Community design approach

designTRIBE has extensive experience in community and participatory design and uses facilitated workshops as a preferred design methodology during master planning stages, prior to preliminary and developed design. Central to the success of this process is the participation of all key personnel involved with the project.

The community design workshop process normally takes anywhere between a full day (normally weekend) to a whole weekend, to allow as many participants and key individuals as possible to attend. Following the workshop process, the design is drawn up and re-presented at a follow-up session where any refinements can be noted on the plans, ensuring full ownership of the agreed design by all parties.

Central to moving into the Preliminary Design Stage, following the production of a Draft Final Masterplan (with accompanying Report), is the production a scale working model which allows all participants to access information and have direct design input at a three-dimensional level as the project develops.

We have found this methodology to be successful with all people we have worked with including educational, marae and community projects.

Architectural design process

Initial Discussion

For a new project we normally meet with clients for an initial no-obligation discussion. We like to discuss our general design philosophies and illustrate how these have been applied to previous projects. We also like to see any images of architectural work that you admire from any source, and get an understanding of your aspirations for the project.

The building process can be a complicated one and part of our job is to advise you when you should use other specialist consultants.

Depending on the complexity of the project we can provide some initial feasibility information about building costs, programme and site suitability in this first meeting.

Pre-design and the Brief

A brief (typically developed by the client, but may be developed with the assistance of oursleves) is a description of the desired outcomes and it can include such things as the requirements and functions of the building, the activities and spaces to be accommodated, desired materials and finishes and your budgetary constraints. The success of a project can benefit greatly by the quality of the brief.

The following gives a breakdown of the likely steps that will be undertaken as part of the pre-design stage of the project.

  • Visit site and obtain client's detailed design brief and other requirements. We work hard to make our designs particular to their site and specific to their owners
  • Prepare measured drawings. It is very important to work with accurate site information. We will typically undertake measurements of any existing structures and site conditions associated with your site, to obtain first-hand accurate information
  • A survey of levels and boundaries is required in all but the most simple of site situations. We can help facilitate the engagement of a land surveyor to provide this information by briefing them on what is required.
  • Undertake an analysis of local authority regulations and resource consent requirements. Should a specialist planner be required, we will be able to inform you as to when this would be required, and can assist you in their selection and engagement.
  • Review site orientation, views, levels, heritage implications, legal requirements, relationship with neighbouring sites and available utilities and service
  • We will typically provide advise at this stage also with regards to the likely requirements for the appointment of other specialist consultants, i.e. cost consultant, structural engineer and other consultants as required (see Team Approach).

Schematic/ Concept Design Drawings

Having worked closely with you during the briefing and pre-design phase it is at this stage that the ideas manifest themselves in the initial schematic/ concept design.

The design process works from the general to the particular, so it is important that the client is completely comfortable with the design at the end of each stage.

Typically at this stage we will:

  • Prepare Concept Design Drawings and Opinion of Probable Cost of works
  • Meet with clients to yourselves to review and discuss options.
  • Prepare a design report / summary which forms a feasibility analysis of your project. This would typically include preliminary cost analysis, budget planning, site condition report (based on obtained information), likely programme.

This is typically an organic process, in which ideas are discussed, reviewed and tested. We will typically move to the development of a physical or digital 3D model during this phase, in order to confirm test and explore ideas that are developed, in liaison with yourself, the client.

At the conclusion of this stage you will have drawings that describe the preliminary design with all current decisions/ideas shown.

We recommend in almost all circumstances to engage a Quantity Surveyor (QS) in order to get an accurate understanding of the project cost at this stage of the project. We are able to prepare an architects estimate of costs, based on past experience, and similar projects, but for independence and accuracy we recommend a specialist cost consultant be engaged. We will liaise with the cost consultant in preparation of a cost analysis of the proposed works

The client is then fully informed and can make a decision as to whether or not to proceed with design development

Developed Design

At this stage the design is refined and developed so that it is ready for contract documentation. We will develop materials, and details design, that reinforce ideas and concepts developed at the earlier sketch design.

If Resource Consent applications are required (permission to proceed from Council under the Resource Management Act), they are usually undertaken during this stage.

At this stage we will typically:

  • Prepare sections and elevations, and 3D model (if suitable).
  • Arrange and attend meetings with the yourselves, authorities and others as required
  • Co-ordinate and prepare design briefs for consultants.
  • Prepare selections of materials and finishes
  • Liaise with cost consultant, review and develop design following cost analysis.

  • Obtain client approval to proceed with development of final design.

It is important that everybody completely understands and is at ease with the design before starting the contract documents. Changes to the design after this point may mean a great deal of work altering many drawings and may compromise other earlier design decisions.

Contract Documentation

During this stage detailed documentation is prepared for Council requirements and to form the basis of construction/ contract documentation. This stage generally entails the most work for architects.

During this stage we coordinate the work of any other consultants that are involved in the project and incorporate their information into the documents.
It is important to document thoroughly to ensure a high quality of work and to maintain control over design outcomes during construction.

Work at this stage typically involves:

  • Preparation of drawings for Building Consent Application submission
  • Meet with Council Planners as required
  • Prepare drawings at an appropriate scale including plans, elevations, & sections, together with other details, schedules, and specifications describing the quality of materials, finishes, and workmanship necessary to complete the project in accordance with the drawings, the clients requirements and as required for submission for Building Consent
  • Assist clients with lodging application.
  • Prepare recommendation to the client on the preferred method of tendering and building contract
  • Co-ordinate and integrate additional information as required by council.
  • Update specification describing the quality of materials, finishes, and workmanship necessary to complete the project in accordance with the drawings and the clients requirements
  • Obtain client’s approval of documents

Tendering & Negotiation

There are a number of different methods of building procurement. The most common of these methods involves a process in which projects are tendered to selected contractors in order to gain a competitive fixed price.

Other methods are available depending upon preferred timeframe, budget, desired quality and current economic climate.

Typically three or four tenderers are selected based on there experience, availability, reputation, financial stability, ability to meet the desired construction programme. The tender is run over a set period (usually 3–4 weeks), during which time questions, and clarifications are reviewed and answered.

A schedule of Tender Prices is complied, including an assessment of each tenderers trade breakdown.

The successful tenderer will be assessed on not only their final price, but their ability to perform, and also for exclusions and ability to meet the specific demands of the project.

Contract Administration

It is at this point that a contract is formed between yourself/ the client, and the selected contractor who will carry out the building work. A number of building contracts are available, of which the NZIA/ Master Builders Asscoaition contract SCC1 -2007 is what we typically recommend.

Most building contracts call for its administration to be carried out by an architect, or similar person (engineer). This is an important stage in the project's development, as construction process is usually complex and most clients do not have the experience or time to administer contracts on their own behalf.
During construction it is the Contractor's ultimate responsibility to ensure that the work is done in accordance with the contract documents. As administrators to the building contractor, our role would be to oversee that this is carried out.
Work at this stage typically involves:

  • Prepare the contract documents for signing by both parties
  • Coordinate consultants
  • Administer Construction Contract between client and contractor: -
  • Undertake periodic site inspections, check work in progress regarding design quality control, materials selection and performance as described in the contract documents
  • Review shop drawings and other builder’s submissions
  • Provide supplementary details and information, provide instructions to clarify documents where required
  • Administer variations and obtain client approvals
  • Arrange and attend site meetings and other meetings as required
  • Assess progress claims/ claims for extensions of time and issue certificates
  • Adjust prime cost and provisional sums and other monetary sums included in the contract documents
  • Prepare defects list prior to practical completion, inspect rectification and issue notice of practical completion
  • Assess final contract account and inspect the works and prepare final defects listing
  • Issue final certificate on completion of all defects and outstanding work

Team design approach

designTRIBE believes that it is important to note that any work of architecture stems from a team approach.