that approves the technical aspects of construction work).
2 – To provide a comprehensive set of drawings and documentation to allow a number of builders/contractors to competitively tender for the project. This will allow the client to obtain the best price from the marketplace. The architect’s work at this stage can also save money, by taking as much guesswork as possible out of the contractor’s pricing system. Most clients find this to be a most informative process as it shows how well a builder can actually read and follow drawings and documentation, but also the pricing variations, which have been considerable in some cases – up to £200K on one particular project!
- RIBA Workstage 5
- Procurement of a Main Contractor;Tender Documentation and Tender Action. This is the culmination of the work in the previous stage, whereby the drawings and documentation are issued to contractors for pricing. These are usually contractors that I have had previous positive experience of, as well as any that have been recommended to you by friends or family. The contractors will need to be set up as main contractors, with full insurance to carry out the works. They will be the single point of contact for the project, and will manage purchasing of materials and programming of the workforce.
- Mobilisation and Site Works through to Practical Completion; Agreeing start dates and programme; Certification of Works. A contract is drawn up between the client and the main contractor. This is based on a standard form of contract for construction works. It contains the terms and conditions for the project, including payment terms and programme. A contract also allows for a retention of the contract sum, so 5% is deducted from each certificate as security. Half of this amount is released at Practical Completion, which is the point at which the project is complete enough to allow it to be used as intended. On a day to day basis, an architect will this attend to the coordination of the works with external suppliers (eg doors, kitchens, sanitaryware chosen by client) as well as Certifying of the works for payment to the contractor and agreeing the final accounts between all parties. This will also ensure that unforeseen issues (a necessary risk when dealing with existing buildings and any underground works) are dealt with and priced fairly.
- RIBA Workstage 6 – Completion. Any minor works to be carried out are completed and certified. The remaining 2.5% of the contract sum is retained for 3/6 months (dependant on size of project) when the contractor returns to rectify any defects. Major issues will be tended to as they arise during this period. The final accounts are agreed and the Completion Certificate is issued.The above lists are only guidelines. Services are tailored to suit the project, budget and specific client requirements, so it is best to contact me for further information. Other services will be undertaken if required, such as interior design, kitchen design or bathroom design – some will be undertaken by default of discussions, so it is best to discuss requirements as we progress the brief and design.
- It should also be remembered that a certain amount of domestic development can be carried out under Permitted Development rights, which do not require planning permission. However, it would be wise to confirm the extent of these with the relevant local planning authority, since they can vary depending on the history and location of a property. If this is applicable, they may be sufficient for your development and improvement plans. This would effectively reduce the time required prior to preparation of detailed design and construction information.
- CDM (Construction Design and Management) came into force on 6th April 2015. The new revision extends to almost all domestic projects and applies legal responsibilities for health and safety on the whole construction process from concept to completion. This will involve a number of processes to reduce and manage risks prior, during and subsequent to the construction project. This includes the appointment of a Principle Designer, with responsibility for assessing risks in the design and collation of a design stage health and safety file, as well as notification of the project to the Health and Safety Executive and notifying a client of their duties under the new regulations. The architect can undertake the role of Principle Designer under CDM, but this will need to be discussed in relation to the proposed project. Any contractors will also need to be aware of the new regulations and how to satisfy their roles under them. The regulations previously only applied to larger domestic and commercial sector projects.