Architectural Design - Interior Design - Professional Project Management
Whiteroom Architects offers a full scope of Architectural Services from the initiation of your project through to completion and post-occupancy evaluations.
Designing and Constructing a New Building is a complex task that results from the collaboration between clients, designers and builders. We work together with you to deliver the built outcome that you want - places that makes your life better, your School environment richer, your operations run more smoothly, your guests feel welcome and your family feel at home.
Architecture involves finding solutions to solve problems. We combine our experience with your brief and work through a tried and tested process that delivers customised solutions for your specific project, for your specific site, for your specific needs - for you.
Find out more about the processes involved in the delivery of our services below.
Architectural Process: A Step-by-Step Guide
This stage is important for all projects. It begins with us getting a real feel for your needs so that together a developed brief can be established. This will help reduce the overall design costs and help ensure that the project is completed on time and on budget by identifying and reducing any potential issues early on.
We will prepare early design concepts which start bringing to life the brief. Some important aspects of design options begin to come together, such as the floor plan layout, the way the building is arranged on the site and the way it responds to things like sunlight and prevailing breezes.
This is the time to discuss the merits of all the options available, as the design process is flexible – focusing on the overall concepts without excessive detail clouding the big picture.
The design intent is defined and refined throughout this process and agreed to as the basis upon which the project will be designed in more detail.
The Design Development stage includes refining details of the design, the selection of building materials, resolving outstanding regulatory issues, and working with specialist consultants such as structural engineers to ensure the building meets building regulations.
The likely path to approval can be identified and method of procurement can be considered. The developed design could be used to obtain initial budget costing from a quantity surveyor who specializes in estimating the cost of the particular kind of works being considered.
At the end of this stage you will have a concise set of drawings that can be read by builders and consultants for preliminary estimates of costs and development of engineering and approval requirements.
Depending on the nature of the proposed work, the Town Planning Approval process can take between 2-6 months. In very complicated projects or where there is significant resistance from neighbours this process can be further protracted.
Often, information is scaled back in these drawings to be only the information required. The more detail that is in the Approval Drawings, the less flexibility there is later on, as the building must conform with the approved plans. DA drawings must confirm with the IDAS requirements.
Detailed drawings and specifications will be prepared and we will oversee the development of specialist plans where necessary (e.g. structural engineering, services) by other consultants. We will also lead the client through the process in regards to obtaining the building permit from the Assessment Manager (e.g. Local Council or Private Building Certifier).
Once we have approval of the design to date, a coordinated set of documents suitable for Building Approval will be prepared.
A complete set of structural drawings will be prepared by the structural engineer, reviewed by the architect and revised as necessary until both architectural and structural plans are cohesive. Effort spent here is invaluable, reducing costly variations on site.
Specific Building Code of Australia requirements such as energy efficiency, ventilation and safety measures such as smoke detectors, balustrade and handrail heights as well as all general building materials and finishes will be included in the architectural drawings.
The finishing touches to a building can be difficult to decide on and get right. We simplify this process by making selections of finishes such as bathroom, kitchen and laundry fixtures and appliances. We prepare detailed drawings of joinery, including kitchens, bathroom, and other built-in items such as shelving and desks.
An advantage of getting interior details professionally prepared beforehand is that a cohesive approach is taken throughout the project. It also means that prices can be sought from several builders for the exact finished product.
We collaborate and work alongside a number of talented interior styling specialists who can assist in bringing every detail of the interior spaces to life, complete with furniture, fabrics and artwork.
Tender & Contract
We guide you through the contractor selection process, helping select suitable builders, obtain competitive prices for construction, negotiate with the preferred builder and prepare the contract documents.
Once tenders close we will review and prepare a side-by-side analysis of the tenders including the trade break-downs so that we can determine who is high and low in the various areas to determine if we can be confident that reasonable and sufficient allowance to complete the job properly has been made. From there we will invite a shortlist (typically 2 or 3 builders) to attend interviews at our office to discuss their submissions with a view to confirming that they understand what is expected and confirm that everything in the drawings is included in their tender price. We will invite you to attend those interviews so that you can be a party to review and determine if you would like to enter a contract with any of the builders.
At that time we can also engage in discussions with the builders if they have suggestions on any modifications to improve the build-ability of the construction, either to increase quality or decrease costs, including changes to suit their preferred products or skillsets. It is worth noting that if purely for cost savings there will need to be sufficient savings to cover the costs of any re-work in the design or engineering to make the changes worth pursuing.
Once the contracts are drafted you will have an opportunity to review the contracts and have them reviewed by your solicitor before executing. Once appointed, the builder will need to arrange insurances, ensure levies are paid and licensing information is provided to the Building Certifier for the issue of the Building Permit (referred to as a Construction Certificate in some states) prior to construction on site commencing.
We administer the contract between the you and the builder to complete your project. We liaise with the builder to assess quality of work at key stages and ensure that the contract and specifications are complied with. We keep you informed of progress, review variations, certify progress payments, identify defects, and generally monitor the construction through to successful completion.
Our role within this stage includes: facilitating regular site visits and meetings to ensure the design intent and its details are translated effectively on site, and to assist with the resolution of design-related issues or variations necessary as works proceed. Some variations during construction are a normal part of life in the building industry. Having an architect on your side helps to ensure that variations are fair and are delivered in line with current market prices.
Handover & Maintenance
This process involves the identification of defects, instruction for the builder to rectify and follow up inspection to confirm that the rectifications are satisfactorily completed or if further remediation work is required.
When your building is ready to be occupied, and any remaining defects are minor in nature and number, Practical Completion is achieved and we facilitate handover from the builder to you. We review operation and maintenance manuals and warranties, certificates of completion from relevant sub-contractors and, importantly, the Certificate of Classification (Occupancy Certificate) from the Building Certifier (Building Surveyor).
At handover, all keys, codes, and manuals are provided to you and the operation of equipment such as air conditioning, lighting systems and security systems is shown. For specialist systems – such as building automation systems a suitable time for the supplier to provide onsite training will be arranged directly with you.
Following handover, we continue to monitor the rectification of any defects that are outstanding or that are identified during the defect liability period. The defect liability period is an agreed period that the builder will attend to any non-statutory defective component of the building, and a percentage of the contract price is held as a guarantee. The term is set out in your building contract, and subject to the contract any defects that are identified during the period will be reviewed by us and relevant instructions to rectify and reinspection will be completed.
At the end of the defects liability period we will issue a Final Certificate and facilitate the release of any security held by the owner in relation to defects. Your builder will still be required to attend to defects that are of a structural nature for the regulated period. In Queensland, the owner can lodge a complaint within 6 years 6 months from when the work is completed and within 12 months of noticing the defect for structural defects including water leaks or major cracking.
Once your building receives its Final Certificate, we are still available to assist with any maintenance items that may arise and we will also complete post-occupancy evaluations with you. We take onboard any feedback that you have and this informs our system for continuous improvement and quality management.