The Houl, Castle Douglas - Simon Winstanley Architects

© Andrew Lee

The Construction Process

Chartered architects usually consider projects in terms of work stages based on the RIBA Plan of Work 2013.

Work Stages

The investment of effort in the different work stages is often assessed as a percentage of the whole, typically as shown in the table.

The percentages of both the total fee and the staged work should be reviewed and set by the architect for each the individual project and be based on his/her experience. The RIAS cannot take responsibility for the appropriateness of percentages adopted nor should the above be taken as applicable in all projects.

Stage 0Time basis
Stage 15%
Stage 210%
Stage 325%
Stage 435%
Stage 520%
Stage 65%
Stage 7Time basis

Grödians, Lerwick – Richard Gibsons Architects

© Phatsheep Photography

Stage 0 – Strategic Definition

The nature of this stage is primarily exploratory, in order to see if there is a business case for the project being proposed. As such, it is open ended and can only be charged on a time basis. Some architects may decide not to make a charge at this stage.

Stage 1 – Preparation and Brief

The aim of this stage is to ascertain whether the scheme is feasible and to identify any fundamental objections to the scheme. The amount of work for the architect may vary considerably. Also, it may be impossible to identify a reasonably realistic contract cost at this stage. Some architects may consider it appropriate to charge this work on a time basis.

Stage 2 – Concept Design

Sketch drawings will seek to interpret the brief and to identify a possible architectural solution. The intention is to settle on outline drawings, sometimes called final sketch plans. These will be produced after initial consultations with statutory authorities have taken place and the brief has been fully clarified.

Stage 3 – Developed Design

The concept design is developed to show the appearance of a building, how fixtures and fittings are incorporated and how important details of construction are intended to work. The agreed budget will be taken into account when developing the design information in harmony with previously identified objectives as regards, for instance, quality, long-term maintenance and energy performance.

This stage normally culminates in the architect providing the information for design and layout to accompany the Client’s application to the local authority for Planning permission.

Stage 4 – Technical Design

This stage is where the architect prepares, based on what has already been agreed, detailed technical information, suitable for the Contractor to use in construction of the project and will include obtaining the necessary statutory consents. A common milestone that architects use in apportioning fees is that of ‘tender for the main construction contract’. In most, though by no means all, cases this will occur at the end of Stage 4.

Stage 5 – Construction

At this stage, the architect’s role will normally be limited to administering the Construction Contract and making site inspections as appropriate so as to ensure that the Contractor is following the drawings and specification, work completed is of an appropriate standard and staged payments to the Contractor are correctly certified.

In traditional procurement, the chartered architect’s role as contract administrator is to make periodic site visits to inspect the general progress of the work, to issue instructions to the contractor and, if necessary, to reject obviously unsatisfactory work. If you wish closer inspection of the contractor’s work you can employ a clerk of works, or come to an agreement whereby the chartered architect makes more frequent visits to the site. Your chartered architect will report to you on matters of progress, on any unforeseen circumstances on site, any variations in budget or programme, and will issue periodic certificates for stage payments due to the contractor.

Stage 6 – Handover and Close Out

The architect acting as Contract Administrator will be concluding all aspects of the Building Contract including the inspection of defects, as they are rectified, or the production of certification required under the Building Contract.

Stage 7 – In Use

This refers to services that are usually considered supplemental to the main project (e.g. post project evaluations) and will therefore probably be charged at a separately negotiated rate.

The Broch, Borve, Isle of Harris – SBA Architects

© Borve Estate

Care of the Building

Buildings need proper maintenance. If they are to remain in good condition, they require regular inspection, especially of all external elements. Your chartered architect can help you to plan a sequence of inspection and maintenance procedures especially for those parts of a building exposed to the rigours of our climate. If you so wish, such help can include the provision of a maintenance manual. Remember that minor problems can become major problems if not attended to.


Resolving Disputes

When you use a chartered architect you are protected; skills have to be exercised to the standards established by the professional body, in professional conduct and in the procedures by which your appointment is executed.

A chartered architect is obliged to uphold the reputation of the profession and fellow professionals; to carry out work on behalf of clients honourably, independently and efficiently; and to declare any interest which might conflict with the status of an independent consultant architect.

The RIAS is willing to assist with any difficulties that may arise concerning an architect’s appointment. However, serious complaints regarding conduct should be addressed to:

The Architects’ Registration Board (ARB)
8 Weymouth Street
London W1W 5BU
020 7580 5861

The Old Schoolyard, Edinburgh – Zone Architects

© Paul Zanre