The Royal Incorporation of Architects Scotland publishes a set of Scottish Conditions for the Appointment of an Architect.
Within this small contract you will find a Schedule of Services. What I will try to do here is explain these services in a straight forward way.
The Contract breaks the project into 8 work Stages.
This is your initial discussions with your architect. He or she will set out to ascertain your requirements and aspirations for your project along with gathering information about your budget (remember VAT on almost everything but new build housing).
Your architect will visit your site to obtain information and carry out a measured survey in order to prepare a set of drawings as existing in the case of work on existing buildings. Prior to this measurement and drawing exercise a lot of ideas that are bandied around are simply speculation. Once you have this information you are better placed to accurately work out what you can actually achieve.
With this information gathered you and your architect can establish a clear brief and you will be able to agree an outline timetable.
Your architect will now prepare initial design proposals based on your discussions. There will be some come and go here until you are completely happy with the design and the time taken over this process will depend on the size of your project and the client decision making processes. For many people this is a once in a life time undertaking so don’t feel pressured into making on-the-spot decisions and remember that it is not impossible to make some smaller changes further down the line, although there will be some associated costs for this.
Once initial designs have been carried out your architect should be able to give you some idea of costs and timetable for your project.
At this stage the architect will prepare drawings and any additional information such as photomontages for Planning Application. Once the Application has been submitted the architect should receive an acknowledgement letter or email quite soon after. Beyond this point there are a maximum of 8 weeks until you will get your decision.
Although work can begin on Building Control Submission drawings straight away you are proceeding at risk if Planning Permission has not yet been obtained. This stage generally covers the period of production of all drawings and specifications required by Building Control and will include coordination of the work by other consultants such as structural engineers and quantity surveyors.
Once information has been prepared your architect will submit the application. At this time you should expect to report on the timetable and agree any revisions.
During this stage the architect will prepare the drawings, specifications and additional information required for a contractor to produce an accurate price.
If there are any specialist designers or suppliers required these should be agreed at this time and the architect should advise on the type of building contract best suite to the project.