Find out more about Acres Architects
At Acres Architects we recognise and understand that the start to every successful development project begins with a thorough understanding of the available opportunity and business case. Our experienced and fully qualified Architects are available to meet with you at the proposed site to help identify and understand the business opportunity. We have many tools at our disposal to achieve this, including; direct contact with local authorities for detailed discussions, desktop planning policy analysis, vast experience in maximising GDV for our clients, and high-tech survey equipment (such as drones for capturing video footage and photography of the site and the surrounding context). By working with Acres Architects you will be able to identify your business case and rapidly be able to recognise an opportunity or move on quickly if the site does not match your chosen business model.
Once we have established with you the business opportunity, under your instruction, our highly-skilled team of designers will begin to create initial layouts, drawings and massing of the site to demonstrate and prove the business case in greater detail. The outputs of this stage might be 3D static imagery of massing and / or 2D static drawings of the site layout(s). This is accompanied with sizes and square-footage for calculating construction and sales figures. This allows you to develop further conversations with the landowner and / or finalise your development appraisal.
CONCEPT & PRE-APP
Upon confirmation on the feasibility of the scheme we will create a concept for your development which may include, site design style, aesthetics, materials used and ultimately help you to create a look and feel or brand for your development which will improve saleability and curb appeal. Prior to any planning applications we will open communications with the local planning authority through direct conversations or more formalised pre-application submissions. This helps us to highlight any discrepancies with their planning policies so we can avoid issues at the planning stage. All of this gives your project a much greater chance of planning approval first time round, mitigating planning risks as much as possible. The outputs from this stage may be more detailed 2D static drawings, further rationalised 3D massing and site layout as well as initial high quality computer generated images of individual house types, street scene views of the building(s) and a full understanding of how the site will work.
Acres Architects has vast experience of planning applications for all types for residential projects. We will advise you on the most appropriate application type to ensure the greatest chance of success. This may include, outline submissions, listed building consent, change of use, conservation works, minor and major developments, and strategic developments including major master-planning sites. We are well versed in acting as lead consultant for these projects and have a great deal of experience managing complex large scale residential developments. Acres Architects we’ll provide everything necessary to fulfill the planning submission requirements, this may include: 2D drawings, 3D static CGI renders, and promotional material, as well as completing the required forms, preparing and producing detailed reports and written statements to fully explain the submission proposal. We will also collate all necessary works from any other consultants required, such as, highways, drainage design, archaeological reports and historical assessments to complete a fully cohesive submission. Whether outline or full planning submission we will then monitor the progression of the application, support with further information, if requested, and negotiate planning conditions whilst keeping you fully up-to-date.
For outline applications we can handle the further submission of ‘Reserve Matters’. We can do this if you have gathered outline application yourself or purchased a new site with outline permission in place.
CONDITIONS SIGN OFF
Following a successful planning application one of our first duties will be collecting the necessary information and negotiating with the local authority to sign off the attached conditions of approval. This typically will be completed in parallel with the beginning of technical design. This process will usually heavily inform the early stage technical design and decision making as the local authority will often need to confirm extra finishing material, drainage design (and SUDS) and hard and soft surrounding landscape design. The usual outputs for this stage are submitted in document format, sometimes with supporting detailed technical drawings.
At this stage we will guide you through and support you in making key decisions on the technical make up, performance and build-ability of your scheme. Using the latest Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Virtual Reality design techniques we work closely with your appointed Technical Design team of consultants, such as, Structural Engineers and Quantity Surveyors, to create a technically competent and easy to understand design, with the project budget and onsite deliverables in mind. Utilising the latest Cloud Share and multi-disciplinary BIM model collaboration techniques we can ensure the production of reliable and fully considered proposals which will mitigate onsite delays through clash detection and ensuring high quality consultant collaboration. The outputs will be 2D technical information, specifications and 3D BIM model assets.
As part of the technical design stage Acres Architects will manage the process of submitting the information necessary to Building Control. This may be a local authority, private building control or an approved inspector. We’ll manage any challenges on your behalf to ensure an appropriately compliant outcome is achieved. This ensures as a developer you have done everything that is legally required to meet the building regulations.
Deciding upon the most appropriate contractor for your development is recognised as a crucial tipping point of all construction projects. The preparation of the information that is required for the tendering process is of upmost importance. Our Production Team are dedicated and experiences in ensuring that the information provided results in positive competition pricing, whilst extensive review methods ensure the greatest chance of ‘like for like’ tendering. Our team will work with you, and the wider consultant team, to ensure all RFI’s are returned in a speedy manner during the tender process, and that the resulting tenders are as detailed and accurate as possible. We also have an extensive preferred suppliers list, featuring suppliers from across the country, including many of the UK’s Tier 1 ‘Funder recognised’ contractors. We have a wealth of experience in dealing with a wide variety of contractors across all known residential project types. We will work tirelessly to review tenders from all submitting parties, evaluate their quality and appropriateness, which will result in a recommendation for the best tender with all aspects considered. Upon your instruction we will then draft and prepare the Pre-Contract documents and start on site ready information to begin contract administration.
During construction we will work as Contract Administrator, administering the contract between yourself, as the employer, and your chosen contractor. We will inspect works as per responsibilities under the contract and issue Architects instructions, control valuations and monthly payments for completed works. In addition to monitoring work we will also be ensuring that yourself, as the employer, will be adhering to all contractual payment agreements on time and advise you when and where they are appropriate. We are well versed in the majority of JCT, ACA and RIBA Building Contracts and have a reputation for assisting contractors to bring in projects on time and without additional cost. We also have a reputation for delivering commercial scale projects, under budget, when operating under a Traditional Contract through our detailed knowledge of Contract Administration and the flexibility afforded to traditional procurement.
SNAGGING & DEFECT RESOLUTION
Once the project is nearing completion there may be minor items that require attention. As standard we would produce a detailed snagging list of items requiring attention. We would also create and organise a plan of action for these minor defects to be resolved. Contrary to common belief this is an ongoing process throughout the defect rectification period under the terms of the contract. Items will be categorised for immediate attention as necessary but minor items, also, will be grouped with others and completed by the contractor towards the end of this period. Once all defects are resolved, no further defects arise, and the 6 or 12 month defect rectification period ends, the contract will move onto the ‘Close Out’ phase.
HAND OVER & CLOSEOUT
At the point of final handover, when all defects have been addressed, the employers standard retention monies will be released to the contractor as per the contract agreement. Acres Architects will manage and control the final ‘Close Out’ section of the process. The Close Out’ symbolises the completion of the agreed works and therefore the “closing’ and completion of the contract. At which point the contractural responsibilities for all parties involved will cease. We will ensure all parties are in agreement as well as calculate final figures, gain signatures required and ensure the final part of the project runs smoothly. One of our final outputs will be the Health and Safety file which can be handed to you or you property management company (as applicable)