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FAQ

All your architectural questions answered by a professional.

Index:

  1. When is a building plan submission and approval required?
  2. When do I need the services of a professional architectural designer, architectural technologist or architect?
  3. Who may prepare building plans for submission and construction?
  4. Must all draughtsman, designers, architectural technologists and architects be registered as professionals?
  5. What is an architectural professional?
  6. Why should I appoint a registered architectural professional?
  7. What guarantee do I have that the service I receive is carried out by a professional?
  8. How do I select the right architectural professional?
  9. How do I appoint and architectural professional?
  10. What is a brief?
  11. For what other services can an architectural professional be appointed?
  12. What value can an architectural professional add to my project?
  13. What peace of mind do I have when I appoint an architectural professional?
  14. Are you registered as an architectural professional?
  15. What type of architectural work do you take on?
  16. What are the standard services you provide?
  17. Do you provide supplementary services?
  18. What is not included in your services or what services do you not provide?
  19. Do you take on projects that include alterations and additions to existing buildings?
  20. What is the general size of the projects you take on?
  21. What type of design style or architectural style do you prefer?
  22. In your view, what makes a good client?
  23. What if your option is considered for a good design? 
  24. How are fees calculated?
  25. Do you have alternative fee options?
  26. How does payment work?
  27. Do you work on risk or for free?
  28. Do you charge a fee for the initial consultation?
  29. Are there any other planning processes that I have to consider apart from the design and planning of my building?
  30. How and when do I appoint a builder or contractor and in what way do I contract with him/her?
  31. Do you do site visits?

 

1) When is a building plan submission and approval required?

Before your start the construction to your new home or building, or start carrying out alterations and additions to your existing home or building, you are required by law to have building plans for such work drawn up by an architectural professional and passed in terms of the National Building Regulations (i.e. the National Building Regulations and Building Act, No. 103 of 1977 or NBR in short) by the local authority.

2) When do I need the services of a professional architectural designer, architectural technologist or architect?

You need the services of a professional architectural designer, architectural technologist or architect when you are planning to build a new house or building, or thinking of making alterations or additions to your existing house or building.

3) Who may prepare building plans for submission and construction?

In terms of the Architectural Professions Act , No 44 of 2000 and its related regulations (effective since 1 July 2006), any person preparing building plans (involving work of an architectural nature) for submission to the local authority, must be registered with the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) to do so.

4) Must all draughtsman, designers, architectural technologists and architects be registered as professionals?

Any draughtsman, designer, architectural technologist or architect that provide an architectural service of any kind, with regards to new buildings or alterations and additions, must be registered with the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP)  to do so.

The only architectural work where a non-registered person may provide an architectural service is as follows:

  • Plans for a wendy house
  • Plans for boundary or garden walls
  • Plans for internal alterations to a house, shop or office
  • Installations of replacement windows to a house, shop or office
  • Conversion of part of a shop or office to a flat or other residential accommodation
  • Installation of fittings, appliances in a house, shop or office.

5) What is an architectural professional?

Any person that provides any service involving work of an architectural nature that is registered with the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) to do so.

6) Why should I appoint a registered architectural professional?

Architectural professionals are often employed simply because a development project requires planning and/or building plans and building regulations approval is needed. However, the architectural drawings for a project usually form the ‘blueprint’ for the whole scheme, and the appointment of an architectural professional is therefore of the utmost importance to ensure the success of the project.

Clients often look for the cheapest option available in terms of obtaining drawings and applying for the necessary local authority approvals. The appointment of the architectural professional is therefore decided purely on cost, and a desire to commission a minimal design service, aimed only at obtaining local authority.

Architectural professionals can provide much more value to a project than just preparing plans and drawings, and will often be involved with all other aspects of the project, including the contractual, financial and constructional elements of the scheme.

7) What guarantee do I have that the service I receive is carried out by a professional?

Any architectural professional must be registered with the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) to do so. All registered professional receives a registration number. The registration number must be available to clients at all times and any client can verify that the person in question is a registered professional. All registered persons have to adhere to the code of conduct as set out by the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP). It is recommended that all professionals be underwritten by a respected insurer in the form of Professional Indemnity Insurance.

Please contact us for proof of registration or refer to http://www.sacapsa.com 

8) How do I select the right architectural professional?

Clients often appoint an architectural professional who is known to them or who has been recommended, or whose work they admire. This can be a sound initial response, but a more structured process of selection is desirable, where matching requirements with the range of skills and services available has to be more precise.

Call each firm on your shortlist, describe your project and ask if they are available to accommodate it. If so, request literature that outlines the firm's qualifications and experience. Ask to see a portfolio of work, or to visit finished buildings, and visit their websites. Above all, talk to an intended architectural professional. It is important to ensure that you are compatible. Your architectural professional must convince you both of their creativity and their ability to get things done.

9) How do I appoint and architectural professional?

A good working relationship between the architectural professional and the client is crucial to the success of any project. You and your architectural professional should discuss and agree to the scope and cost of architectural services before the project begins and ensure that the agreement is in writing.

Please contact us to find out more about the standard architectural agreement that is available - suitable for any professional appointment or project, where detailed contract terms are necessary.

10) What is a brief?

The success of any project depends on the quality of a client’s brief. This means the client’s ability to clearly describe their building requirements, proposed methods of operation and management to their architectural professional. It is wise for clients to ask their architectural professional to assist with preparing a final brief.

Your architectural professional will need to know:

  • Your aims or goals.
  • Your design style: Are you looking for a design in keeping with the existing building? Is a contemporary or high-tech design required? Are you concerned about having a sustainable or ecological design?
  • Your reasons for embarking on this building project: what activities are intended for it?
  • Your authority: Who will be making the decisions about the designs, costs and day-to-day matters whilst the project is underway?
  • Your overall expectations: What do you hope to achieve by this project, for e.g. a more comfortable place for you to live in?
  • Your initial projected budget.

At the initial meeting, your architectural professional will listen carefully to your intentions and brief, addressing not only design aesthetics, but also the function of the building. Timelines and budgets for your project will be defined at an early stage and only after you have approved initial sketches, will the ideas be developed further.

11) For what other services can an architectural professional be appointed?

In addition to the standard architectural services provided, an architectural professional can be appointed for a variety of other supplementary services. The fees for these services vary according to the nature of the work and should be agreed upon before any work commences. Please request a list of supplementary services with fees from your architectural professional before you make a final appointment.

12) What value can an architectural professional add to my project?

Architects are professional problem-solvers. Their experience and insight can help stretch what can be achieved within your budget and add value to your project. They can suggest new ways of utilising space and light, enrich the palette of materials, finishes or fittings, find a builder at the right price, and propose design solutions that will reduce your overall costs at a fraction of the total cost of your project. A good architect’s professional fees will prove to be a sound investment.

An architectural professional will supply you with much more than just the drawings for your project, whether it is a design for your home or your business or a master plan for future developments. A sound working relationship between you and your architectural professional will contribute significantly to the success of the project.

Time spent in preliminary discussion about the requirements, the timetable, the budget, and the nature and cost of the professional resources required, is time well spent.

13) What peace of mind do I have when I appoint an architectural professional?

When you hire Smart Solution Architecture as your architectural professional, you have a professional on your side who knows the construction industry inside out. You are working with someone who has undertaken training in the architectural field and have more than 15 years’ collective experience in the industry. No other building professional is trained in design and construction to such a high level of expertise.

14) Are you registered as an architectural professional?

Yes we are registered with the South African Council for Architectural Profession and the Cape Institute for Architecture.

15) What type of architectural work do you take on?

We do not only focus on new projects or works in the residential, commercial and industrial industry, but we also take on small and large scale alterations and additions to existing buildings and properties in these fields, including maintenance and upgrading.

16) What are the standard services you provide?

The standard services provided are:

  • Inception
  • Concept and viability
  • Design development
  • Documentation and procurement
  • Construction documentation
  • Construction administration
  • Closing out.

Please contact us for a complete overview of our standard services.

17) Do you provide supplementary services?

We provide a whole range of supplementary services that include, but are not limited to:

  • Preparing client briefs
  • Feasibility studies
  • Town planning and environmental impact assessment
  • Interior design, decor and soft furnishings
  • Marketing or promotional material
  • Survey of existing buildings and sites
  • Heritage applications
  • Energy usage in buildings
  • Calculations and reports
  • 3D modelling

18)  What is not included in your services or what services do you not provide?

The following costs are normally not included under our cost:

  • Civil engineering designs, layouts and drawings
  • Structural engineering design, layouts and drawings, if required
  • Land surveyors cost (measuring the existing site)
  • Project management (forms part of contractor’s responsibility)
  • Any municipal fees or council fees (client’s responsibility)
  • Any other consulting fees that are required from time to time that does not from part of the standard architectural services. It is wise to ask your architectural professional to confirm in writing what services are included.

19) Do you take on projects that include alterations and additions to existing buildings?

Yes, we regularly undertake work involving alterations and additions and have proven expertise in this field.

20) What is the general size of the projects you take on?

We take on any size project. Please contact us to discuss your project designing requirements and scope of work.

21) What type of design style or architectural style do you prefer?

We have a contemporary outlook, and owner Ian Smit loves Cape Architecture. He has a personal preference for clean, modern designs, but we design buildings to suit the individual tastes of our client. As can be seen from our portfolio, we are proficient in both traditional styles and contemporary buildings.

22) In your view, what makes a good client?

Good architecture needs collaboration and dialogue from the outset. You have to be sure that you have chosen an architectural professional whose work you like and that you are able to work with. Be ready to add your own views and banish the misplaced idea that your architectural professional will impose their own tastes and ideas on the project. On the contrary, your architectural professional’s aim will be to follow your brief closely and reflect the aspirations it contains.

23) What if your option is considered for a good design? 

A good design is where the client brief is met through cost effective and appropriate solutions. This can be achieved by simplistic, but good design solutions and not elaborate and bad or costly design solutions.

24) How are fees calculated?

Our fees are based on the recommended scale of fees provided by the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP). The standard fee schedule is available on request.

The standard full architectural service or partial architectural service is calculated as a percentage of the final or estimated building cost. The recommended fee scale, published in terms of the regularly updated Government Gazette, can be downloaded for the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) website at www.sacapsa.com

Although there is a recommended architectural fee structure, the fees are always open for negotiation.

25) Do you have alternative fee options?

Fees are likely to be influenced by:

  • The extent of the architectural professional services and the type of procurement
  • The size and complexity of the project and any specific requirements
  • Works to existing buildings (refurbishment and extensions), which are likely to be significantly more resource intensive
  • The repair and conservation of historic buildings

We provide a one (1) hour free consultation at the initial briefing. This consultation is not to provide design solutions, but to confirm the client brief and the type of architectural service that is required. After the consultation, Smart Solution Architecture will provide a complete fee letter outlining the scope of work and fee structure for approval. Work will only commence after written acceptance has been received from the client.

Alternative fee options

  • Percentage basis

Our fee for architectural services is expressed as a percentage of the final or estimated construction cost and is best used for clearly defined building projects.

  • Lump sums or fixed cost

A fixed lump sum may be suitable where requirements are clearly defined from the outset. A variable lump sum may be calculated from an agreed percentage at the beginning of each stage, based on the latest approved cost. This is beneficial where requirements cannot be predetermined.

  • Time basis

This option will be appropriate where the scope of services cannot be foreseen or does not relate to construction work. This includes providing partial services or additional services such as feasibility studies or protracted negotiations.

  • Value added

The fee can be structured to take into account the value added by your architect’s services (for example, the increased value of a site or building less development costs). In addition to the fee, expenses may also be chargeable for the cost of drawing copies and other documents, travel, accommodation, etc. Disbursements, such as the fees that must accompany applications for building regulations or planning approval, will also be chargeable.

26) How does payment work?

  • A deposit (CW - % deposit?) is payable on acceptance of the fee and letter of appointment
  • Interim payment accounts would be rendered on a monthly basis, which are payable on presentation
  • Accounts shall be based on an assessment by the practice of the professional services rendered to date
  • The aggregate of interim claims is not to exceed the total fee payable
  • Invoices are payable within 5 calendar days.
  • Where payment is not received by the due date, the client will be liable for interest calculated at ruling bank rate for the outstanding period

27) Do you work on risk or for free?

We do not provide any architectural service free of charge and do not do any work on risk. Work will be charged on a time basis where the scope of work is unclear.

28)  Do you charge a fee for the initial consultation?

We provide a one (1) hour free consultation at the initial briefing. This consultation is not to provide design solutions, but to confirm the client brief and the type of architectural service that is required.

After the consultation, Smart Solution Architecture will provide a complete fee letter outlining the scope of work and fee structure for approval. Work will only commence after written acceptance has been received from the client.

29) Are there any other planning processes that I have to consider apart from the design and planning of my building?

You are obliged to comply with legislation concerning town planning, building regulations, health and safety, and energy usage in buildings. On more complex projects there are often a number of professionals who need to be involved in a project. These can be, but are not limited to, structural engineers, mechanical engineers, quantity surveyors, civil engineers, land surveyors, etc.

These are all matters on which your architectural professional can advise, often dealing with the various authorities and consultants on your behalf.

30) How and when do I appoint a builder or contractor and in what way do I contract with him/her?

With a planning approval in place, your architectural professional can assist you to find the appropriate builder or contractor and recommend an appropriate building contract. They will prepare drawings with technical specifications that describe your agreed proposals, for selected builders to cost.

31)  Do you do site visits?

We do site visits on a time basis fee for quality control purposes if we are not fully appointed, otherwise this forms part of our full service profile.

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