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Frequently Asked Questions

Q

Why do I need an Architect?

A

PRG Architects believe that the process of building should be design orientated. Whilst our focus remains firmly on the design, we have the skills in the building process, such as applying for development approvals and documentation and detailing of the project so that the design ideas and concept is carried through to the completion of the project. We can assist you through the process right through from the initial brief to the hand over of the completed building. We can reduce your stress and provide independent professional advice.

Q

What are your qualifications and experience?

A

We are registered with the Board of Architects of NSW. Only those professionals registered with the board of Architects may call themselves an Architect. The Director, Paul Gray has completed 5 years of university training at the University of Queensland and has passed examination  with the Architects Accreditation Board. Since Registration in 1994, Paul has accumulated a wealth of experience in design, documentation and contract administration, on a variety of projects mostly in the Northern  Rivers. Refer to our Projects section for examples of our work.

Q

What consumer protection does using a Registered Architect provide?

A

If you choose an architect, consumers know that person has attained the necessary architectural qualifications, completed specific practical experience and has passed the Board's examination before registration. Consumers may make complaints to the Board about the professional conduct of an architect. The Board must investigate any complaints made about an architect. The benefits of using a registered Architect include-

Code of Conduct - Architects are subject to the NSW Architects Code of Professional Conduct governing their service to clients.  -

Professional Indemnity Insurance -  Architects maintain professional indemnity insurance and each year must undertake professional education appropriate to the services they provide.

Accountability-  Registration ensures architects’ accountability for their conduct by making them subject to disciplinary action for unsatisfactory professional conduct or professional misconduct. Architects who breach the Act may incur penalties including reprimand, fines of up to $20,000, and suspension or cancellation of registration.

Continuing Education - Registered architects are required to undertake mandatory continuing education in subjects relevant to their practice

Q

How will using PRG Architects save me money?

A

PRG Architects have a lot of experience and proven track record in providing quality affordable designs. A good design will provide the maximum amount of useable space and function for the minimum amount of area and costs. Construction work is expensive so it is imperative that the design is well resolved and that the builder is provided with concise documentation to quote and then construct the works. Clear and accurate documentation will minimise changes required during construction. Late changes during or remediation during construction can create considerable variation increases to the construction cost. It is important to consider the savings that the design and documentation will make to the construction cost and the value that is created by the design in the long term.

Q

How does the design process start for our new home or renovation/ extension?

A

Once you have agreed for us to proceed with the work a meeting will be arranged to discuss the brief in detail. Schematic and Sketch Designs begins with interpretation of the brief to come up with a design concept or sometimes a number of concepts. This initial design resolves the brief and a preliminary costing can be prepared to highlight whether the requirements of the brief is achievable for the proposed budget. Once you have approved the Sketch Design Concept, it is a matter of developing the design to a stage where the finer details are resolved. Then its simply a matter of us preparing the drawings and applications to get approval for the works.

Q

How are your fees determined?

A

Fees can vary depending on many factors including the cost and complexity of the construction, the site conditions and type of project, and the level of detail and services required.  PRG Architects can structure their fees in a number of ways to suit the clients’ requirements. Fees for larger projects are calculated on an estimated cost of construction, generally calculated at the Sketch Design Stage. Fees for partial documentation, small projects and small alterations and additions are generally charged at hourly rates, being a combination of Architects and CAD Drafting fees.   At the initial meeting we can discuss and determine the services you require. A quotation can then be prepared for your consideration and acceptance prior to commencing the work.   If you have further questions please call us on 66876930 or contact us through our website link.

Q

How does the development approvals process work

A

Once the Design has been well resolved and approved by our clients, we will prepare accurate Plans, elevations and sections other documents as required for the Development Application. The Development Application and the Construction Certificate Application can be lodged concurrently. They are submitted to the relevant local authority, with the necessary forms and fee payment, for review and approval. We generally prepare and lodge the application on your behalf. A development application approval can take anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks to process for residential or simple commercial projects.

Q

What is Detailed Documentation and do I need it?

A

Depending on your requirements, detailed drawings and specification or schedule of fixtures and fittings is prepared for the builder to quote from and use for the building stage of the project. Whereas the drawings for building approvals are accurate enough for that purpose, they do not provide the full amount of information that is required by the builder and sub- contractors to accurately quote and build the design. Additional information includes the detailed design of kitchen and bathrooms, stairs, cupboards, lighting and electrical and construction detailing, amongst other things. Also designed and specified is the materials, fixtures and finishes that are required. Given the choice, builders prefer to have good detailed documentation, as it means the builder can concentrate on building a good job, without having to design on the run with the owner. Owners prefer it as much of the design decision making has been done, and they can focus on selecting final colours and finishes.

Q

What is Contract Administration and do I need it?

A

Contract Administration begins with preparing and issuing detailed Tender documentation to the builder. The architect facilitates the process and then once a builder is chosen the architect administers the building contract. On a practical side the architect will help resolve design and construction issues that arise on site, as well as handling the administration of builders claims, variation requests, communications and correspondence between builder, architect and owner. The architect will work to maintain the integrity of the design throughout the construction stage.   Having the Architect involved in this stage of the work reduces the stress on the owner. The Architect has the experience to provide professional independent advice and assistance.   Should the owner feel capable and have the time available to administer the contract themselves, PRG architects can be consulted for on site meetings during the construction, for advice on specific design or construction matters.

Q

How long will the process take?

A

This is difficult to answer, as each project is unique and comes with its own set of challenges. There is no rule of thumb when it comes to estimating project completion time. However, one of the critical first steps is to discuss our Client’s requirements for project completion dates. We can work backwards from this position, based on our experience, to estimate times for each of our service stages. 

Q

Do we need to employ you for the full service?

A

No, we can provide a service for as much of the project as you require. For example unless you are out of the area, we would generally not be required to provide contract administration for a home or home renovation. Also the level of detailed documentation required can vary with each project and sometimes clients prefer to work out the finer details of the design themselves and in conjunction with the builder or tradesmen during the construction process. 

Q

What do I do if I have any questions?

A

Please feel free to phone  our office on  02 66876930 and speak to Paul Gray (Director) or, if you prefer, contact us through the website enquiry form.  We will contact you and, if appropriate, organise a time for you to come in to discuss your project. We don’t charge for your first visit to us, we just look forward to meeting you. If you like our approach and would like to move forward with us, then we can discuss the basis of our partnership.