We have set out below the services that Shape Architecture provides.
We are friendly, supportive and flexible in the services that we offer and follow the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) plan of work in the way our services are set out. Our flexibility allows a potential Client to appoint Shape Architecture for any range of services they require. It may be that survey, design and planning permission are instructed first and then technical development at a later point. We are happy with this.
Shape Architecture’s fees are a fixed lump sum and not a percentage of the works so as to give our Clients cost certainty. The fees are then further divided into each of the RIBA work stages for clarity and to support the flexible service we offer. We invoice monthly in arrears according to the amount of work undertaken that month. Fixed fees and a flexible service are appreciated by all our clients.
Following our appointment, we will attend site within a matter of days to carry out the survey and will produce the measured survey brochure in 5 days which will also include a 3D model of the existing property.
Our survey brochure includes 2D plans, elevations and sections, context photographs and a 3D model of the property. We also include a site location plan and a site block plan. These are all drawings that the planning authority require as part of a planning application.
We would have discussed the brief during our interview and ask that our Clients provide a simple series of bullet points supported by any other material, such as Pinterest boards, that they wish to provide. We will work with you to understand your aspirations and budget and any other site constraints.
Design Proposals and the Planning Process
The success of the design process is based on clear communication, and we ensure this is the achieved with the use of 3D computer models and images. We will produce a design concepts brochure that typically explores around 5 design proposals. Each is explained in 2D CAD drawings, annotated sketches and 3D computer views. We will email this brochure as a PDF document and once our Clients have had a chance to review this, our Practice Director will visit to discuss all options and work towards a preferred scheme.
It is important to understand the appropriate planning application and particularly so if the project is a listed building. Associated with each planning route is a list of requirements in respect of the type and extent of information that should be submitted.
We often use the planning authority’s ‘Pre-App’ submission process. This allows us to submit several deign proposals in order to obtain early feedback which then serves to inform the application proper. We always follow this approach when working on listed building projects,
Following these discussions, we will draw up the preferred scheme for sign off by the Client. This will include an update of the 3D model and also the draft planning drawings set presented as the planning authority requires. Supporting Design and Access statements and Heritage statements will also be prepared. Should we need reports by other consultants such as Flood Risk or Construction Methodology statements then Shape Architecture will co-ordinate this.
Once complete we will then submit the planning application on behalf of our Client electronically via the planning portal website and monitor its progress and keep our Clients updated.
Detailed and Technical Design
Following the granting of planning permission, we typically move onto the detailed and technical design of the project. This process will create a series of drawings from which the building can be priced and constructed. We will look at room layouts, lighting and electrical design. The design of bathrooms and kitchens and any bespoke furniture. This will be supported by a series of technical detail drawings. A structural engineer is likely to be involved and we will work with them to produced a co-ordinated design. We will also obtain quotes from Party Wall surveyors for our client in order that the party wall process may begin.
The Competitive Tender Process
Shape Architecture will run a competitive tender process on behalf of our Clients to achieve best value. Our tender list will include 4 to 5 of our trusted Contractors, with whom we have years of experience in building projects. We are happy to include any Contractors that our Clients may also wish to include. Each Contractor will structure their pricing in line with our Schedule of Works which itemises every element of the build for clarity. We will question the figures and work to ensure the tender returns are as firm as possible. This work will form part of the tender report we provide to our clients and on this basis the preferred Contractor will be selected.
Following the selection of a Contractor Shape Architecture will put in place the building contract ready for signing by our Client and Contractor. This will be an appropriate form of contract from the JCT (Joint Contracts Tribunal) suite of contracts and is and is an industry standard.
The Project on site to Completion
Shape Architecture will visit site on a regular basis. Following each site visit we will issue a report detailing comments and actions. On larger projects we will run monthly site progress meetings to a fixed agenda. We are there to answer any questions that the Contractor may have and equally our Client. Should our client wish to make changes to the design then these are things we manage on site. We will also answer questions raised by Building Control. As at all stages we are sitting between our Client and all other parties. When the Contractor submits a valuation we will visit site to inspect works undertaken and prepare an Architects Certificate which is the document the Client will pay against. Our certificate deducts 5% from the valuation as a retention sum which is held at the end of the project. Half of the retention is retuned at practical completion and the remaining half 3-6 months hence. At the end of the project we will carry out a detailed snagging list and monitor the Contractor’s discharge of this list.
The Contractors we work with are in large part retained on our tender list due to their customer facing skills and this includes returning to site following completion should any problems occur.