Achieving a great result for you and your project, is something we take seriously.
A successful project – for us – is based upon a strong working relationship with you. To achieve this, the first step is defining how we, as a team, will work together to operate as a highly effective unit. This includes clear communication, and effective collaboration with all stakeholders.
Through our research, and past project experience, we have found that successful projects include the following key agreements and understanding as the basis of a successful working relationship.
As a valued client of Cathi Colla Architects I understand that:
- I give you, my architect, permission to keep me focused and on track with all matters of time and budget. You are allowed to be direct with me if I am making changes that could impact my budget or timeframes.
- Because we are working together, it is important that I provide a true and accurate budget for you to work within. Before we start I will give you, my architect, a very clear and honest budget that we have to work with.
- I will possibly spend more money on this project than anything else I will do. I therefore understand that the architectural process does require time for adequate consideration and due process. I understand that rushing the architectural process and construction phase, is not a good idea. I understand that a good rule of thumb of project timing is that if a house takes nine months to build, then it is realistic to take nine months to design.
- I understand that the most expensive rooms are bathrooms and kitchens.
- You, as my architect, will advise me on the best architectural solution for each situation that requires a decision. I do not have to choose your suggestion. At all times I, the client, make the final decision.
- I understand that I will be required to make decisions throughout the design and documentation process. I realise that I may become overwhelmed and unable to ‘think straight’. That is why I need to give myself time and opportunity to sufficiently process all new information, and decision making required.
- If I have special needs for the project, or need specialist products or features like specific heating systems, comprehensive audio visual, I understand I will need to allocate extra time to the project.
Cathi Colla Architects Communication Policy
Our studio is generally attended to during business hours. Phone calls are put straight through to the recipient. In the event that our studio is unattended, or the phone is already engaged, calls are directed to a message bank. Most telephone calls are returned immediately, or within one business day.
Emails are a very effective means to communicate. They allow us to successfully work with clients locally, interstate and internationally. We endeavour to acknowledge and respond to emails within one business day. Email addresses are kept confidential, and we do not sell, or otherwise provide your email address to third parties, unless it is required as a part of your project (for example, to a consultant working on your project).
Drawings and related documents are issued to Clients and other team members via the web. This allows all parties to attain the most recent documents efficiently, and without paper. Each web link is unique, and issued to only those parties requiring access. Documents are hosted (i.e. available for viewing online) for a maximum of 30 days. We recommend clients download their own digital copies of documents issued for their own records.
Skype and other online meeting opportunities
Skype is a very effective medium for open discussions with our interstate and overseas Clients. We treat these sessions as a regular meeting, with a pre-arranged meeting time, and duration with agenda and follow up.
There will be significant milestone points in the project design that will require Client input and decision making. We expect that you will provide us with the required information in a pre-agreed time frame, but generally not beyond 10 business days.
- At the outset of a project there should be a clearly defined timeline, including the anticipated duration of each stage for the whole of a project. External approval processes, such as the Statutory Planning approval process, are timing components of the project duration that are beyond the control of the architect. During these periods however we do regularly check progress to best report on project timing and allocation of resources during these periods.
- There are several types of fees that architects can charge for their services: Hourly Rates Fees are the most flexible fee arrangement. Also known as ‘time and materials’ charges are based on the duration of effort expended, plus the cost for outgoings such as travel and printing as required by the tasks. These fees are often used for small projects, or for the preparation of initial design concepts. We generally agree on a maximum number of hours, not to be exceeded without client approval.Some projects begin with an hourly rate arrangement, and may then shift to a percentage or lump sum once the overall scope has been determined.
- Percentage Fees are expressed on the basis of a percentage of the cost of the building works. For the period of the project prior to construction, a fee is based on the initial project estimate. The percentage fee is adjusted based on the final and total cost of all items executed for and on behalf of the client.One advantage of the percentage fee type is its flexibility. If the scope of the project increases, the overall fee can change accordingly without having to renegotiate if the cost of the works increase.
- Lump Sum Fees are another method of setting fees. In this case the architect agrees on a fixed sum of money for an agreed scope of work. This has the advantage that the client knows exactly how much the architect’s fee will be. However, if the project increases or decreases in size, the overall fees will need to be re-negotiated.Lump Sum Fees are based on an approximation of time and materials expended, and translated into a Lump Sum Fee.
- Hybrid Fee Arrangements are used for some projects that may not fit neatly within a single category. It may be appropriate to begin work with one basis of fees with the intention of changing to another once the scope of the project is better known.
Amendments to project scope and services
- In all cases, a schedule of architectural fees is provided at the beginning of a project, and is based on the estimated effort and expenditure required to appropriately service the project and deliverables. If the scope of architectural services required is altered, the scale of the project changes, or if additional options and/or aborted work is undertaken, further fees will be charged for additional architectural services and disbursements provided.