Once the concept of the construction project has been formalised, and you are comfortable the costs are within your budget, you can proceed to the working drawings stage. The good thing about going through the stages prior to these is you are now far more informed. You are in control of the process and can make reasonable decisions relating to designing additions and alterations. There are clients who abandoned their plans in despair after spending $20,000 on design costs, only to have to pay even more to re-design. This process may have taken from six months to two years, all for no result.
Working drawings are the blueprint to any construction. They contain all the information needed to construct your design, including the dimensions and specifications for the building.
Depending on the size and substance of the project, working drawings can be up to fifty pages long. They will contain all the architectural, electrical and structural engineering plans. Working drawings will usually include:
• Site, Block and Floor Plans;
• Sectional views and projections;
• Perspective drawings;
• Detailed drawings;
• Service installations;
• Electrical circuits;
• Exploded drawings.
Designers normally begin with freehand sketches before progressing to design development where all the original ideas and practical aspects are combined into working drawings. Most working drawings done by architects will be produced using Computer-Aided Software (CAD). This software is a more efficient way of creating designs and a lot easier for any changes to be made.
Working drawings are used by Certifiers and Builders to formalize and complete the construction process. It is in this phase of the project designers need to produce a more comprehensive plan which not only allows construction but also meets all the industry standards. Meeting the industry standards and criteria is crucial when designing a building as it allows you to understand all the aspects of the architecture and to be content with its quality.
Prevent Your Construction From Going Wrong
Finding a reliable contractor is one of the most vital points of the construction process and needs some serious consideration. This decision will determine your enjoyment of the construction process. Unless you are experienced and exceptionally knowledgeable about the building and construction process, it will be necessary to find the right builder or contractor.
The contractor you choose must be honest, reliable and respected in the industry. A builder or the contractor will be informed of all aspects of the construction process. They will know what needs to be undertaken in regard to permits, building restrictions, weather conditions, contracts, subcontractor agreements and other construction issues and requirements.
You can also benefit from a builders association with reputable architects, draft’s people, estimators, landscape architects, and qualified, licensed and reliable trade’s people.
The advantage of a dependable and established company is a complete project management team and one point of contact to manage the entire process for:
• Home Renovations and Home Extensions;
• New Built Homes;
• Swimming Pools and Swimming Pool Renovations;
• Landscaping involves domestic and commercial properties.
All projects are programmed from start to finish allowing the client a full understanding of the timeline.
You can find a contractor by doing online research or searching through directories such as the Yellow Pages. Trade associations (such as the Housing Industry Association and the Master Builders Association) keep listings of registered and qualified contractors in your area. They also put out yearly publications featuring the top contractors in the state. It remains a good idea to obtain referrals from industry bodies, industry professionals and family or friends.
Make An Educated Decision When Hiring A Contractor
Anyone who is embarking on a building project should have a builder’s contract and a contractor. Choosing the most suitable contractor is vital as this will determine the success of your project. After you have gathered the relevant information on each potential contractor, the next step is to acquire a written quote from at least three different companies. Provide each contractor with a detailed brief of the project and ask them to submit a quote using these details. This way, you can make an informed decision about the quality and the cost of the work each contractor can provide.
When considering the quotes you have received keep in mind that a professional contractor will present the documents in person. Ensure that the documents have been fully explained and that all exclusions are listed. Quantifying Prime Cost and Provisional Sum items must be clearly listed.
• Prime Cost (PC) items are the cost for items such as tap ware, toilet pans and so forth, which may not have been specified exactly at the time of tender.
• Provisional Sum (PS) items are items, which had the supply of a product and labour incorporated into the cost. This is used for items, which cannot be totally identified – such as excavation and demolition.
The only way you can have a fixed cost contract with no variations is if the builder can determine the entire scope of work, and the desired specifications based on your wishes and needs. This will be extremely difficult to do if the project is a renovation, as there will always be items, which are not apparent at the time of design and pricing. It is important to note if variations are made during the construction, the builder/contractor must have these in writing, and both parties are to sign this document.
No-good builders will ask for money up front. You may need to agree a payment schedule that runs throughout the project so that the builder can acquire the materials he needs. You may have to pay other contractors, but you should never be asked to pay the total cost of the work up front. If any of the builders you approach ask for this, don’t choose them. You will have no way of getting your money back if the work isn’t completed.
What You Should Know Before Signing The Construction Contract
You are about to sign the contract with the builder or contractor who will be doing the work of your construction project. At this stage, you should have the following knowledge at hand:
• Project commencement date;
• Date of completion as per builder’s construction program;
• Insurances covering the project: you can find the information for the insurances you need by contacting the relevant local building authority or building associations;
• How communication will be conducted;
• The price: this can be the most difficult decision if there are a number of quotations. Look at the items they have included and ask for information and pricing on items they have not documented. This is where the bill of quantities comes into its own – especially if you have provided it to all the builders/contractors.
Once you have finalised a concept design with the architect and found your builder or contractor you will be given a tentative construction schedule that will keep you informed of the progress of your home. The builder will include all the different phases of construction within this schedule, along with a specific time period for completion of each stage. However, do not expect this schedule to be exact as there are a number of uncontrollable factors, e.g. unpredictable weather and the availability of materials, which can influence the overall completion time.
From here all the supplies will be pre-ordered, so at this stage it is important that you have made a decision about the materials and finishes you want to include.
It is possible that the person you are dealing with is not the person who will be doing the work. Insist on a meeting with the person who will be supervising the work. This will enable you to form an opinion prior to signing the contracts.
Study All The Clauses
The contract is an agreement binding the two consenting parties to facilitate an exchange of benefits. A contract is meant to be acted upon by both the signatories, and a breach of contract will entail legal proceedings in a court of law with the resultant payment of damages by the defaulting party. The one assured way to avoid possible litigation is for the two consenting parties to study all the agreement clauses and satisfy themselves that they are all capable of fulfilling their promises.
Most builders provide industry-standard contracts that are written in plain English. Industry standards set out all the industry benchmarks in regard to the quality of the work and obligations of the client and contractor, and also come with explanatory notes on the different responsibilities for each party.
There are two main types of industry-standard contracts that vary according to the responsibilities of each party:
• Traditional Contract: This contract is one that has been prepared by the BSA or one of the other housing industry bodies such as the HIA or the MBA.
• Non-traditional Contract: A contract that is referred to as a ‘cost plus’ contract. It must be said that this is not generally considered the best way to go as it is not supported by the BSA. There is no limit on the cost of the project.
There is a cooling-off period of five business days after the contract is signed. During this time, it is a good idea to have a solicitor read over the document in this period, to ensure they point out any contract terms, which create any uncertainty or could cause future problems.
For business contracts to be valid and sustainable in courts of law, both the consenting parties should initial each page of the agreement, and finally affix their full signatures and date the last page. In most cases, the agreement will also have to be signed by two witnesses (one from either side) to lend further credence.
Remain Vigilant Throughout The Construction Process
The most exciting day of the construction is most likely the foundation stage. This is the day when your design becomes reality. The site is excavated, and the concrete laid for the beginnings of the building.
After the foundation is laid the structure of your home will start to take shape. This means putting up the framing of the building, including walls, floors, roof, stairs and any other structural features. From here the exterior is built up, and outside finishes are applied.
The final stage begins with the installation of the plumbing and electrical features, followed by insulation and air sealing to produce a comfortable living environment. Once this is completed it is time for the fun stage, interior finishes. This is when you can really express your personality through colour, tiles, light fittings, carpets and other materials. All the internal doors and fittings are installed, along with any other in-built furnishings like cabinets, shelves and kitchen and bathroom units.
With completion, you can do a final inspection. Walk through the property with the builder or contractor. You can spot repairs or touch ups that need to be done. Make a list of the things that need attention.
During the construction process, you should document all information. Although your contractor will be recording all contract papers and administrations and your bank will be documenting all financial transactions, it is always a good idea for you to retain your own personal records of all correspondence, contracts, variations, payments and other paperwork to avoid discrepancies and cover yourself against liability.