GA Architects can assist at any stage of your project planning and offer expert advice on any specific, individual or complete turnkey package to suit your needs. We understand the sensitivities inherent in designing new build and refurbishment facilities for special needs. Combined with our expertise in planning and building regulations and a strong management approach we can help you get more value out of your budget and a building that works for all its users.
Brief preparation, concept design and feasibility studies, inclusive design, project management and post occupancy evaluations are the essence of our practice.
The brief is crucial to achieving a high degree of cost certainty for your project and forms the basis of any credible feasibility study whether a refurbishment or re-build. This will involve meeting and listening to key staff to obtain a full understanding of the requirements of your project and a united vision to your aims and ambitions. The development of the brief may go through a number of revision stages before it is finally agreed.
The brief is not just a list of rooms and their sizes. Before a project can be developed with any cost certainty, a full technical brief must be prepared which will detail materials, mechanical and electrical requirements and building performance. Any inadequacies in the brief will be reflected in extra costs of omissions that may be added in as the work proceeds.
We can assist clients with writing briefs even if we are not the appointed architects for the project. It is essential that the brief is prepared by someone with specialist knowledge.
A Feasibility Study is an economical means of giving a client the opportunity to make an informed decision as to the viability of the project in question before any further costs are incurred. A Feasibility Study will usually contain advice on the following matters:
- A draft design or layout for the project
- An assessment of the support that can be expected from the local planning department in regard to planning permission
- A cost appraisal which will include: construction costs, professional costs and VAT
- A draft programme indicating the likely timeline for the design, planning permission, tender and construction phases of the project
- Advice on procurement and the most advantageous form of contract for the project
- Advice on any surveys that may be necessary; such as environmental impact studies, flood risk assessments, structural investigation reports etc
- Advice on the preparation of a digital survey if one does not exist. It is essential to have an accurate survey of the building (if existing) or of the land to be built on so that there are no errors in dimensions or levels.
- Advice on the appointment of other consultants needed for the project.
This will include the design of the building, applying for planning consent, developing the drawings and specifications for tender, advising on the selection of a building contractor, applying for Building Regulations approval and advice on insurances and contract. Ga Architects keep up to date with all new building regulations and work to the guidelines outlined in the Department for Education’s Building Bulletin 102 Designing for disabled children and children with special educational needs (replacing BB 77).
We always maintain that a good design should only be judged if it works for the purpose of its intended users. By removing the barriers that promotes exclusion we are able to create an environment accessible to all its users that also promotes a sense of ownership in their living/working space. Meeting access needs is an integral part of what we do every day in our plans and discussions with our clients and is a central function of our work as client design advisor.
Inclusion is far more than just catering for the needs of people with special needs or the disabled. At the heart of our approach is a consultative led process with all users of the built environment including its external space. This process is carried out at the initial design stage and allows a holistic assessment of who to design for. In the case of a build or refurbishment for people with autism this may be their carer’s, external support staff, cleaning staff, security and parents and visiting friends and family.
Key to the delivery of a successful project is decisive and competent project management and administration backed by a competent professional team of experts. This was a central factor to being appointed as Design Advisor to the London Borough of Hackney’s special education school provision of their BSF programme and has been demonstrated through a history of building projects directed since the 1970’s. These include significant commercial, public residential, and private developments. Current projects we are managing range in size and value from a few hundred thousand pounds to 11million.
After the building has been occupied for six months, to collate information concerning the building’s performance in respect of cleaning, maintenance, suitability of materials and general design.