The areas that the Architect can help you with in this stage are:
Starting On Site
Set aside time for regular contact with your Architect to discuss the progress of the works – for example whether or not the contractor is on schedule and whether he/she is entitled to any time extensions or variations for unforeseen matters.
Many building contracts stipulate that the contractor is paid progressively throughout the contract works. In some states, this is required by law. Your Architect will assess the progress of the work against the contractor’s claims and advise you on the payments to be made. Make sure you only pay according to the Contract and that you have received exactly what you are being asked to pay for.
A variation is any deviation from the original contract. Your Architect’s work up until now will have avoided many areas of confusion that normally lead to variations – however a few may still exist. Your Architect can mediate between you and the contractor on variations, reducing on-site friction and making sure that what is being asked is reasonable. They can also help you negotiate a fair variation amount.
Your Architect protects your interests during the final stages by issuing a ‘Notice of Practical Completion’. This notice defines the date the building is handed over to you for your use and defines the start of the ‘defects liability period’ where an amount of money is retained by you to provide safeguards against defects arising after the building work is completed. It also defines the date that the contractor ceases to have responsibility of the works for insurance purposes.
Defects Liability Period
During the ‘Practical Completion Inspection’, which may take many hours, your Architect notes any defects (such as jamming doors and windows, structural cracks in concrete and plaster, gutters incorrectly levelled and so on) and may also discover faults of which you weren’t aware. The contractor remains liable for fixing these changes until your Architect issues a ‘Final Certificate’ which states that the works under the contract have been satisfactorily completed. This is where your Architect’s services will be complete – often they will want to stay in touch to ensure your project was a long-term success.
An Archicentre Australia Home Design Feasibility can help establish the viability of your project at the outset, after which your Architect can help you navigate the complexities of the construction process.