Project Establishment

We can make a valuable contribution to your project before any design work begins by helping prepare a comprehensive architectural brief, advising on project feasibility – including analysis of the site.


The success of the project greatly benefits from a good quality brief. A brief is a description of the desired outcomes and it can include such things as the requirements and functions of the building, the activities and spaces to be accommodated, desired materials and finishes and your budgetary constraints.

It is essential that the proposed building be considered in qualitative terms too. We are trained to translate your hopes and aspirations into built form, but these are often more difficult to convey than the more prosaic requirements such as number of bedrooms required. We want to hear about your likes and dislikes in all aspects of design, architecture, art, fashion and way of life, and this can be prompted by images from books, magazines and the internet.

We work hard to make our designs particular to their site and specific to their owners. Clients sometimes perceive a dilemma that displaying their own preferences and ideas will in some way restrict the creativity of their designer. This fear is unwarranted for a number or reasons: there is usually broad scope for creativity and originality around any requirements; robust discussion of issues between architect and clients will lead to richer designs; the more input we have from clients the greater the chance that we can find individual personal aspects that can tie the design to its owners.

Please request our residential briefing pro forma as a prompt.


As part of the brief process we can advise you on the feasibility of the project in terms of budget planning, site analysis, programme requirements and any other professional services that may be required.

We can guide you on selection of a suitable site based on your needs. Appropriate site selection may reduce the cost and increase the potential of the project. We advise on soil conditions, availability of services, local building regulations, heritage implications, resource consent issues, site orientation and views.

We can give general budgetary advice on costs through the building project, such as site development costs, construction costs, furniture and fitout, landscaping and consultants fees.

We will discuss the programme for the project. This will take into account the nature of the project, the current state of the building market, site availability, your time requirements and our office workload.

Agreement for Architectural Services

As registered architects our work is governed by the Registered Architects Act 2005 and the code of ethics contained within its accompanying Rules. Those rules require that we have appropriate written terms of appointment with our clients. We will provide you with a standard written form of agreement and request that you sign it to indicate your agreement and instruction to proceed. Our agreement is required to contain at least: (a) the scope of the work; and (b) the allocation of responsibilities; and (c) any limitation of responsibilities; and (d) fees, or any methods for calculating fees; and (e) how billing will occur.

Site Analysis

This exercise involves deciphering opportunities and constraints within the site.

An analysis of local authority planning requirements and land information, Resource Consent requirements, orientation, views, levels, heritage implications, existing trees, legal requirements, relationship with neighbouring sites and available utilities and service routes all help provide some certainty for decisions on the design direction of the project.

A survey of levels and boundaries is required in all but the most simple of site situations. We facilitate the engagement of a land surveyor to provide this information by briefing them on what is required. We will survey any existing buildings to be retained on the site by measuring, drawing and taking photos.

We can assist in the decision on whether to engage a geotech engineer to gather soils condition information and, if so, at which stage.