Arbor Architects offer architectural services right from the earliest stages of your project, through to completion and post occupancy after care. Our services align with the RIBA project stages, which are outlined in more detail below and can be tailored to suit your project, site and budget. We work on projects of any size whether it’s a new build house, holistic site masterplan or a public building.

Our team will offer you an in-depth service; spending time up front to thoroughly understand your brief, the site context and your budget before developing creative solutions. We communicate our ideas clearly through sketches and models, enabling us to work closely with you to hone our designs and ensure they meet your requirements.

The team has significant experience in the field of low energy architecture and key skills in delivering buildings to the stringent Passivhaus standard. We also have a thorough understanding of healthy, low energy natural building materials and links with local suppliers, contractors and other consultants who are experienced in working with these products and materials.

The services we offer include:

  • Early site appraisals, feasibility studies, visioning images and assistance with funding bids.
  • Brief definition and development.
  • Client workshops, community engagement and consultation events.
  • Design development from feasibility, through planning, tender and detail design to site supervision and contract administration.
  • Integrated Passivhaus design and PHPP analysis.
  • Expertise and experience in designing low energy buildings with natural materials.

For most projects, we would usually group RIBA Stages together into three broad stages;

Stage 0-3 – Design and Planning

Stage Stage 4 – Detail Design and Tender Stage

Stage 5-7 – Construction and Handover

This allows us to offer a seamless service for each of the stages, it simplifies the fee calculations and allows clients to undertake each stage independently according to the risks involved and the available budget.

During this stage we will help clients loosely outline their project brief, including their design ambition and personal priorities. We will help them to define a project scope, a budget and an outline

At RIBA Stage 1 we will use the information gathered at the previous stage to define a project brief in more detail. Usually this will include gathering information about the site in the form of surveys and photographs, undertaking feasibility studies, carrying out an initial risk assessment and develop a sustainability strategy. We will also use our experience to advise regarding projects costs and a likely procurement route.

At this stage we will also identify the requirement for any other consultants and assemble a design team, with clear team roles and responsibilities.

We will also identify whether pre-app planning discussion with the local authority may be useful to help guide the design development and increase
support for a planning application at RIBA Stage 3.

This is the first of 3 main design stages and includes the first design visualisations in response to the brief. These early designs might include options that are discussed and adapted in meetings and workshops with the client.

This stage also includes a first outline structural and building services strategies, as well as an outline specification. This information can feed into an updated project cost plan.  At this stage, we will also consider relevant Research & Development opportunities that may feed into the design. This might include technological advancement, new materials or solutions that could improve the project.

Once a concept design has been agreed upon, a coordinated design is developed alongside a structural strategy, building services and a cost exercise. Designs are drawn up clearly in CAD and the detail of the scheme will start to be defined, referring back to the project brief and sustainability strategy to guide decisions.

At the end of this stage, we will prepare and submit a planning application. This will include any necessary information such as a Design and Access Statement or Heritage Statement as required.

This stage involves a refinement of the existing design, essentially preparing the necessary information in order to tender and construct the project. This will include detailed drawings, specifications and the preparation of a Building Control submission for Building Regulations Approval.

This stage may also involve working with specialist subcontractors, such as a window manufacturer or joinery firm, to develop the details and accurately price the project. The level of detail required at this stage will vary depending on the nature of the project, the procurement route and level of information provided directly from sub-contractors.

This is the stage where the appointed contractor will start constructing the project and the architect will be on hand to answer queries and inspect the work as it progresses.

Our role will vary at this stage, depending on the procurement route.
If the procurement route is traditional, we can act as contract administrators, which will include tasks such as tendering the project, preparing contract documents, issuing instructions and payment certificates and identifying defects.

Handover takes place at the conclusion of the building contract, once the contractor has rectified any defects and the building is deemed to have reached Practical Completion in accordance with the contract drawings and documentation.

A sum of money may be held in retention for between 6 and 12 months to cover any defects that occur during this period, which the contractor must rectify.

The in use stage covers an aftercare service to clients and post occupancy feedback for us, the architects. We can offer services to include monitoring the buildings energy performance and advising on how best to use or adapt building services to optimise performance in line with the sustainability strategy.