Each of the stages involved in designing a building is important. And as with anything, construction takes planning, time and a variety of skill-sets. These include the expertise of qualified Architects, Engineers – Architectural, Civil and Structural, and Surveyors, among others. Planning a successful building project is a technical and complicated process at the best of times; one that can only be successfully taken and completed when specific roles are fulfilled.
Many have attempted to break the design and construction process down into a number of steps. Although this works and makes rational sense, we are going to take another approach and instead discuss the sections of these projects that explicitly the Architect’s knowledge.
First, Answer the Important Questions
Determine the site location, building type and budget before answering design questions. Thus, the very first step in any construction project is to sit down and plan. How big do you want the building to be? The number of rooms required? How many storeys will it be? Address the list of questions before design and construction start. Deciding on a budget is the next step in the process, and every answer is important for this.
Budgeting is a great tool for putting limits around projects. When done correctly, budgets make for easier decisions when it comes to materials etc. Budgeting correctly is also necessary, especially for those who don’t have infinite money to spend and will ensure that additional costs are not incurred. The larger a budget, the higher the quality of the materials you can use in your construction, and the more luxurious the additional features of the final product will be. Before the Architect can get their hands dirty, this all needs to be determined.
After the Briefing
Once briefed, the Architect is to sit down and brainstorm their ideas, often with other Architects. They will then put pen to paper and draw up a couple of rough sketches to see if their ideas are something that can be brought to life. In most cases, senior Architects and peers would review your designs.
Get your design concept approved before you start with the integrated design process. Integrated design is a comprehensive holistic approach to design that requires and blends together the skills of the Architect, the Engineers and the Surveyor, as they work toward designing the entire building in a holistic sense. At this point, you will use software like SketchUp to render your 3D building models. The approval of these final drafted plans means that the project can go ahead. And at this stage, a fair share of the Architect’s job is complete, although they will remain involved on the sidelines for the remaining duration of the project.
Thereafter, stages of the building process include:
Hiring a Contractor
When selecting a contractor to hire for a building project, there is a number of things to consider. These include getting cost estimates, finding out whether or not they are licensed and insured, checking their credibility based on previous work and ensuring payment in full upon completion. And once hired, there are a number of things to expect and not be shocked by including delays in the original agreed-upon timeline.
Acquiring Permits and Insurance
Before the construction process can start, you will likely need to apply for a permit from the relevant authority of the jurisdiction of the location that the building site falls within. Without a permit, you may encounter fines that could slow your building process down significantly, or even bring it to a complete standstill.
Preparing the Site for Inspection and Having Inspections Conducted
When you have your permits and insurance secured, you have to prepare for the site inspection. Your contractor will install temporary utilities and any other elements required based on the proposed project building plans. It is best practice to at all times ensure that you plan properly. Inspections are conducted at various stages throughout the construction process and these are oftentimes called for by the contractor. Adhere to your approved plans and these inspections will not cause any trouble for your project.
When your admin is complete, you can start with construction. The construction list is usually a lengthy one that comprises of foundation laying and building framing; installing doors, windows, siding and roofing; preparing for and installing mechanical and electrical elements; installing insulation and drywall; priming, painting, flooring, moulding and trimming the interior; installing cabinetry and counter tops. And finally, painting the exterior and landscaping the surroundings.
Although the construction process is always a long one, the end result is almost always worth the effort.