The first step on appointment is an in-depth discussion to ascertain the requirements of the project and budget. With regards to budget, consider the total amount of the investment you would want to spend, including all professional fees. This provides a good starting point and guidance in the design. In order to achieve your objectives within budget, one needs to start with this in mind and review the project and choices being made against the budget periodically along the way.
A visit to the property will then be required to do an analysis of the site. This will include consideration of issues such as the views, orientation, access, topography, climate and micro-climate, vegetation and soil type, access and precedent set in the area. This would be coupled with an enquiry made to the local authorities, or studying of any documentation pertaining to this if these enquiries have already been made, to ascertain all rights and restrictions pertaining to the site.
A design brief will then be prepared, and an outline concept will be formulated based on your accommodation requirements, design requirements, the contextual issues stemming from the site analysis and your budget. You will also be advised on what consultants will be required, for example a land surveyor, engineer, environmental consultant etc. depending on the nature of the project and site. This will be presented to you in the format of a ‘Building Cost and Fee Estimate’ which outlines the projected costs for the building and associated professional fees as well as the local authority and any other approval fees that may be required.
You will also be advised on the estimated timelines in terms of the various architectural stages, as well as the anticipated project programme, depending on the scale of the project.