Our work is developed along the lines of the RIBA plan of works.
1 Strategic Definition
When a client approaches SPIN architecture for the first time, we will spend time to understand the strategic brief and parameters. These will include site constraints, the clients’ ambitions for the project and inspirations behind it, and initial ideas of budget and timings. We will note issues that may not have come to the clients’ attention before, including perhaps planning constraints and party wall matters, and we will outline possible strategies. We will explain the process and stages and try to discuss programme. We will often suggest having a survey done as it is the best way to avoid issues in the future. Once the brief is agreed and timescales have been discussed, we will produce a fee proposal to the client, often broken down in stages depending on the type and size of the project.
Preparation and brief
Once the fee proposal has been agreed, the role of SPIN architecture will be to guide the client and help develop a detailed brief, including quality objectives and project outcomes. Depending on the size and type of the project, some consultants might be necessary: mechanical and electrical consultant, planning consultant, daylight sunlight consultant, structure engineer, project manager, quantity surveyor…
Concept and Design
We will quickly work up a design and propose a scheme to demonstrate the scope and general arrangements of the proposed layout. This will be done either by freehand sketching, simple CAD 2d or 3d and potentially models. Options can be explored and a consensus with the client agreed about the way to take the design forward. Depending on the demands of the project a supporting design consultant team will be recommended. A general programme will be established for the team to work to. If town planning or listed building consent is required SPIN architecture will consider the likely difficulty of the potential negotiations and whether this makes the appointment of a planning consultancy advisable. In the case of relevant works to leasehold properties SPIN architecture will prepare applications for freeholders licence for alterations and any other applications towards beneficiaries of covenants and so on. At this stage SPIN architecture will also consider and advise on matters such as party wall awards and suggest the relevant party consultants.
2 Detail Design and Legislation Compliance
With a full team of consultants appointed by this stage SPIN architecture will work towards production of a fully compliant design, which in due course, will be submitted for building control plans approval along with relevant mandatory design support information on structural calculations and energy usage. At this stage detailed designs can be considered for building servicing options. A QS, if appointed, can make a robust cost plan and action can be taken at this stage if budgets constraints are found to be tested; always better to take action at this stage than wait for return of tenders and have a disappointing surprise and delay further down the line
3 Construction Documentation
With the detail of the design fleshed out, the full design team will proceed with the bulk of the tender stage construction information, which will take the form of plans, sections, details, notes and schedules, and details of specialist suppliers and sub-contractors who will be required to fulfil parts of the construction requirements. This is largely a ‘back office’ task where little client contact is required as the design team focus on delivering the documentation. However it can also be a time where secondary design considerations can be brought to the fore and time can be spent with the client reviewing furniture or upholstery options, for instance. The amount of information produced will depend on the type of appointment we have, and with our mutual agreements.
4Tendering and Cost Negotiation
Typically SPIN architecture would draw up a tender list of four or five suitably qualified main contractors and invite expressions of interest in the works. On return of tenders, we will work with the QS (if one is appointed) to check, negotiate if necessary, and finalize the contract cost.
5 Work on Site
SPIN architecture will work closely with the contractor over agreeing start procedures and key programme dates, requests for information and revisions to the design to suit ‘as found’ site conditions. Site inspections will be agreed and their frequency will vary according to the needs. Any key issues will trigger a telephone or email exchange with the client to obtain instructions before any variations are issued to the contractor. The progress of the works is monitored and logged continuously through written instructions, certificates and valuations which can be copied in to the client if required if we are administrator, alternatively we work in close relationship with an appointed project manager/contract administrator.