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ALTERATIONS PROCESS

When you live in the perfect spot but don't quite have the perfect house, the answer is to renovate. Whether it's your 'for now home', 'getting on the ladder home' or your 'last home' as professionals who have your best interests at heart, we're sure there are ways to improve it for you. 

Rural, Urban, Big, Small, single story or multi story designing functional and visually attractive renovations is in our DNA. 

If you are interested in renovating your home the first step is to make a call, send us an email or contact us through the details at the bottom of the page, all projects begin with clients reaching out to us via referral or after some initial research online. 

Our first step is to meet you and have a look over the proposed site. This has no cost associated, it merely allows us to introduce ourselves and meet you initially. 

Architecture in 2023 is a team game and we don't do it all alone! The process is enjoyable and progressive, it does involve a lot of co-ordination and oversight, the flow of renovating your home we are involved with will follow roughly the process below. 

PRE-DESIGN

Pre-Design for a residential alteration is the first real phase of the project and it is quite heavy in exploratory functions. 

Initially we will undertake a site measure to prepare an accurate record of the existing house and co-ordinate with a group of other consultants with experience such as:

  • Surveyor: for Topography surveying with 3D digital files we can use,

  • Planning Consultant: for Town planning advisory and consultancy,

  • Plumber / Drainlayer: for CCTV inspection of nearby drains,

  • Geotechical Engineer: For advice on ground stability and suitability. 

Once the topography information is provided, we discuss the planning constraints with the Planning Advisor to establish the limits and restrictions of the proposed site from a council perspective. 

Once this phase is completed as the designers, we will have enough information to discuss the extent of the alterations and a thorough understanding of the project will be known. This enables us to form and agree to brief and scope of works with you as the client and developer. 

Costs:

Expect to spend in the vicinity of $9,000+gst across all of the consultants to obtain all that is required to commence the project. A lot of people opt to not engage consultants at this stage and wait until Developed Design, this is OK but the downsides are the cost is deferred rather than removed and the timeframe impact of information delays at that stage in the project are more costly than at this stage. 

 

Timeframe:

Typically, it can take up to 8 weeks with the availability of the Surveyor and Civil Engineer usually the longest lead times. 

DESIGN STAGES

CONCEPT DESIGN

The concept design phase of work transfers the information gathered during the Pre-Design Phase to a drawn form studying high level matters such as building bulk, location, form, early building planning consideration etc.

This phase is primarily concerned with forming shapes and inter-spatial relationships but we do offer a glimpse into materials and potential colours*. 

Co-ordination is required between ourselves as the principal designers and:

  • Planning Consultant: for affirmation of bulk and location compliance,

  • Landscape / Urban designer: for Preliminary design of any streetscape to meet the planting and street frontage requirements within the Local Authorities urban design guides. 

  • Specialist consultants for any specific requirements such as Passive House, Homestar, Greenstar, Lifemark etc. 

You can expect to see some generic perspective 3D views and floor plans of a loose nature throughout this stage whilst we work towards meeting your brief and ensuring the alteration is feasible. 

Costs:

These will vary depending on the size of the house, for a typical $500k alteration on a reasonably level site expect to spend in the vicinity of $8,000+gst across all of the consultants to obtain all that is required to design the project to this point. NOTE we work to your build budget no matter how large or small, we just chose $500k as a figure to work from with respect to offering preliminary advice. 

Timeframe:

Typically, it can take up to 10 weeks for this phase with the vast majority of the time being the design process itself, testing and exploring options. Engagement with clients is important throughout this process and therefore time is required to digest and understand the design and design updates before confirming the design to proceed to the next stage. 

DEVELOPED DESIGN

The Developed Design phase further develops the approved concept design to coordinate between separate building consultants and to incorporate any matters resulting from a town planning or cost estimate process.

We prepare the vast majority of the structural drawings and sub-contractor documentation during this phase and therefore it is the largest phase of the project from an architectural perspective. 

On completion of Developed Design the following consultants become involved in the project:

  • Structural Engineer: Specific design of foundations and elements outside the scope of generic standards

  • Geotechical Engineer: Working alongside the Structural Engineer on foundation design

  • Home system experts for Space Heating, Water Heating, Solar Energy provisions, Electricity Storage provisions, Home Automation, Centralised Vacuum systems 

  • Planning Consultant: for Assessment of Environmental Effects reporting and submission of Resource Consents to Local and Regional councils,

  • Other Specialist consultants introduced during the design phase will prepare final reporting as required. 

  • Quantity Surveyor or agreed contractor: For indicative pricing. 

  • Finishing consultants such as Lighting Designers, Colour Consultants, Interior Designers etc. 

Completed developed design drawings are sufficient for use alongside an Assessment of Effects to obtain planning permission for the alteration if required. Generally we only encourage obtaining Resource Consent if there is a clear and obvious benefit it doing so. 

Most quantity surveyors will offer a check measure service at this stage for a low fee if a preliminary cost estimate has been obtained prior. This is a valuable budget check prior to submitting the documents to tender or council. 

Costs:

These again will vary depending on the size and complexity of the dwelling, for a typical $1m house on a level site expect to spend in the vicinity of $12,000+gst across all of the consultants to obtain all that is required to design the project to this point.

Council Fees will play a part in the financials at this stage as well with Resource Consent fees if required. As of Dec 2022 in Wellington the council fees total for a minor land-use Resource Consent will be in the vicinity of $3,000incl GST. 

Timeframe:

Typically, it can take up to 6-10 weeks for this phase with the time spent equally between ourselves and the consultants.  

BUILD COST ESTIMATE

For budget sensitive projects in the current environment it is not possible to estimate the build cost based on recent or historical pricing. Therefore the only opportunity to accurately gauge the cost of the build is to engage a Quantity Surveyor to provide preliminary cost feedback at the completion of Concept Design and Developed Design. 

The fees for this service are in addition to our own but are a condition of us taking on work where a budget is fixed. 

DOCUMENTATION STAGES

RESOURCE CONSENT

Resource Consent is required if the town planning rules are not met by the proposal. Generally speaking we tend to adhere to the rules, however there are a lot of them (increasing all the time) and some of the rules are detrimental to a good design outcome on a case by case basis.

The Resource Consent process provides the Local Authorities an ability to regulate urban development beyond their rules. Often it is not until the completion of Developed Design until the full scope of the planning permission is known as technical elements such as earthworks volumes or exact structural heights are unknown until we complete those documents and calculations. 

Working with the planning consultant early usually removes any surprises here, however from time to time we find a breach as a result of engineering or civil design not quite lining up as expected as we address the needs in the assessment of effects as they arise. 

On occasion the affects may be considered to be adverse to a neighbour and as such a neighbour may be required to sign an affected parties form. Presenting and discussing the affects with neighbours is often the client responsibility, with the support of ourselves and the planning consultant.

 

Should the neighbours not agree then the process becomes slightly more complicated, time consuming and the viability of the proposal will require re-visiting. 

DETAILED DESIGN

The Detailed Design phase builds on the Developed Design and is the process of finishing a set of drawings, specifications and schedules to allow a building consent to be applied for and the formal pricing process of the building works to commence.

We utilise the latest software solutions to ensure our documentation is of the highest quality and accuracy. Quality documentation is the no.1 priority at HWA and one of the key reasons we get referred work. 

Great documentation = less changes and lower on-site costs. 

To complete the project we work in with the following consultants:

  • Structural Engineer: Specific design of foundations and elements outside the scope of generic standards

  • Home system experts for Space Heating, Water Heating, Solar Energy provisions, Electricity Storage provisions, Home Automation, Centralised Vacuum systems, Balustrading installers,  

  • Other Specialist consultants introduced during the design phase will prepare final reporting as required. 

  • Frame and Truss designers

  • Finishing consultants such as Lighting Designers, Colour Consultants, Interior Designers etc. 

Costs:

These again will vary depending on the size of the project, using our typical $500k alteration on a simple site expect to spend in the vicinity of $12,000+gst across all of the consultants to obtain all that is required to complete the documentation for the project to gain approval and to be tendered and built from.

Council Fees will be required at this stage as well with Building Consent fees and Curb deposit fees. As of Dec 2022 in Wellington the council fees total for alterations around $500k in value will be in the vicinity of $8,000incl GST. 

Timeframe:

Typically, it can take up to 6-8 weeks for this phase with the time spent equally between ourselves and the consultants.  

DELIVERY

PROCUREMENT^

Procurement is the process of preparing tender documents or preferred contractor documentation that along with the approved Detailed Design documents, can be offered for contract pricing.

 

At the conclusion of this phase a building contract can be prepared for execution between the you and your contractor. 

OBSERVATION / ADMINISTRATION^

Contract Observation or Administration runs in parallel with construction to the completion of all built works.

 

Our role in Observation is just that. To observe construction and determine that the completed work is generally in accordance with our documents. Our observation is limited to our scope of works and inspections will be required by:

  • Structural Engineer: for oversight of the specific design elements they are responsible for, 

  • Civil Engineer: for oversight of specific design elements they are responsible for,

  • Local Authorities also have a set of inspections required for each building in their territory. 

Our role in Administration if required is to manage the administration of the building contract and to observe construction to determine that the completed work is generally in accordance with our documents.

Clients often choose to administer their own contract in conjunction with their builder and engage us to ensure the works are in accordance with our documentation. 

THINGS TO BE WARY OF

Here's a few of the things we find cause the most challenges with new build proposals:

Infrastructure:

  • Be very wary of any existing 'consent notices' as it is becoming increasingly common for alterations to be restricted as part of the developers' incentives. 

  • Flooding is a recent addition to the council list of concerns that aren't often well communicated to home owners. Overland flow and potential flooding areas need to consider what affect the proposals can have on neighboring properties. We've found the methodology applied and application of the data to be quite challenging to work reasonably within and notices are being attached to titles as a council response to the risk. 

  • Any additional stormwater collected in most areas now will require some form of retention to limit flow into council stormwater drains. This is an unavoidable cost and space user. 

Ground Stability:

  • Liquifaction reporting is becoming a common requirement throughout New Zealand at the moment. Testing is expensive if it is required by the council. Over $6k +gst as of Dec 2022. 

  • Slope stability is an issue in hilly areas with landslips a plenty happening during heavy rain events. 

Airport / Road / Port Noise restrictions:

  • As resource management evolves areas subject to disrupting noise such as roads, airports and sea ports (we're sure stadiums and race track provisions will come) there are requirements for fresh air and sound deadening construction to be considered. 

Productive and Sustainable Land Use:

  • This recent legislation has made it challenging for fringe rural/urban properties to develop land as they may have intended. The land owner must verify the land could not be better used for agriculture or horticulture and recently the size and scale of homes in rural areas has been limited in some areas. 

*   = Colour selection is a consultant cost outside the scope of HWA. Colours explored in the design stage are to be considered in the            context of architectural presentation only. 

 

^ = We strongly encourage the inclusion of these phases based on experience however these two phases are optional in the scope of

       services.

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