Design and Construction Stages

The main stages of the design and construction process are outlined here. These stages have specific requirements from the organisation managing the process as a client and this will take considerable time and resources - even the most generous estimates of time required are likely to be less than the time it will actually take.

The stages are based on the phasing and nature of the work that is proposed by the Royal Institute of British Architects. This is because:

  • Architects are often the principal consultants on building projects (that is they often sub contract with the other consultants needed by the project and project manage the whole process).
  • These stages are understood by most other built environment professionals in relation to what is expected in terms of outputs and fees. It is worth bearing in mind however that some tasks will be needed that are not core design functions in order to secure planning permission – for example travel plans – but again as lead consultants architects or surveyors can sub contract other specialists to carry out this work.

The most significant factors that will influence the time needed for this stage will be:

  • The levels of community involvement or consultation required throughout the process, particularly in relation to agreement on initial land uses and design requirements in the detailed stages;
  • The scale of the works and any phasing of the process;
  • Any delays in obtaining planning consent;
  • When resources are available;
  • The skills and input from the client who authorises the work to take place and approves changes;
  • The availability and quality of professional advice.

Design issues are very project specific – however some tops tips particularly for refurbishment of an existing building are here.

As a client it is particularly important that the final stages of construction and post construction stages are given a lot of attention by the client since this is the point when responsibility for the project is handed from the contractor back to the new owner/manager.

It is important that as much attention to detail is paid at this point as in the initial design stage. This is particularly the case for snagging and defects rectification. Typically contracts allow for dealing with any problems with the building via a Defects Liability period when the contractor would be expected to come back to rectify any problems. A proportion of final payment (called a retainer) is held back until all problems have been dealt with. These stages are notorious for finding that contractors and professional advisors have moved on from their work on the project and do not prioritise dealing with post construction problems.

Issues associated with this can be minimised if all of the documentation needed to enable the managing organisation to deal with inspection, maintenance and repairs is provided formally at a Handover meeting with the client, professional team and Construction Company. This meeting should be preceded with a walk around the project. Guidance on what should be included in handover can be found here.