information below is of a general non-specific nature and is for informational purposes only and must not be
relied on in contractual situations.
The following is a working approximation of how the process of bringing an architecturally
designed building into being can be carried through. It is not the
only way but it is a good guide to the range of necessary steps that need to be undertaken to achieve the
Once the Design is Finalised and all
the necessary approvals are gained and the appropriate fees, charges, taxes, levies, summarial extortions and
outright thieveries are paid, the actual process of building the building can commence forthwith, note that it
is not allowed to before all these things are in place
Various Strategies are available for procuring the building; in increasing order of cost for a
Builder (on your own)
employing a Construction Manager
Sub-Contracting all works
Builder on a Cost Plus basis (sometimes this may be a
more expensive option than any other as it is open ended, usually used for difficult, unique
Contracting a Builder
Contracts…. Where a construction project is to exceed a few thousand dollars
in value (varying according to locality and job type) a contract must be signed by both the client and
the builder. The builder becomes the contractor, the client
becomes the principal. A builder may employ other
tradespeople and other companies to carry out elements of the works as sub-contractors. Most Contracts refer to a Certifier, an independent third party
licensed to assess and inspect the works to ensure they are carried out according to the approved plans and
relevant codes and ordinances.
Owner Builder. The tradition of owner builder
has produced a situation where a reasonable percentage
of people feel confident enough that they can run a building project. Building is a complex process dealing with large costs, technical issues and
difficult timing and programming issues, it is though responsive to good management
This option allows a confident, competent person to actually be involved in the day to day construction of the
building in whatever role they chose, saving money by labouring or using any particular skills they may have to
save on subcontractors rates.
The downsides are that all responsibility for the works falls on the owner, including insurance issues, safety
issues, supervision of the works to ensure proper quality and completion of subcontracts and the emerging
legislated Home Owners Warranty Insurance requirements. These can
make it very difficult to sell a property within six years of construction unless the works have been inspected
and certified during construction.
The upside is that the process gives excellent control of costs and quality of the end product to the owner and
usually results in substantial savings, over 30% in many cases, through not having to pay a builder’s rates and
margins, though it is often difficult to achieve the same deals as a larger builder as far as materials are
Owner Builder employing a Construction Manager.
In this instance the Owner still takes on the role of
builder but as principal only, employing a construction professional as their agent to actually run the project
on a day to day basis, appoint subcontractors and supervise the works to ensure all is done
The upsides and downsides are the same though extra costs are encountered paying the managers
fees. Against this though, the manager is responsible for areas
such as site safety and works supervision and a good manager can usually save a bit of costs by ensuring the
project runs smoothly and subcontracts are managed well and good deals on materials are
An Owner builder can also subcontract out all the various trades involved in a construction project and simply act in a project
manager role themselves, saving a manager’s fees but still not being involved in actual work or day to day
on-site activity. This option requires some skills in construction
supervision as it is possible to miss problems in construction when not on site
The upside with this option is full control over the costs of the building project, the downsides are the
responsibility issues, timing the works to run efficiently and supervision requirements.
Employing a Builder on a Cost Plus basis.
This is the option usually taken for complex
building works where it is unreasonable for a builder to give a fixed price due to an unusual design, site or
program requirements. It means the client obtains the building
for its cost, plus the builder’s usual margin. The works are the
responsibility of the builder and must achieve the standards set out in the drawings, specifications and
This can be an open ended situation where costs can spiral without control. Often an architect or supervisor is employed to ensure the builder is
reasonable with claims and meets program requirements.
By contract to a builder for a fixed quoted price with a fixed completion date. This
method is the most “hands off” approach available and the client is simply required to pay the costs and move
in. It is usually the most expensive option as the builder is
tightly constrained by the contract to deliver on time and on budget and hence has to “cover their ass” so to
speak, to ensure they will not lose out in the deal.
The builder is fully responsible for the works, the site and for achieving finishing dates and
budgets. The builder must carry all insurances and must warranty
the building on completion for a minimum of six years (residential only).
This process involves the selection of a builder usually by either calling for tenders or by direct appointment
of a builder by the client.
In this Scenario the architect usually acts in a contract (rather than construction) management role, ensuring
that the builder and client both meet their contractual obligations to each other. ie that the building is constructed in the specified manner to the tendered
costs by the appointed date. This usually entails a series of site
visits and consultations with the builder, client and various subcontractors to optimise the building program
and resolve conflicts and issue instructions.
Processes involved in The Building
In this process a special package of drawings, specifications and contract documentation is put together and
mailed out to a range of building contractors who are asked to submit a tender for the works. That is, they are required to put forward a fixed cost for the works, a
timetable for the construction process to commence and be completed by and show they have the required licences
insurances and expertise to complete the works according to the contract.
This process has a number of steps as
Collation of Documentation
Selection of Tenderers
Calling for Tenders
Recommendation for Selection of Tender
Acceptance of Tender
Selection of Contract
Assessment and checking of Insurances,
Completion of Contract Documentation
Signing of Contracts
Notes on Construction
Where the client often acts as an
owner builder and appoints an expert to manage the day to day running of the works and supervision of the
Programming of Works
Selection of Subcontractors
Appointment of Subcontracts
Supervision of Works
Certification of Progress Submissions
Finalisation of Works
In this case there is no on-site role
for the architect as the Construction Managers take on the much more detailed role of direct day to day
supervision of the construction works. The architect is consulted
only where changes to the design are requested or design discrepancies or unclear documentation are
All Building Procurement Processes
result in ….
Defects Liability Period
A three month period after the
practical completion of the works (after the principal moves in)
where any detected defects may be notified by the principal and must be remedied by the
All outstanding accounts are
finalised with the builder, and the contract finalised.
The Home Owners Warranty Scheme legally requires that the Builder Guarantees their work for a period of six
years from the date of Final Completion. An insurance Policy is
issued guaranteeing this.
As Constructed Drawings
Operation interviews assessment and evaluations