The Design Process
Project Design and Construction Procedure
Both partners are closely involved in the design of all projects. Our buildings can be complex and sophisticated in function but are usually built from a simple range of maintenance free materials, which can withstand the harshness of the climate.
Design in Kenya must respond to climatic, cultural and economic influences with the result that no two projects are similar. Materials are used which can withstand the harshness of the climate. We have experience in most sectors of the economy and we have designed projects for tourism, commerce, industry, health care and education.
We are extremely design oriented and try to ensure that each project however small, is designed, detailed and built to the highest possible standards. We notice that in a slow economy, the better designed buildings will sell or let more readily than other less well designed buildings in the same sector. We like our buildings to be accessible, enjoyable, economic and capable of adaptation and extension. Our work has a sense of fun and our clients appreciate the commercial success that can result from a well thought out and well-designed building.
Our clients are from all cultural, ethnic and economic groups and we do low cost houses as willingly as five star lodges. Many of our buildings have allowed our clients to develop and expand their business.
We aim to create buildings of exceptional quality, design and detail within agreed cost and time limits. Our clients are expected to contribute to the design process by joining the design team in developing the project brief and in outlining the economic criteria for each job. Consultants and contractors are carefully chosen for their specific ability to contribute to the success of each project.
We design buildings in many different climatic regions, and avoid architectural stereotypes. Each job is different and each building design emerges from its own specific brief. During the detailed design stage of each job, we work with suppliers and manufacturers in identifying the most cost effective, durable and elegant details of building construction.
The economics of building in a developing country create an extremely tight market because of rapidly fluctuating building and finance costs. Prices per unit area can vary greatly from region to region and the choice of building materials, structural systems and finishes can greatly influence the final budget. We instruct our consultants and quantity surveyors to maintain a strict eye on the project budget during pre-contract design stages.
We pay particular attention to the economies of construction at both design and contract drawing stages. During construction, variations and fluctuations are carefully monitored and client approval is sought before contract sums are increased. Financial appraisals, including reviews of originally projected income figures are carried out at regular intervals during construction and finances are adjusted accordingly.
We find that we are now being asked by clients to assist with more and more of their investment planning in real estate. The present economic climate demands extremely economic buildings. Buildings have to be economical to build and economical to rent and we are developing real expertise in this area.
Before we start a commercial project, we study the market in great detail and set up strict financial guidelines for the project. We think that profit margins in the past have been too high and that contractors are now becoming more realistic with building tenders.
We have found that the better-designed buildings sell and let more quickly in a tight market. We have built some projects on tight budgets that have been excellent investments, and our clients are now appreciating that a successful real estate investment does not have to be expensive. Good design frequently costs less to build.
Some of our buildings are nearly 20 years old and we are beginning to see the benefits to our clients in getting it right first time!
The extent to which our office is computerized allows us to process technical information extremely quickly which in turn allows us to offer extremely short pre-contract design time and sophisticated post-contract financial monitoring and project management.
OFFICE PROCEDURES AND QUALITY ASSURANCE
Our method of appointment and of operation follows closely the Code of Practice of the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Architectural Association of Kenya. Each job is undertaken from inception to completion by one of the Partners, assisted by a qualified Architect.
All information between members of the Design and Building Teams is carefully recorded in strict accordance with the legal responsibilities of the parties involved. We receive and review regular practice notes and guidelines from the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
We follow closely the Procedures of Appointment, Job Administration and Contract Management set out in the Royal Institute of British Architects Plan of Work. Our technical information is coded in accordance with the CISfb system of information coding, a recognized international standard.
At each stage of a project, a detailed schedule of drawings, and specifications for that stage is developed and all technical information produced accordingly.
Post-Contract Administration is carried out in accordance with the Architects responsibilities as set out in the East Africa Institute of Architects standard form of Contract. We work carefully with the client and the consultants in choosing suitable structural and services systems for the project, and we make sure that we fully explore the market place so that we can assure our clients that we have obtained the best value for money on each item.
A great deal of our work at the early stages is to co-ordinate the mechanical and electrical design and making sure that client, engineer and architect have understood and solved all industrial process problems. This involves us in an extremely close at hands relationship with the client at the design stage. We document this process with great care so that all decisions are on record and nothing is forgotten. During construction, we place key supervisory personnel on site, usually the architect and technicians who produced the actual drawings.
Our project correspondence and documentation is aimed at giving our clients a water tight service which records and documents every single contract matter in clear legal contract terminology. We have taken great care to understand building contracts carefully in every detail and we make sure that all contractual correspondence is kept up to date on a daily basis. Our drawing office is fully computerised and all information drawn or written can be exchanged with our consultants by e-mail. This ensures the shortest possible time in issuing and receiving information. It also allows us to deal with changes to design and construction in an extremely efficient manner.
We are particularly diligent to see that all financial matters relating to contract and construction are set up strictly in accordance with contract conditions and that all financial correspondence is aimed at keeping a strict control on payments made by our clients to contractors and consultants.
We have worked on large industrial projects with some of the top project management personnel in the world, and we believe that we have acquired project management skills that are capable of dealing with the most complex projects.