We offer a full range of Professional Services relating to design and the built environment, including all architectural services, project management, exhibitions, graphic and interior design. As evident from our Portfolio we undertake projects of various scale and complexity. The Practice is very well rehearsed in taking projects from feasibility to completion following the stages below as set out in the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Plan of Work 2013.
Additionally we empathise with projects which we feel are for the greater good, but underfunded. Therefore we are very pro-active in fund-raising and advising clients and community groups on the availability of funding.
We consider our specialisms to be: Commercial, Conservation, Health, Historic, House extensions/renovations, Industrial, Landscaping, Masterplanning, Refurbishment, Residential and Sustainability, however we are very capable of adapting our broad range of skills to any project.
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When a site is first identified for development it will be assessed whether a scheme is feasible. This can include identifying planning restrictions, history of site, availability of services, accessibility, ground conditions climatic conditions etc. To determine feasibility detailed site analysis is undertaken including a topographical survey indicating the land fall.
This stage can vary in length of time depending on the complexity of a site, or occasionally not required at all.
It is important that as a client you have a clear brief and/or vision in your mind. Discussions with the architect are much more productive when as a client you are able to communicate your thoughts, likes and dislikes. If you are unsure about what direction you want to take the project don't worry. In developing a brief you will have an in-depth discussion with the architect regarding your lifestyle, daily routine and your core beliefs (relevant ones). From this we will get an insight into you as a client and this will inform our decisions for the rest of the project.
Before moving to the next stage an important part of the Brief is being clear and agreeing upon a Budget. It is boring, and can be a damper, but for the majority 'The Budget' will be a recurring theme throughout the process. Once a budget has been agreed it gives us a constraint to work within. Constraints are never viewed negatively in design, but all part of the challenge of creating an appropriate design.
Having evaluated the site analysis and the brief the two elements are brought together to form a concept. The concept is the big idea which is the driving force behind the design; a broch, rocky outcrop, vernacular etc.
In Architecture there is no correct answer or one solution therefore the process of Design can take several attempts. The involvement and honesty during this process from clients is crucial. With constructive feedback from a client we, the designer, can refine the design to their specific needs.
Once a design is agreed we would usually involve a Quantity Surveyor to estimate the build cost. Appointing a QS may initially seem like an additional unnecessary expense, but it is advisable to have an experienced person keeping an eye on expenditure.
Depending on the outcome of the estimate the design will either move forward to applying for Planning, or undergo alterations to adhere to the budget.
The experience of gaining Planning Permission can vary greatly depending on the site's situation, the appearance of a project can be under more scrutiny in a rural areas. Additionally the site may have already been identified as having restrictions. Nonetheless, reaching this stage is an achievement and with approval can give the project a boost.
Processing a Planning Application will generally take 6-8 weeks; this is dependent on the local authority and the complexity of the application. In more complex circumstances an application can take longer.
Building Warrant is the technical part; when a project moves from idealistic to realistic.
Before starting work on site a Building Warrant must be obtained from the applicable Local Authority. To gain the approval of a Building Warrant the project must comply with the current Scottish Government Building Standards; these ensure not only that a building is structurally sound but that it reaches current standards in energy consumption, creates healthy environments for habitation and is accessible for all.
At this stage there will be involvement from a number of consultants regarding structure, services, energy and consultants from specified items. Gathering all the necessary information can take months as we rely on receiving information from consultants.
Once a Building Warrant Application is made it can take up to 6 weeks to be processed. Rarely is an application approved first time. Building Control will often ask for further information or clarification.
Once a Building Warrant has been issued we then proceed to Tender stage. For Tender we produce a large package of drawings, a Bill of Quantities and Conditions of Contract to several contractors for tender. Quotes received from contractors will be assessed by a Quantity Surveyor and they will produce a balanced report on the received information.
At this point it is advisable that as many design decision as possible are made; this way an accurate quote can be produced and the risk of increasing costs and variations is limited.
It all starts to come together.
Once a tender is accepted the Architect becomes the Contract Administrator. We ensure that the project is constructed correctly as per the drawings through regular site visits. We will answer any further queries the contractor has relating to the construction by advising on details, issuing drawings and formal Architects Instructions.
During construction there will be monthly Valuations which bill the work for the month past. We advise the appointment of a Quantity Surveyor throughout the design process.
All the hard work, time, stress and sleepless nights finally paid off.
For further information on the stages of the process and their relation to payment of fees in installments please Click Here.