Working With SJA – Residential Projects

Building a family home, bach, or developing your property can be  a challenging yet rewarding undertaking.  There are plenty of great ideas, hoops to jump through and ‘moments’ to navigate along the way.  Architects are the ideal professional partner to provide you with the creative guidance and technical expertise to guide you through this journey to ensure a successful, valuable and enduring outcome.

Creative Professionals. Architects are uniquely skilled in the ability to conceptualise three dimensional solutions.  We will collaborate with you in developing your brief to reach a comfortable, well-functioning design solution complementary to both site and context.

Technical Professionals. Architects provide the analytical and technical competency to resolve and document a design for consenting and construction. This can involve project management and coordination of input from specialist consultants and contractors.

Sayes Jackson Architects (SJA) are an NZIA Practice and comprise of NZRAB Registered Architects (more on this). The following is a guide to working with our practice.

Under New Zealand legislation only professionals registered with the New Zealand Registered Architects Board (NZRAB) may call themselves an Architect, or Registered Architect, when providing building design services. To become registered, an Architect must demonstrate a high degree of competency across all phases of a building project. Registered Architects are Licensed Building Practitioners as part of the LBP Scheme under the Building Act 2004 (Design – Level 3 and Site – Level 3).

Most architects and architectural practices are members of the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA), who provide strong industry support and professional backing for its members, and facilitates outstanding practice in architecture.

> About Sayes Jackson Architects
> Project Portfolio
> Working with SJA – Multi-Unit Developments
> Working with SJA – Collaboration & Technical Expertise

We work through projects in stages. The stages tend to align key milestones along the way. Whilst not all stages require the use of an architect – engaging an architect for their full services allows the best ‘follow through’ and value from the working relationship.

> Project Establishment
> Concept Design
> Preliminary Design
> Developed Design
> Detail Design and Documentation
> Contractor Procurement
> Contract Administration
> Construction Observation
> Interior Design and Documentation
> Project Costs

Stage 1 – Project Establishment

Projects are generally initiated following a no-obligation meeting at the project site to discuss:
– Your aspirations and desired outcomes for your project.
– Initial discussion on project brief, budget and timeframe.
– Milestones/hurdles we anticipate.
- Specialist consultants which may be required.
– SJA’s approach to design with examples of previous projects.

Following this meeting SJA will prepare and propose a scope of work, timeframe and fees – tailored to your project. Once accepted, the commission can begin.

To begin we gather all project data required to enable subsequent stages of the commission to be undertaken. We obtain information regarding your site and its existing structures which will typically include a topographical survey and geotechnical survey.

We will consult with the local territorial authority and any covenant authorities to work through the planning and development constraints applicable to your site.

We will work with you to firm up your project brief and budget.


We can assist you to prepare a project brief. A brief is an outline of your desired outcomes – programatic, functional and aesthetic. A brief might include a schedule of the spaces you wish to be accommodated, aspects of the site you wish to take advantage of and desired materials and finishes. The brief is reviewed/revised as the project progresses through subsequent stages to realign priorities and cost.
> SJA Brief TemplateBudget

Along with your brief it is helpful to have a realistic budget which we can work to. Whilst architects are not building cost professionals we can aid budgetary considerations by presenting similar recent jobs and their relative construction costs. Once a Concept or Preliminary Design is established it is strongly recommended that an estimate of costs is established by a Quantity Surveyor.

Stage 2 – Concept Design

Kokopu Concept Plan

Once we have the project information needed we can begin on a Concept Design.

A concept gives form and basic functionality to a client brief and is generally within the topographic constraints of the site and the regulatory requirements of the territorial authority etc.

We will work through the opportunities offered by your site along with your brief to develop sketches, drawings and occasionally models to present ideas and concepts to you.  Developing a concept is in many ways a close collaboration between SJA and you (our client).  At the end of this stage we will have reached a working concept which we can begin to technically developed during subsequent stages.

It may be useful at this point to obtain a Rough Order of Costs from a Quantity Surveyor.

> Example Concept Design Package

Kokopu – Concept Plan & Model.

Concept Design Package

Stage 3 – Preliminary Design

At this stage the approved Concept is developed.  Appropriate relationships and sizes of spaces are resolved.  The outcome will include a preliminary set of scale floor plans and elevations of the working design.

If not carried out during Stage 2 – Concept Design, we will recommend that a Quantity Surveyor (QS) is engaged to provide a Preliminary Estimate of Costs based on the drawings and an outline specification of construction systems/materials.

At the end of this stage it is usually necessary that a Resource Consent (planning approval) is sought.  Depending on the complexity of the project we may require the engagement of specialist consultants including a Planning Consultant to assist with the application and its supporting documentation.

> Example of Resource Consent Documentation

One Ashridge Park – RC Elevations and Materials.

Resource Consent Package

Stage 4 – Developed Design

During this stage the project is developed for technical and detail resolve including compliance with the New Zealand Building Code.  In close communication with you we firm up the key decisions which affect the design including finer details/configuration of  spaces, the preferred construction systems, cladding and materiality.  This includes confirmation of the general layout of interiors however finer detail is reserved for Stage 8 – Interior Design and Documentation.

We assist you to engaged other specialists consultants that will be required to produce construction documentation.  This will include a Structural Engineer and occasionally others.  It may be useful for a Quantity Surveyor to re-assess cost at his point particularly if there have been changes.

At the conclusion of Developed Design the building is sufficiently defined to enable the production of construction documentation.

Stanley Point – Materials & Finishes.

Stanley Point Exterior Materials

Stage 5 – Detailed Design and Documentation

This stage generally involves the most working hours for an Architect.  It’s a concentrated phase during which the construction documentation is produced to a sufficient level of detail to allow for a Building Consent application, procurement of a building contractor and for construction on-site.

We project manage, consult and co-ordinate closely with specialist consultants and system/material suppliers during this stage.  We compile a thorough set of documentation in the form of drawings (plans, sections, elevations, details and schedules), specifications, calculations and other supporting information.  It is important to ensure documentation is thorough, complete and of a high standard to facilitate a smooth (“few surprises”) project costing and construction.

Once documentation is complete a Building Consent application is lodged.  During this process we liaise with the local building consent authority who review the documentation for building compliance.  On approval a final set of the consented documentation is compiled ready for procurement and construction.

> Example of Building Consent Documentation


Building Consent Package

Stage 6 – Procurement

There are a variety of methods for procuring a building contractor which will depend on the nature and size of your project as well as your preferences.

Traditionally we suggest putting your project out for tender to a selection of potential contractors for a “fixed lump sump contract”.  For this form of procurement we draw up the necessary contract documents and supporting tender information.  We manage the tender process to ensure fairness between tenderers and in order to gain a competitive price for the construction of your project.  Once the tender closes we review the submissions and report  back to you so that you can make an informed choice of contractor to build your new dwelling.

Other methods might involve negotiating a “cost reimbursement” form of contract or some combination with the above.

Stage 7 – Contract Administration

The building is built under a construction contract between you and your contractor/builder.  The most effective way for us to assist through this stage, is to include SJA as administrator to the contract.

As contract administrators architects act as an impartial professional advisor to facilitate contractural processes between you and the contractor including:
– Facilitating site meeting.
– Formal issuing of construction documentation, clarifications, directions and variations to the contract.
– Monitoring progress against the construction program.  Reviewing extensions of time requests.
– Review the contractors payment claims.

> SCC Draft
(if we can do this?)

Stage 8 – Construction Observation

This involves review of the work (at regular site meetings or when required) on site to ensure that construction generally adheres with the consented documentation.  This includes review of material samples, shop drawings and prototypes.  We consider this a critical aspect of an architect’s services to ensure a high quality build which reflects the design intent accurately.

Stage 9 – Interior Design and Documentation

During this stage we work closely with you to design the interior fitting of your home including cabinetry and finishes as well as selection fixtures and fittings.  This stage is generally quite personal and involves a lot of discussion between architect and client.

We produce the construction documentation of interior elements including finishes plans, lighting plans and detailed drawing of cabinetry elements.

We can also aid procurement of fixtures, fittings, appliances and some finishing products.  Architects are generally offered specifier or trade discounts on certain items which are savings we pass on to our clients.

> Example of Interior Design Package

Kokopu – Living Room Cabinetry.

Project Costs

Architect’s Fees

Sayes Jackson Architects will generally propose fees for each stage of a project calculated as a percentage of the project’s construction budget.  Where appropriate a fixed fee or time charge is applied.  The fees for each stage will ultimately reflect the hours to be performed, complexity of the work and consideration for the relative value of the service being provided.  We send out progress invoices monthly.

An indication break down of the total fee by stage:

S1 Project Establishment 2.5%
S2 Concept Design 10.0%
S3 Preliminary Design 10.0%
S4 Developed Design 7.5%
S5 Detailed Design & Documentation 30%
S6 Procurement 2.5%
S7 Contract Administration 10%
S8 Construction Observation 15%
S8 Interior Design & Documentation 12.5%

Consultant Fees

Seperate Consultant fees are seperate and additional to the Architect’s fees.  We assist you to engage seperate consultants to ensure that they are suitable for the job and that they are briefed appropriately.  Generally we will obtain fee proposals from multiple consultants to ensure competitive fees.

Application Fees

The authorities require deposits and charge processing fees for their services including Resource and Building Consent processing.  Other design approval authorities may charge administrative fees as well.