Inception is the first step. You have decided to contact an architectural professional and you have communicated your needs. After your first encounter and appointment of the designer, they will provide a brief (a description) of the project, stipulating the needs and constraints of the project. You will agree to a fee structure and the scope of works (an outline of the architect’s responsibilities). The site and rights are investigated as well as budgetary constraints and the need for consultants. The project programme (timeline) and methods of contracting are discussed.


The concept phase aims to translate the brief into initial drawings. These sketches aim to transform thoughts shared between the designer and the client into three dimensional forms. Alongside the sketches the designer will do research about the limitations of the project, materials and inquire the local authority about possible restrictions. The project budget and programme is reviewed in respect to the initial design


The concept images are developed into more detailed plans, elevations, sections and perspectives. These drawings are loaded with more information than the concept images and a provisional costing can be determined. Detailed 3D images can also be provided in this phase to communicate and determine materials, construction systems and components. The needs for consultants are reviewed as well as the programme.


Before any construction may precede an approved building plan by your local municipality must be available on site. This process can be frustrating and timeous and therefore it will be wise to start the process as early as possible. The designer will prepare documents for approval from the local authority and help the client through the process. The designer will prepare a specification and review both costings and the programme.


Whilst the plans are circulating at council, preparation of working drawings are underway. Working drawings are detailed drawings used by the contractor for construction. The designer will use these drawings in the tender process (appointment of contractor based on quote). Working drawings are continuously updated through the construction process and the designer will ensure that the contractor has the latest revision.


The plans are approved by the local authority, the contractor is appointed, the contract is signed, the construction documents are issued and now the construction process can start. The designer can function as the principal agent and facilitate the contract between the client and the contractor. Site visits will be organised to ensure that the team is up to date and to ensure a smooth running project. Construction may be challenging and emotional but with the help of your designer the process will run smoothly.


At the end of the building process the following is facilitated by the designer: The snag list, occupancy certificate, compliance certificates and the preparation of any other necessary documentation to affect completion. The designer is to provide the client with complete as-built drawings. This full architectural package provides the client with a comprehensive service and seeks to ensure that the project stays within budget, programme and delivers a high quality product.