The Critical Path
A successful project, whether it is a small-scale operation such as a house extension or a major building programme, depends upon the project team following a logical and well-considered critical path. This starts with initial discussions, briefing and information gathering and ends with the final decorations and finishing touches to the furniture and furnishings etc. The critical path follows these sequential work stages.
Stage 1 – Project inception
Formulation of the client brief, advising on time-scales, likely building costs, local authority statutory conditions, the need to engage specialist consultants / formation of the project team.
Stage 2 – Concept design
Preparation of outline design proposals in response to the client’s brief. Preparation of a comprehensive and all-inclusive budget plan. Preparation of a proposed programme identifying all anticipated time-scales.
Stage 3 – Design development
Developing the design scheme to a more detailed level preparing a set of drawings, diagrams and all relevant documentation in order to make a planning application. Reviewing of a project budget and programme. Monitoring of the planning application through to the local authority’s determination.
Stage 4 – Technical design
Liaising with structural engineers and any other specialist consultants. Preparation of a full set of detailed construction drawings, diagrams, specifications, schedules etc in order to facilitate a ‘contract tender’ or ‘a ‘contract negotiation process’. Submission of all relevant technical information to the local authority for ‘Building Regulations Approval’.
Stage 5 – Construction phase
Liaising with the structural engineers and all other relevant specialist consultants and generally preparing the project for the building works to commence on site. Preparation of contract documentation. Agreeing the building works programme with the contractor and all nominated sub-contractors. General administration and over-seeing of the building works on a regular basis throughout the construction phase. Generally monitoring the progress of the building works and reporting back to the clients on all relevant matters. Including regular cost updates.
Stage 6 – Project completion
Overseeing the final stages of the building and fitting-out works, Liaising with the clients, building contractors, specialist sub-contractors and suppliers. Arranging and hand-over of the completed scheme to the clients for their beneficial occupation. Identifying any latent defects and instructing the building contractor to carry-out any remedial works that may be necessary.
Resolving the final building costs and agreeing these costs with both client and contractor.
Stage 7 – Post contract monitoring
When a project is completed and the client is in occupation, we sometimes are asked to monitor the performance of the building and to advise on any further modifications and minor adjustments in these instances, we are happy to assist in the post contract evaluation of the project.
We make planning applications at the appropriate stage of the project. We make every effort to ensure that our applications to local authorities are successful and result in the granting of ‘Planning Consent’. We enjoy good relationships with many local authorities and more importantly we have a very high success rate in terms of gaining planning consent for our schemes. However, it is important to point out that planning authorities are unpredictable and can sometimes be difficult to work with. Therefore, we can never guarantee success in gaining a planning consent.
We monitor our applications to local authorities carefully and attentively. Sometimes we have to make minor moderations to our schemes in accordance with the requirements and directives from the planning officers.
Our fees in respect of making planning applications are charged on the submission of the application. The fees charged cover the monitoring process and making any minor modifications. Our fees are not dependent on the granting of ‘Planning Consent’ notice being issued.
If we have cause to make alterations to the scheme in order to win ‘Planning Consent’; then this additional work is charged on a time basis (in addition to the original fees for making the planning application).
Whist we make every effort to avoid design variations to our schemes, especially when the project is in the construction phase, we know from past experiences that clients can change their minds regarding certain aspects of the project as it is being built. Changes of mind, leading to what we refer to as ‘design variations’, tend to add to the building costs and the duration of the on-site building programme. If and when a client instructs a variation to the scheme we will advise on the cost and programming considerations. If we as architect then have cause to alter our approved design drawings, this work is charged additionally and on a time basis.
We try to discourage our clients from making design changes but we do acknowledge that they have the rights to do so.
Time expended between work stages
Occasionally a client will delay the progress of a project and there will be a dormant period between work stages as set out in this section, which yet may require the input and services of the architect during these periods of delay.
Whilst it is the clients’ prerogative to determine the progress of a project, we reserve the right to charge fees on a time basis for any involvement between work stages and that are not specifically covered by our overall fee agreement.