As the client, you are entitled to rely on the skills of your architect. An Architect will help you to define your project and interpret these ideas imaginatively and expertly. Architects are trained to make the most of the site, space and materials to maximise what you can get for your budget and reduce future running costs. Architects are also highly familiar with legislation, regulations and industry standards.

Architects are registered (in NSW) with the State government through the Board of Architects NSW. There are built in safeguards for clients when engaging an architect. In short, you will receive a professional skilled consultant that acts as your agent and can intelligently understand your requirements and interpret this into a design that satisfies your criteria. An architect is required to hold professional indemnity insurance and pursue continuing education throughout every year of practise. If you are dissatisfied with your architect, there are formal channels of complaint handling.

Apart from the approximate 6 years of intensive university study you will get a learned person who understands space, materials and light and who can successfully interpret your requirements for your project. A draftsman who has little understanding of considered design based on little tertiary education does not belong to any registered state body and, by law, must not use the term "architect" or any of its derivatives (such as architectural draftsman). Architects on the other hand are subject to the NSW Architects Code of Professional Conduct governing their service to clients. This code details the standards expected of architects in their professional practice, and relate to general ethical standards, dealings with clients, insurance coverage, continuing professional education and dealings with the public.

Ring them up, discuss your requirements, and ask to meet with them. Do your research, and ensure that the architect you engage satisfies your criteria and has the required experience. Ask to see their work, or portfolio, or even a demonstration of their capabilities. Also, ask to see any testimonials from previous clients. Essential to the process of receiving quality architectural services is the ability to communicate clearly with the Architect. We would usually meet with you and show you a presentation of our portfolio. We will also show you our computer technology where you can ask any question that you like. We are here to make your project run smoothly.

This depends on the services that you require. Every project is unique and we tailor the services to your project's requirements. Typically, each project is broken into stages as detailed in the following questions/answers.

The design stage is the phase where overall project requirements (the brief) are set up, and design is commenced for lodgement with the local authority. Full 3d modeling is provided so the client can visualise the design. The documentation stage is the development of the initial design to enable the building to be accurately priced - this comprises document production including technical drawings, details, schedules, specifications, and contract procurement documents.

Tendering - the stage whereby the contract cost is tendered by potential builders - is a method whereby different builders study the contract documents and after the tender period submit their price and construction program to the architect. This gives the client the advantage to get a series of prices to ensure the building price is fair and the time period to build can be. Most importantly they will all be tendering on the same documentation.

Contract Administration - the administration of the building contract for the client - ensures the detailed design that has been prepared in the previous stages is complied with during construction. The contract administrator will provide advice to the client in terms of reviewing and assessment of payment claims, issue progress certificates, site instructions and contract variations, responding to and dealing with the contractors queries and RFI's, Practical Completion advice, etc.

Buildings are one-off structures, not massed produced items. As such, many things can and do go wrong and unfortunately the cost of this is large. As we are also qualified project managers, we minimise risk to you especially during the immediate pre-construction stage of the project. By setting the project parameters before the builder is selected we will minimise your risk and financial exposure to cost and time blow outs. The value you receive during this stage easily saves you many thousands of dollars during the construction stage and it is highly recommended that our skills be used for this stage of works.

While we are qualified project managers to ensure that the correct path is set in place from the outset so that our clients requirements are met, we administer the building contracts and also set up the contract to minimise risk to our clients. Our clients often request us to design specialised furniture, and project manage the delivery cycle. In short, we are here to add value to your project.

No. There are architects of all varieties. Remember that architecture is both an art and a science. You will get a range of architects. Every architect will have their own style, technology, experience, capability and levels of communication. Some are more client focussed. There are large firms and sole traders. You should ensure that the architect you engage is suited to your requirements and is capable of offering the services you require. No matter which architect you decide upon, ensure they are registered and check their qualifications. If in doubt, check with the Board of Architects in your state.

With costs of building continuously increasing, it is ever more important to ensure that the design that you pay good money for satisfies what you require. At Proteus we design on the latest computer systems and use 3-D design that you can visualise instantly. If this is a service that you would like, you must find out whether your architect has this technology before you engage them - and ask to see a demonstration of their technology. We are aware that some architects still use a drawing board, whilst we are at the other end of the spectrum. The benefit of this is that you can visualise your design before it is built (and before it costs you money) and therefore be satisfied that the yet-to-be-built building will be exactly what you desire.

BIM is the creation and use of all information about a building and allows it to be stored in one internally consistent file and allows design through the buildings' total lifecycle (existing, demolition, construction, operation, future). It allows architects to design and make decisions faster and better, and helps to raise the quality of projects.

BIM is far better than CAD (computer aided design) in two main ways. Firstly BIM "models" and manages information - not just graphics, and all information is then generated from one file, including graphics and schedules and more. Secondly, BIM supports the elimination of internal miscoordination, thus eliminating redundancy, the need to re-enter data, miscommunication and data errors.

The cost to you will depend on many factors including the amount of work that is requested or required, and the size of the project. Once we meet and discuss your requirements, we are able to give you either a fixed fee or percentage cost. We charge highly competitive rates for our services, to ensure you receive the greatest value.

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Email: ideas@proteusarchitects.com.au