6 Stages of the Building Process

Everybody has some understanding of what an Architect does, and this is almost always some variation of “Architects design buildings”. This is, of course, the basis of the Architectural Profession, but there is far more to the role of an architect than what the statement might suggest. There are 6 official stages of the Building Process, and the Architect is directly involved in all of them.

Stage 1 – Idea Inception

Building Process - Inception

This is the first stage, which serves as the Architect’s initial consultation with the client. The client will provide the Architect with their brief, and from here they will assess all the possible constraints and opportunities. These may include the restraints of the site, legal rights, budget, consultants required, the programme of the project, and how the client should go about contracting.

Stage 2 – Feasibility of Concept

Building Process - Concept & Feasibility

The second stage marks the beginning of the design process. After careful consideration of the client’s brief, the Architect can begin producing schematic diagrams that analyse spatial relationships and other spatial provisions. The Architect can also begin deciding on the materiality of the building – as well as the functionality of the spaces from a technical standpoint. The Architect must then ensure that the concept conforms to the rights of the site, as well as anticipate the cost of the project based on this initial design. Finally, the Architect will review the programme of the project.

Stage 3 – Design Development

Building Process - Design Development

The first part of Stage 3 is the confirmation of the project’s scope. After reviewing the design, the architect will then negotiate and consult with local statutory authorities. When they receive project authorisation, the Architect will further develop the design — finalising the building’s materiality, the system of construction, and other architectural components. Furthermore, the Architect will need to incorporate the work other consultants into the main documents of the project. After this, they will review the costing and programme of the project with the consultants.

Stage 4 – Project Procurement 

Building Process - Documentation

Stage 4 can be split into two parts – Part A & Part B.

Part A sees the preparation of all documents necessary for the council submission. This requires the co-ordination of technical documentation with the consultants, and the finalisation of the project’s specifications. After this, a final review of the costing and programme can take place with the consultants. The Architect will then secure the client’s authority and submit documents for council approval.

Part B sees the completion of construction drawings and additional tender documentation. Once this is complete, the Architect can proceed to search for tenders. Once the client has provided authorisation, the Architect can commence the procurement of offers for the execution of the project. These offers must then be evaluated, after which the Architect will recommend who the building contract should be awarded to. Official documentation surrounding the building contract will then be prepared, and the signing of this contract will be arranged.

Stage 5 – The Building Process & Contract


Stage 5 commences with the administration of the building contract, after which the site handover will take place between the contractor and the Architect. The Architect will then provide all applicable construction documentation to the builder, as well as check that all sub-contractor design and documentation is correct. After construction has taken place, the Architect must ensure that the work conforms to the original contract. Once everything is in order, the Architect will perform all the remaining duties assigned to them as the Principal Agent. Finally, they must issue the Certificate of Practical Completion, and assist the client in obtaining an Occupation Certificate.

Stage 6 – The Final Step in the Building Process

Close Out

The ‘Close Out’ serves as the final stage of the Architectural Process. This stage is the preparation of documents to complete the handover of a project to the client. Once the contractor has completed their duties, the Architect will issue any certificates required to fulfill the contract. The architect then supplies the client with as-built drawings and other relevant documentation that concerns the contractors and sub-contractors.


For more information about Architect Services and on how we can assist you, get in touch with Design Scape Architects on 021 422 5041 or via email to info@dscape.co.za

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