What services do an architect provide?

With varied experiences and unique technical and design orientated knowledge, architects have the opportunity to provide valuable services for their clients in addition to the basics.

An architect’s services can be divided into 3 areas: Standard services, Partial services and Additional services

Standard services:

Basic services are what the architect needs to do for every design. These services are considered basic, because an owner should expect each of these to be included in a standard contract. Standard services typically consist of 6 stages which include the following:

Stage 1: Inception
Stage 2: Concept and viability
Stage 3: Design development
Stage 4: Documentation and procurement
Stage 5: Construction
Stage 6: Close out



In the inception phase you are determining the scope of work to be designed. No actual design is being developed at this point. We will mainly ask our client questions to gain an understanding of their problems, wants, and needs. This is also where the research and decision-making process happens. This service is mainly a consulting phase, compiling a list of the clients wants and needs by the end of this session.

Concept and Viability:

Here you will be developing the basic form of the building. There will be a lot of sketching vs. formal drawings. Based on the architectural brief developed from the discussions and site analysis in the inception stage, as well as your budget, an initial concept design will be prepared. This will show the intended space provisions based on the accommodation requirements, as well as the planning relationships and proposed layout based on the requirements and contextual issues stemming from the site such as views, orientation and access. It will also show the proposed intended concept and form of the buildings.

Design development:

The plans will be further developed based on the approved concept design, with any further changes that may be required, as well as the input from the consultants. In the case of the input from the structural engineer, this will include the specifications of the foundations, suspended floors and the roof design. At this stage details, specifications and any adjustments required in terms of energy efficiency will also be undertaken. The design development will include details of the construction systems and materials to be used.

The basic 3d model used in the initial concepts will also be developed and detailed 3d perspectives will be produced of the exterior and interior of the project. After any further changes are made, the final set of design development plans are produced. 

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Document and Procurement:

This stage compromises of two stages: stage 4.1 & stage 4.2

Stage 4.1

Commencement of work stage 4.1 follows on the approval of the final Design Development plans and revised cost estimates. In this drawings and documentation required for submission for the required approvals are prepared. Documentation produced as part of stage 4.1 includes a detailed site plan, electrical, solar, gas and drainage layouts and building specifications describing materials to be used, as required by the local authority. 

The Engineers documentation indicating his scope of work and responsibilities for the project are submitted as part of the building plan document set submitted to the local authority. Certain local authorities will also require an original beacon certificate signed by the Land Surveyor. If height restrictions are applicable a topographical survey plan will need to be submitted as part of the submission documents.

Stage 4.2

In this stage documents are prepared to procure offers for the execution of the works. These would include a set of tender drawings for information, a detailed specification document, documentation from the engineers and any other specialist consultants, as well information relating to the site, timing of the construction plans and the type of contract agreement being utilised for the appointment of the contractor. Offers are then evaluated, and recommendations made on the awarding of the principle building contract, as well as any other appointments, as required with direct contractors or nominated sub-contractors. Contract documentation is then prepared and arrangements made for the signing of the building contract.



Construction Administration typically involves the architect acting as the owner’s representative during construction. Site visits, materials testing, and inspections make sure that the contractor is constructing the build to spec. 

The architectural service provided for this stage comprises of the administration of the building contract. 

This includes administering the handover of the site to the main contractor; the issuing of construction documentation; initiating and/or checking sub-contract design and documentation as appropriate; regularly inspecting the works for conformity to the design and contract documentation; performing the duties and obligations assigned to the ‘principle agent’, as set out in the JBCC building agreements or similar approved contract; issuing the practical completion certificate; and assisting the client to obtain the occupation certificate from the relevant local authority.

Close out:

The final stage is the facilitation of the ‘wrapping up’ or close out of the project, which includes preparation of the necessary documentation to affect the completion and handover of the project. 

After the contractor’s obligations with respect to the building contract are fulfilled, certificates relating to the contract completion are issued. 

The client is also then provided with as-built drawings as well as the relevant technical and contractual undertakings and guarantees by the contractor and sub-contractors.




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Partial services:

Partial services may be agreed, the options most regularly utilized are:

1. Appointed as architectural professional and principal consultant (not as principal agent)
2. Appointed as design architectural professional (design only)
3. Appointed as architectural professional of record (design by others, can be principal agent)
4. Appointed as principal agent only
5. Appointed as architectural professional to work stage 4.1 (documentation to achieve council approval only)
6. Appointed to perform additional services (formerly described as ‘supplementary services’)

Additional services:

These include but are not limited to heritage permit applications, measuring up of existing buildings without building plans, preparing renderings of projects and many more that do not fall under the normal scope of works for an Architect.