To those outside the construction industry the project process can seem overwhelming and complex.
Tools like the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 offer information about briefing, designing and constructing buildings but they do not always provide answers, to the contrary, they may create to more questions.
With that in mind, Studio Forty has integrated the RIBA Plan of Work into our own 4-step process to offer you greater understanding.
1 | Contact & Consultation
At the point of first contact we are looking for three things; contact information, a description of your project and to arrange an appointment to meet with you and observe the building/site.
The consultation will be our first meeting, so fundamentally it's about introductions. It is also an opportunity for you to ask questions about the process and to raise any concerns you may have, and for us to discuss the brief, as we begin to formulate one that addresses your needs. Finally, we will assess the site to understand project practicalities, identify planning concerns and detect potential constraints.
Fee Proposal & Stages of Work
Following the consultation we will send you an informal email. Should you remain interested in working with us, we will issue to you a letter of appointment, that serves as a contract between us.
The appointment outlines the stages of work and associated fees, specific to your project.
Please note our fees relate to the RIBA stages and are based upon the scope of services identified during our first consultation.
At this stage we will make you aware of any other consultants that may be needed and survey requirements to enable the designs to develop.
At the project outset we will ask if we are to design to budget or to brief. There is an important distinction to be drawn between the two, as designing to budget may prohibit achieving the brief.
Often clients ask for the brief to be met however, in such instances, we undertake value engineering with clients at Stage 3, when tenders are returned by contractors. This may result in reducing or amending the design so as to reduce the build price, which may incur further designs fees.
A number of assessments might be required for your project. As standard, we undertake a dimensional building survey, regardless of your project type - new build or extension.
Additionally, a level (topographical) or arboricultural (tree) survey might need to be undertaken, to assist with production of the design.
2 | Concept & Planning
During Stage 2 the initial concept is developed into a design. Once signed off by you, the design is progressed into a comprehensive set of information ready for a planning application. Studio Forty will then submit this to the relevant local council on your behalf and shall monitor the application with the relevant case officer.
Planning application decisions take a minimum of eight weeks to process once validated by the council and an external council fee is payable for planning submissions. The fees range from £206 for an extension up to £462 for a new build.
This is an independent, unbiased process undertaken by either the local planning department or, indeed, the local planning committee if necessary.
Every change you make to the design has a knock-on effect; think of a Rubik's cube, and repercussions can impact upon your project timescale and budget.
For this reason, before progressing to the planning submission stage, it is imperative that you are happy with your design; even the minute details. Design changes take time, cost money and in worst case scenarios, subsequent alterations to approved planning permissions may result in further, amended planning permission applications.
3 | Technical Design
Once planning consent has been achieved we will commence detailed design of the project. At the end of this stage we will have a completed design with which we are able to obtain a construction cost.
Dependent upon your preference and based upon the detailed design, we will follow one of two procurement routes. Either, a quote and final price negotiation with a preferred contractor or, we undertake a traditional tender process whereby three construction companies tender for the work.
Once you have chosen a preferred procurement route, tender costs are returned. We will evaluate them and advise you of our thoughts however, it is imperative that the building goes to site with costs that you are happy with.
You can expect for work to commence on site knowing around 85% of the overall costs. This is because details such as finishes may not be known, or the subsequent cost of items. This is perfectly normal in construction and the cost of the project can be adjusted once definitive decisions have been made by you on such items.
4 | Construction
For any project, commencement on site is a key milestone. We thrive when working with contractors towards the realisation of our design concepts. Seeing those concepts emerge from the drawing board and become built form is our main motivation, and we work tirelessly to ensure they are delivered with precision and that any snagging issues on site are swiftly remedied .
We produce construction drawings for the appointed contractor to work with. These drawings have additional information such as interior details and client requirements, which may not have been known at the time of the tender.
While these drawings co-ordinate everything, Studio Forty is typically appointed to administer the building contract and oversee construction, making it an even more fluid process. This is designed to give clients peace of mind, providing a valuation of the works on site and payment certificates. This means you only pay for what the contractor has actually delivered on site, work which has been verified and signed off by us.
Project management is an additional service offered by Studio Forty to ensure the smooth running of the scheme and to integrate the contracting team with your exact needs outside the contract. This takes the pressure off you, the client, to manage elements of the build (such as materials or kitchens) to be delivered to the site within the programme and the design.
After the flurry of activity and having embarked on this exciting journey with us, you will find yourself at the final milestone.
Whether a residential or commercial project, refurbishment or new-build or restoration you will have a unique, well-crafted, architect-designed building that is both functional and beautiful – and something you feel very proud of.