On each of the initial work stages of a project the architect is involved in many ways and uses many skills. Before the architect begins any work they must be appointed under the RIBA concise conditions agreement or SW 99. The following is a brief outline of what an architect does in a RIBA standard agreement between architect and client.
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The first two RIBA work stages come under term ‘Preparation’ in the ‘RIBA, Outline Plan of Work 2007’. The first stage is stage A, ‘Appraisal’; this mainly involves establishing the needs of the client. Three main tasks are carried out. Throughout the initial stages of the project constant communication between the architect and client takes place. Firstly, the architect must carry out studies to determine the feasibility of the Client’s requirements. The architect may also review the alternative design and construction approaches and the cost implications of each with the client. At this stage the architect may also provide information for reports on the cost implications.
During stage B (Design Brief) the initial ‘Statement of Requirements’ is developed into the ‘Design Brief’. Although this is the responsibility of the client the architect often contributes to its development additionally.
Stages C, D and E come under the heading ‘Design’. This begins with Stage C (Concept), where the architect would usually be required to prepare outline proposals for things, such as, the building structure and building services. The architects also develop concept designs for project. Throughout this stage the architect will be leasing with other members of the team, such as, engineers, quantity surveyors and planning supervisors. This communication helps the architect to provide the client with information on approximate construction costs and cost planning which must then be assessed by the client in the stage report.
Stage D (Design Development) involves the completion of the project brief and the further development of the concept designs. At this stage a cost estimate, or information for a cost estimate, must be provided and the architect will be working closely with statutory planning authorities, for instance, local planning departments. The architect must also prepare a detailed planning application, including drawings and an ‘Access and Design Statement’. At the end of stage D the architect must obtain signed approval by the client of a stage D report (this is broadly outlined in Task 3). The Shirebrook Academy has just seen the completion of this stage and has now been submitted to planning.
Involvement by the architectural technologist in the science and technology of the building, rather than the creative and artistic side, is the main difference between the work of the architect and the architectural technologist. Many of the tasks undertaken overlap with the work of the architect and a strong collaboration exists. For example, when working on stages C and D both architect and architectural technologist may work together on developing the project brief and design programme, each contributing specific skills to the project. The architectural technologist may contribute by evaluating and advising upon environmental strategies and material specification, while the architect may work on spatial relationships and movement path diagrams.
CIAT is a non-profit organization which aims to further the profession and the interests of people working within it. Being a member of CIAT gives many benefits. Firstly, CIAT is the only professional and chartered body that represents architectural technologists and technicians.
The different grades of membership/qualification represent a person’s competence in an area and this is recognised across the industry.
As a student the main benefits of membership may be though the prospect of increased career opportunities. Potential employers recognise the body and that you have a professional attitude and commitment to developing. Membership also brings more direct benefits to a student, such as the vast access to current up to date information on policies and practices. This is available digitally online or though seminars and lectures. For instance, if up to date information on a certain material is needed for the Shirebrook school project, being a member of CIAT would give access to information sheets and technical guidance on the material. Being a member also provides the opportunity to network with other members allowing knowledge to be shared.
Other benefits of membership include several free gifts and discounts. Members get free subscriptions to the ‘Building Products’ magazine and discounts on other magazines and books, such as, the ‘Architect’s Journal’ and books at the RIBA bookshop. Membership allows you to apply for scholarships and awards run by the body, in particular the Student Award for Technical Excellence in Architectural Technology, which again helps to show your ability to employers. Finally, as a member free professional indemnity insurance and legal support are available to you if needed.
Few reasons for not joining CIAT exist so I would strongly advise you to join. The only perceivable drawback is the membership fee, although as a student this would not apply to you.
There are many reasons why the design team have chosen to procure much of the Shirebrook project off-site. Several drivers for change have made prefabrication the best choice. The political driver for off-site construction can be traced back to two documents published in1994 and 1998: ‘Constructing the Team’ by Sir Michael Latham and ‘Rethinking Construction’ by Sir John Egan. These reports were designed to drive the industry forward. The Latham report suggested partnering (between suppliers and clients) and both reports suggest that prefabrication can offer greater on-site quality and efficiency and less time spent on site. Other driving forces towards off-site construction are the shortage of skilled onsite workers and more rigorous building regulations being put in place.
Using off-site construction techniques can also has a more direct impact on the project in terms of cost savings and quality improvements.
Firstly, costs can be cut due to the several factors. The nature of off-site construction means than building can be erected quickly on site. This means that skilled workers spend less time on site, so do not need to be paid for long time periods. Secondly, off-site construction can lead to less wastage of materials because more components can be ordered and cut to size, thus, reducing cost of materials as well as the embodied carbon in the building. Spending less time on site also means that the risk of accidents occurring is reduced.
Quality and performance of the construction can be improved greatly as manufacturing components in factories means that they can be precision machined to high levels of accuracy within a controlled climate. Consequently, less of the construction process is subject to the risks associated with adverse weather which can lead to less defects and a greater quality finished product. With the use of off-site prefabrication the building regulations for such things as thermal and acoustic performance can be met more easily; a good example of this is SIP’s panels.
In conclusion, both the Latham and Egan reports suggest off-site manufacture and the associated benefits of cost-effectiveness, safety and speed are the main reasons why the Shirebrook School is being procured in this way. Also, the current government BSF (Building Schools for the Future) initiative aims to replace or rebuild all secondary schools in England by 2020; this means that projects need to follow fast routs of procurement. The Shirebrook School will hopefully reach completion on time (aim for doors open to students in Sept 2010). This will be made more achievable through the use of off-site construction and prefabrication methods.
The main drawbacks of off-site construction involve transport and logistics: with transport being one area where prefabricated buildings are frequently criticised. Large units need to be transported usually by road this means more fuel is used contributing to greater emissions. The use and size of prefabricated components is also limited by the condition of the site transport and access. ‘The maximum width for an unaccompanied load in the UK is 2.9 m (this can be increased to 4.3 m with a police escort).’ BRE output 209291
Another drawback of off-site construction may be the longer lead in time for design and manufacture which may be required as a consequence of the involvement of additional parties. Effective coordination of component manufacture lines is required. If one component is late then there is a knock on effect on the whole construction time. Also, on conventional sites substituting a product is not usually a problems, whereas, substituting or changing materials and products during the design of a building procured off-site may create problems in the factory.
Some aesthetic limitations do exist especially in modular off-site construction techniques, however, in my opinion the benefits of off-site construction far outweigh the drawbacks.
The main reason for work stage reports are because they provide an effective means of managing the project and maintaining control of the project. At the end of each of the RIBA work stage a reports is submitted to the client. Work stage reports combine information from different groups into one document. This allows the client to monitor the performance and progress of the entire project on a regular basis. After each stage the client can then give approval so that the project can continue to the next stage: usually by signing off the work stage report, particularly at stages D and E.
The initial work stage reports help by stating clear objectives of the project. Work stage reports can be used to identify changes to the project or project brief and allow subsequent changes and action to be taken. They allow clients to see things such as the resources and finance required to complete the project. For example at the end of each stage reports on costs can be analysed by the client to check the project remains viable and affordable. The report ensures that the design meets the needs of the client. The work stage system allows progression of the project. After each stage a new set of objectives or instructions can be laid out by the client for the following stage if required.
Work stage reports may also be useful as they can be used to fulfil legal and authoritative obligations. For example, they can be used in the event of legal problems to show that proper procedures have been followed at each stage. Reports also ensure that safety procedures are followed and recorded and ensure that projects meet the required safety standards and requirements. In addition, work stage reports provide a comprehensive documentation of the construction process from start to finish.
A work stage report at the end of stage D can be used to help obtain planning permission by submission to the relevant planning board. At the conclusion of Stage D, the satisfied client must ‘sign off’ the Design and the Project Brief. After stage D any changes made by the client will mean additional expenses.
Contents of Stage D report:
The following Stage D report outline contents page shows outputs associated with the Architect’s office. The report would usually also contain information from structural, electrical, environmental and mechanical engineers (depending on the design).
1. Finalised Project Brief developed from the Strategic Brief
2. Detailed Proposals
Planning and spatial arrangements
Build and construction information
Environmental systems information
2.6 Environmental impact assessment
Schedule of Accommodation, showing areas, gross areas and percentages
6. Full Planning application, application for listed building consent or application for conservation area consent, including:
6.1. Prototypes mock-ups and model images, in context with site
6.2. Development proposals (drawings at 1:200 for Comprehensive Design Project)
6.3 Design and Access Statement
6.4 Developments and changes to existing buildings
7. A full set of project drawings. (The scope of which is shown below).
8. Cost information
Projected cost estimate
An elemental cost plan
Firm cost plan
Accompanying drawing for stage D (all scales will depend on the nature and size of the project)
Flow diagrams showing layouts and relationships. (Varying scales depending on nature of drawing up to around 1:50)
Site plan, showing hard and soft landscaping (1:500 for Shirebrook School Development)
All building floor plans in context with the surrounding landscape and buildings. (Scale 1:200 for Shirebrook School Development).
All key elevations in context with the surrounding landscape and buildings. (Scale 1:200 for Shirebrook School Development).
Key Sections, annotated and showing materials and integration of services and systems (1:200 and 1:100 for Shirebrook School Development but up to 1:50 depending on nature of the drawing)
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