Most projects typically consist of a series of defined stages. At the completion of each stage we seek client approval to proceed to the next stage, giving you control of how the project proceeds. We offer an initial free, and no obligation meeting with the client to discuss the project parameters, budget and programme. This focuses on your ideas and what your ultimate goals for the project are. We will follow up this initial meeting with a fee proposal and an indication of any issues that may be encountered, consultants likely to be required and an estimate of construction costs if required. This initial meeting also enables the establishment of a brief which serves as a template of what the project needs to achieve.

The stages of design and implementation typical of most projects are described below.

Stage 1 – Pre Design

  • Establishment of a brief for the project. This includes an outline of preferred spaces and layouts, design direction, etc
  • Check with District Plan requirements and restrictions and advise on the implications.
  • This stage may include site selection or a feasibility study to ensure the selected site is compatible with your brief.
  • Site Analysis including undertaking bulk and location analysis.
  • This stage also includes preliminary site investigations and site survey work.

Stage 2+3 – Concept + Preliminary Design

  • Exploration of conceptual design directions in response to your brief and the site attributes.
  • This stage can comprise of several explorations and may result in a series of options for review with the selected proposal developed in greater detail.
  • The intent is to be as open to different solutions as possible and to ensure that we have settled on a direction that exceeds your expectations for the project.
  • We can assist in the selection of an appropriate consultant for the clients approval.
  • The concepts are presented to you in a clear and concise manner.
  • We would recommend that an outline cost check (based on square metre rates) is undertaken at this stage by either a Quantity Surveyor or a contractor if one is already selected.

Stage 4 – Developed Design

  • Development of the agreed preliminary design which includes adding details to layouts, forms and materials and confirming the viability of the scheme in relation to the site and compliance aspects.
  • If required, at this point a more refined cost estimate may be carried out by a Quantity Surveyor to give you assurance that the project is within your budget.
  • Any additional consultants would be engaged directly by the client, and would establish a working relationship with us to ensure that their requirements are incorporated into the design from an early stage.
  • At this stage the design is developed to a point where the design intent is described adequately to commence the production of working drawings and for a Resource Consent application to be made if this is required.
  • A 3D computer model of the project is often created to undertake solar and energy efficiency studies if required by the client.

Stage 5 – Contract Documentation

  • Production of the contract documentation includes development of all construction details and working with the client to finalise detailing in areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, material and product selections.
  • Further input is sought from Structural Engineers and any other required consultants to be integrated into our documentation.
  • Resulting from the Contract Documentation stage is a drawing and specification package that is suitable for the Building Consent application, tendering + construction.

Stage 6 – Procurement

  • If required we will recommend suitable contractors to undertake the project.
  • Prepare the relevant conditions of contract between the client and the contractor.
  • Call for tenders and analyse the tenders before presenting to you for you to select your preferred contractor.
  • If required we will negotiate with the contractors to get the project within the budget.

Stage 7 – Contract Administration and Observation

  • Administration of the contract and on-site observation is undertaken as a check that the construction is taking place in accordance with the Contract Documentation.
  • We convene site meetings and record and distribute minutes to all relevant parties.
  • We deal with any changes to the project by means of ‘Variation Price Requests’ + ‘Works Instructions’ – all issues are approved by the client prior to us instructing the contractor.
  • We assess contractors claims and issue Payment Schedules which relate to the assessed extent of work completed.
  • We maintain a full financial breakdown of the contract, including all variations and retentions and supply a record of this with every Payment Schedule issued – this enables the client to understand where the contract is at at any point in time.
  • We issue the Practical Completion Certificate, and the Defects Liability Certificates to give you piece of mind and assurance the project will be completed properly.
  • Like most things in life the key to a good project is communication – we pride ourselves in keeping all communication lines open, getting information where it’s needed before it’s needed and most of all ensuring all parties are left fully informed of where things are at and what is required of them to get the project successfully completed.
Architecture Lab designed and supervised a ‘for purpose’ building to house the NZTA Wellington Traffic Operation Centre. The suburban and somewhat eco design has melded gently into the urban surrounds and together with the landscaping the building has added a touch of style to the suburb. The build was ‘on time’ and any issues were sorted quickly and professionally by Dan and the team at Architecture Lab. The staff enjoy the work environment the building has created and I’ve certainly been impressed with the architecture services and on going support that Dan and his team have provided.  Nothing seems to be an issue for them.


Des O’Sullivan – Traffic Operation Manager – New Zealand Transport Agency