Architectural process explained: What to expect during construction


Two engineers wearing hard hats checking the construction site

Construction is finally starting on your dream home – how exciting! Most clients think that once the construction phase starts then the builder will simply build what’s drawn and documented and there is little need for the architect.

However, the construction phase is but another phase in the overall design process, with many more disciplines involved such as consultants, builders, sub-contractors, certifiers etc. It is in this phase that design and project leadership is critical to ensure a smooth process.

Any good architect worth their salt will now hold your hand as you enter what may be unchartered territory for you… the construction phase. Here’s what to expect:

Living room area with the view of the garden

Design and construction cannot be separated


Investing in a good architect means having them right by your side throughout the construction process, not just the design phase. In fact, the architect’s involvement in the building phase means cost savings, a smooth process and the best imaginable result for all.

Another reality is that good builders actually prefer having architects around to lead the design process and consult with throughout the construction process. While the architects couldn’t possibly include every last bit of detail required to successfully realise the concept in their designs, it helps the builder immensely to be able to pick up the phone or meet the architect to remove guesswork.

In short: your investment in a professional architectural service covers meaningful collaboration in the building phase.

Architects wearing safety gear checking the blueprint in the construction site

The legal stuff


It is wise to enter into a pro forma building contract with the help of both your lawyer and architect.

It’s important that the building contract protects your legal interests – the lawyer takes care of this part – and it’s also consistent with the needs of the project; the architect makes sure of this.

Making sure that the contract is in line with the specifications of the working drawings comes down to the architect.

Inconsistencies in the building contract can be invisible to the untrained eye, which is why you need professionals by your side to ensure the contract covers every detail exactly as it should.

View of a two storey house with glass windows and doors

The importance of detailed working drawings


With working drawings, the architect essentially tells the contractor exactly what it is they need. They should be detailed, but not overcrowded. They should only contain the essential information to eliminate confusion.

The goal of the working drawings is to pin down everything you need to build the home and nothing you don’t.

They should cover items such as the standard of materials, the skills required, detailed construction information such as set-out dimensions, exact window and door locations and electrical layouts for lights, switches, air conditioning etc.

Working drawings can create more certainty about the building contract because they specify the details and quality of materials used.

Finding the right builder


Finding the right builder is crucial for the success of your dream home. Your architect can bring together a panel of builders so you can select the right one for you.

View of the pool and the outdoor living area

Ideally, your architect must manage:

  • the building contract and inclusions, so they don’t miss a thing
  • ensuring the pricing matches the specs to avoid surprises along the way
  • technical drawings so the builder can get the job done
  • communication with the builder to ensure all needs are crystal clear.

The choice of the builder will be up to you – because it is your home – but you will have your architect’s expertise to lean on to make that process a simple one.

Managing the design throughout construction


Do you remember the drawings you fell in love with at the beginning of your journey? It’s now the job of your architect to stay on top of every detail with the builders so you can rest assured that every element you’ve agreed upon – from architraves to lightning position – is built and installed correctly.

The architect visits the building site on a regular basis so you’ll have accurate progress updates. By being hands-on, your architect protects your interest by ensuring what’s in the contract and working drawings is delivered.

This is achieved via regular site meetings with a clear agenda and action plan for the builder and their team of sub-contractors or specialist trades, the architect and other consultants, and yourselves. Many clients are surprised by how much work is involved in this phase and also how many discussions are required throughout the build.

Being available to address any questions, concerns or ideas you might have during the construction phase is a critical part of the architect’s job.

A hands-on, professional architect is worth gold


We cannot stress enough the importance of partnering with an architect who sees you through the process – one who is up to date with the latest legislation and who can problem-solve even before you know the problem exists.

At Playoust Churcher, our team of architects and interior designers truly listen to your needs.

Our architectural process for a complete home design and build has been tested time and time again. From the first phone call to the champagne celebration when you get your new keys and beyond – we’re beside you.

Call us today for a no-obligation conversation – getting you one step closer to your dream home.

Read more articles on what architects do.

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