Not communicating with the design team
Even though this is a designer-intensive stage and you adopt a more passive role, maintaining communication is essential to avoid unexpected results that fail to meet the expectations of the people who will live in the house.
Failures in communication can lead to you requesting costly and time consuming changes in the future because of something you did not understand or the designers forgot to mention.
Involving product suppliers in the design
As details are being developed, you may choose to add special elements to the design to help achieve your objectives and performance standards. While enquiring with suppliers about solutions is important, there is a risk in allowing them to take a role in the design as a replacement for a qualified professional. Their proposals can be based on price instead of quality and defects in their designs may prevent the project from achieving the desired performance targets.
It is important to note that registered architects and professional members of ADNZ operate under a strict code of ethics that means they are not allowed to accept inducements (commission or kickbacks) from suppliers. This means you can trust that their recommendations are for the benefit of the design and not just to get a sale.
An example could be where a heating system is installed that has one temperature setting across the whole house. While this may be a cheaper solution than one that has the ability to heat rooms to different temperatures, the design may be aiming for different temperature ranges in different parts of the house, e.g. living versus sleeping areas, therefore such a system would not align with the overall objectives for the home.
Not considering resource and building consents
With regard to council interaction, there are a few risks you should be aware of:
- Undertaking detailed design without having previously gained the necessary resource consent. If resource consent is required it is recommended that an application be made after preliminary design is completed. Failing to do so early enough may generate large and time consuming changes in later stages if the council does not approve the proposed development
- If the council rejects an application for building consent, major modifications may have to be made to the project, resulting in delays. Choosing designers with sufficient experience in the consenting process and knowledge of the Building Code should prevent this from happening. It is also important to remember that a designer used for a new home must be registered as a Licensed Building Practitioner
- You shouldn’t forget that consents take time to process and must be paid for. After the council pre-application meeting, and with the designer’s advice, it is possible to estimate the timings and costs of council consents and work them into the overall schedule and budget.
It is important to have all the requirements in place, including building consent approval, before continuing to the next stage of the process. Changes in the design after tender documents have been handed out or after building work has started will be considered variations to the contract, and incur significant delays and extra expenses.