Professional fees

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First Consultation
Professional Fees
Site Investigation 
Sketch Design Stage
Planning Permission Stage 
Tender Stage 
Tender Action Stage
Construction Stage


As the nature of each Project and brief varies enormously, we consider each brief carefully, its level of complexity  and submit a fee proposal for each stage of the project based on the resourcing required to complete.

In this way the Client can see clearly what is being charged for each element of work. In general terms 50% of overall fee is given over to the Concept , Sketch Design  and Planning Stages and 50% for resourcing the Tendering, Detailed Design and Specification , Contract Administration and Site Inspections.

The following is a synopsis of the Principal stages in the design / delivery process of a typical  project, using what is called a Traditional Procurement Route  commonly used for smaller and medium sized projects.. As projects increase in complexity,additional layers of design, contractual and procurement route choices come into play. These will be dealt with at a later stage in Blog Form .


Site Investigation 
Sketch Design Stage
Planning Permission Stage 
Tender Stage 
Tender Action Stage
Construction Stage


An accurate survey of the existing site and / or building with all features, levels and adjoining properties , underground / overground services is required for the process to begin.

In the case of existing buildings a Condition Report and photographic survey is required to establish its existing condition ( noting any upgrading works required – damp/ insulation. repairs , services etc ).

In the case of protected structures additional research will be required to establish original architectural features of the building which in turn will influence the design response.

In smaller projects the Architect does the survey – in more complex projects the survey is scoped by the Architect and tendered to Land Surveyors and other types of surveyors  to complete. These surveys  form the basis of the Sketch Design which responds to the specific site characteristics and brief,


The Client prepares a detailed BRIEF for the accommodation required and specific requirements for each element of the brief.The sketch design creates the first physical design interpretation of the brief and how the brief responds to the site , Planning and Regulatory requirements.

While many details and associated costs are not yet tied down , the completed Sketch Deisgn  provides the basis for a more refined Cost Planning exercise and identifies issues to be dealt with in the next stage.

It also provides the basis for the Structural engineer, Quantity Surveyor and other professionals as required to submit fee proposals for the project. Their early input benefits the Client by identifying cost effective solutions to achieve a similar architectural outcome.

The Primary Architectural Input for Sketch Design is as follows:

  • Research into the local Development Plan to set out design criteria to comply with.
  • Design research into possible solutions.
  • Creating the concept of the architectural solution to Client requirements / options
  • Managing input from other professionals / surveys etc.
  • Plans , sections and elevations and 3D sketches to show best how solution will work
  • Reference images to show the atmosphere , types of building spaces, created.
  • Tables of areas to ensure brief requirements being met.
  • On satisfaction of Client , agreement to proceed to Planning Stage.

It is advisable at this point to request the Quantity Surveyor to prepare a Preliminary Cost Plan to check likely spend on project. While not fully detailed at this point it helps identify major cost items and assists the Client in decision making.


Certain types of smaller projects will be exempt from Planning. This is assessed and cleared in advance with Planning Authority if not clear cut.

The planning stage of a project involves the creation of specific dimensioned drawings to scale and documentation set out by the Planning Authorities. it will include choices of external materials and solar powered heating and any visible or screened heating / cooling seen from the outside of a building.  In certain cases it will include input from the other professionals – Structural and Services Engineers and others.

In all cases it is advised to present the proposed Development to the Planners for the Area to get valuable feedback on how they will view it, areas of concern to address in Planning Application etc.


  • Site Plan              – showing proposed and existing context , ownership.
  • Photos                 – Photos of surrounding Context and site
  • Floor plans            – showing all floor and roof plans
  • Sections               – Cuts through the building showing context
  • Elevations             – All elevations including adjoining neighbours’ buildings
  • Materials               – Drawings show materials to be used, where
  • Drainage               – Drainage drawing done by Engineer
  • Maps                    – Ordnance Survey extract showing Site Notices , ownership
  •                             – Deed Maps to confirm Ownership, rights of way etc
  • Reports                 – Conservation report if Protected Structure
  •                             – Environmental Impact Assessment if large projects
  •                             – Chapter headings pre agreed with Plamnning Authority
  • Local Needs          – In rural locations , Form for justifying reasons for living there
  •                             – Includes letters from schools, local family etc
  • Septic Tank           – In rural location Percolation test by professional
  • Cover Letter           – Describing the proposed Development , arguments
  • Application Form    – Completed form with all details of proposed development
  • Exemptions            – if applicable for specific works. .
  • Newspaper Notice  – Copy of Notice advertising the Planning Application
  • Site Notice             -Copy of Site Notice
  • Details                   – Of Pre Planning Consultation for project
  • Fees                      – Planning Fees

The scale of drawings and level of design development at Planning Application permits some design input from the other design professionals at this point.

Once the Planning is issued by the Local Authority with Conditions to be met / possible modifications to design, with no Appeals,  the next stages ( incorporating any changes from Planning) can be completed:

PLANNING COMPLIANCE SUBMISSION      – Issued to Planning Authority          .

FIRE SAFETY CERTIFICATE                       – If Applicable


These separate submissions include similar drawings to the Planning with Specific reports demonstrating compliance with the Fire and Accessibility Regulations


The Tender stage of a project is the real meat of a project where all materials and construction, structure and services  of all parts of the building are brought together for pricing by a number of contractors.

On completion of this stage the following documents are issued to the tendering Contractors for pricing :

PRELIMINARIES- Under which conditions the works are to be carried out.


MEASURED WORKS -Bill of Quantity.

Key Drivers in all Design / Construction projects are TIME / COST/SCOPE  The Designs ( including drawings and specifications) and Schedule of Works define which specific materials are to be used, where and how they will meet specific performance criteria. The other accompanying documentation define the specific conditions under which the works are to be carried out and the quantities of each  item to be used in the building or project.

Engineers will work with the Architect to provide the most efficient ( and cost efficient ) design solutions for structure drainage and  services .. Any conditions imposed from the Fire and Disabled Access Authorities in their Certificates will be incorporated into the Tender design and Specifications as Amendments.

A lot of input is required during this phase from the Client, particularly on preferences for internal and external materials and sources/ cost ranges etc. with input from the Quantity Surveyor at this point advising on cost / choice options .Contingency Sums included in Tenders for unforeseen events vary from 5-10% depending on the nature of project but in existing older buildings closer to 10% is advisable.

Other terms used in the preparation of Tender Costings are the following:



In smaller projects the Contractor is sometimes requested from his Plumber and Electrican to design the services from the architectural drawings which show locations and specification of heating / cooling, kitchen , bathroom etc layouts.

At least 3 Competent Contractors agree to tender and are checked out via referrals , Insurances and Revenue to ensure that they are capable of delivering the project.They in turn will have their Domestic Sub Contractors specialised in Joinery, Solar Panels etc.

In certain cases and more complex projects , the Design Team might recommend the use of specialised sub contractors who are termed Nominated Subcontractors to carry out highly specialised Works including design  for the Main Contractor such as Heating and Cooling- A separate Tendering  process is undertaken to award this designation .

The Tender documentation- drawings, specifications , Schedule of Works  and itemised Bill of Quantities describe the scope of the works and under which conditions , type of Contract they are to be carried out.

The Contractor will supply as part of his Tender submission a draft programme showing start date, end date and the sequencing of the different phases of works. Key dates will be identified for Client and Design Team decisions.

It is advisable to include a Liquidated Damages Clause in the Contract Documents to make allowance for deductions for late delivery of project to enable the Client to reccupe out of pocket expenses.

The Core Design Team provides the following information for the tender.


  • Additional soil and underground CCTV surveys may be required .
  • Foundation Design
  • Drainage Design
  • Structural design on each floor and roofs
  • Retaining wall design if necessary
  • Concrete specification
  • Structural Specification and details


  • Appointed by Client as Project Supervisor Design Process
  • Agreement with Client on type of Client / Contractor Contract to be used.
  • Detailed Plans, Sections , Elevations with details and specifications .
  • Layouts indicating locations for heating, cooling, water, light and power, fire , burglar etc etc
  • Specification on materials and workmanship.
  • Preliminary Health and Safety Plan.
  • Management of input from other consultants
  • Management of due diligence of Tendering Contractors
  • Issue of Form of Tender.


  • Consultation with Public Utilities will be undertaken.
  • Plans and ceiling plans with all services.
  • Internal / external services plans
  • Specifications for the above .

OTHER CONSULTANTS- Interior Design / Lighting/ Landscape/ Specialist – as Applicable


On completion of all the design drawings and specifications from the other consultants, the Quantity Surveyor will measure each and every element in the building and create The Bill of Quantities . This will be the basis for the tender and ensure that all contractors price on a ‘like for like basis’. It is also used to cost Variations or changes in the scope of the works during teh construction phase .

Once the Tender is issued , a fixed period is allowed for receipt of completed tenders in 2 parts- (a.) The Form of tender , a one page summary and (b.) The completed Bill of Quantities .

A formal Tendering Procedure  is observed to ensure fairness  with the Completed Bills of Quantities of unsuccessful tenders being returned unopened.


The Quantity Surveyor analyses the Lowest Tender , circulates it to the other Consultants for comments. Queries are addressed with Contractor and rates adjusted / negotiated . They then  prepare a Tender Report making a recommendation for acceptance by the Client.

If there are budgetary issues on tender, then amendments to specification quality will be necessary.

If for any reason issues arise with the tender or the Contractor is unable to complete the work , the second lowest tender is opened and process repeated.

The Contract Sum for the  Contract is agreed  and Contract signed between Client and Contractor. The Architect will be Contract Administrator.

The Contract Sum will include a Contingency Sum of 5-10% of the cost of Project for unforeseen events, with larger percentage for existing buildings.

A period of weeks is allowed in tender for awarded Contractor to set up for the Contract .


FIRE AND DAC CERTS          – Issued from Local Authority

COMMENCEMENT NOTICE – lodged with Local Authority before Commencement .

HEALTH AND SAFETY FILE – Started by Contractor ( PSCS)


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