Designing and building any project typically follows a general process, which is defined in steps as outlined below.

Step 1 – The Brief:

During the initial meeting we focus on your needs and ideas and we will ask you some questions to help clarify your vision. During this meeting we often also outline a pathway for the project and what services we can offer. This session normally takes about 1 hour and is free of charge.

With your input we will develop a brief which serves as basis for all following steps.

Step 2 – Site Analysis and Measure up (Pre-design):

A site analysis is the gathering of information about the site. This includes research of various parameters which apply to the site or existing house, such as Regional, Territorial and Local Authority regulations, analysis of the existing structure and configuration of the house, and possible infrastructure issues such as sewerage, power and water supply, etc.

A site measure involves measuring up any existing buildings and other significant features such as trees and wells. It also includes a study of prevailing wind directions, sun angles, views and anything else pertinent to the site.

If you have a clear budget we will also review the match between your requirements and the budget.

Step 3 – Preliminary Design (Concept Design):

We prepare a number of sketches of the concept design. Based on your brief this includes plans, elevations, three dimensional exterior and interior views. We tend to produce these as freehand drawings in colour, which express the ideas and serve as great communication tools but don’t require excessive hours to prepare.

Typically this stage involves a number of iterations until, with your input, we refine the design to a point where the overall concept meets your brief.

It is common for other consultants such as geotechnical engineers, structural engineers or quantity surveyors to become involved during this stage.

At the end of this step we liaise with a planner at the local council to determine if a Resource Consent will be necessary. If required we can prepare the application, required drawings and documents for you.


Step 4 – Developed Design:

Once the concept has been agreed upon, we develop the design further. Plans, elevations and three-dimensional forms of the building as well as materials, finishes and specific products to be included in the project are confirmed.

Close collaboration with other specialists such as structural engineers is typically involved in this step.

Before proceeding with full working drawings and specification we recommend obtaining the services of a Quantity Surveyor to confirm the overall cost.

Another component of this step is the design of fixed interior elements such as kitchen and bathrooms. This stage however does not include full Interior Design, such as the selection of furniture, fabrics, linen etc. although we do offer these services separately.

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Step 5 – Construction Documentation (Detailed Design):

When the developed design is finalised the design process continues through its next stage at a detailed level. The result is a full set of drawings and specifications that includes construction details, materials, systems and finishes. These documents are required for the Building Consent and for the contractor to price and build from. 

Step 6 – Building Consent and Tendering/Negotiating:

We submit the drawings and specifications to the Territorial Authority for a building consent and communicate with them on the particulars of your project.

Unless you have a preferred builder already we can help with selecting the right contractor for your project.

We always recommend that the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) Standard Conditions of Contract (SCC 2014) or Small Works Contract be used. On projects with difficult time constraints, and/or when it is difficult to get builders, we recommend getting a contractor on board early on for a negotiated/partial tender process.

Step 7– Contract Administration / Construction Observation:

This service involves regular visits to the construction site to oversee the progress of the job, frequent liaising with the contractors to ensure that the project is built in accordance with the documents, frequent contact with sub-contractors, any other consultants involved, and the clients.

We monitor both quality and construction in accordance with the agreed contract, deal with arising queries and issue instructions to the builder.

Records are kept of variations, insurances, cost control, retentions and the issue of certificates of payment to the contractor.

Upon completion of the building works we do a thorough check of the project and compile a list of remedial work before issuing a Practical Completion Certificate. During the 3 months Defects Liability Period, which is legally the time for the contractor to make good any points listed in the architect’s snag list, we typically make occasional visits to check on the builder’s progress and to resolve any issues. Once all remedial work has been completed we issue the final certificate of payment and sign the job off for Final Completion.