The construction process

Whether it is a new building, reconstruction, extension, renovation, maintenance, interior remodeling, or exterior design, the first task is to choose a competent designer.

The collaboration with the architect during the construction project can be divided into nine stages:

1. Preparation

As a first step in the preparation of the investment, the client and the architect discuss the builder's ideas and clarify the design task. It is worth to involve the architect already in the selection of the plot, thus the case can be avoided when the plot’s unsuitability for the implementation of the project may turn out after its purchase. The client and the architect determine the design program, i.e. they define the rooms required by the client, their size and relationship with each other. In addition, other requests, constraints, baseline conditions, available financial envelope and timetable are also clarified. The design program will be annexed to the written design contract, which will also be concluded between the client and the architect in this first phase.

2. Sketch design

During the preparation of the sketch plan, the architect develops the concept of the building based on the design program by taking into account the local building regulations, examines the different possibilities of implementation and draws the first schemes, i.e. sketchy, usually freehand drawings, in more than one variation. These plans show the location of the building on the building site, the access possibilities of the building, the existing development of the adjacent sites, the mass of the building, its height characteristics and functional system. Details do not play any role here yet, these plans are only dealing with the fundamental issues of design and building physics, building energy, ecology, economy, and feasibility.

3. Builder’s approval design

Once the builder selects the appropriate version from the ones presented in the sketch design, the preparation of the builder's approval design can begin (site plan and 1: 100 scale plan series). The architect involves other experts in the work as needed, such as structural engineer, civil engineer, interior designer, and landscape architect. In addition, he/she conducts the necessary official and specialist consultations, obtains preliminary settlement image and design board opinions. At this stage, by mutual agreement, there is still room for change. The plan fixes the spatial layout of the building, the materials used, the technical solutions, and once the plan has been approved by the client, further work will be carried out on this basis, without any changes.

4. Building permit plan

If a building permit is required to implement the plan, the architect (with the involvement of specialist engineers as required) will work out the additional design packages required for the official procedure and compile the building permit documentation. In addition, if required, he/she will continue the settlement image and planning board consultations in order to obtain official and competent authorities’ permits. As he/she is familiar with the law and has professional experience, the architect knows the permitting process and can avoid possible pitfalls.

5. Construction plan

To implement the plan, construction professionals need to know exactly what their job is. For this purpose, the architect (with the involvement of the necessary specialist engineers) will draw up the detailed construction plan documentation, which is absolutely necessary for putting the building into business as well. He/she draws the floor plans, sections, and façades in twice the size of the previous plans, in 1:50 scale, which already gives the opportunity to provide the main information needed for the construction. Details that are particularly critical to construction are shown on an even larger scale of 1:20, 1:10, 1: 5, or 1: 1. The plans are supplemented by written descriptions and calculations.
In the case of constructions subject to simple notification, a simple notification and construction plan documentation is prepared, the substantive and formal requirements of which can be found in the relevant regulations of MÉK and MMK.

6. Preparation of putting the building into business

Once the construction plan documentation has been completed, it is the builder's responsibility to select the appropriate contractor. It may be useful to find out more about potential professionals and companies in advance, but until the exact parameters of the building are unavailable, it is not worth asking for contractor bids. In preparation for putting the building into business, the architect completes the construction plan documentation as needed and prepares an unpriced bill of quantities.
The architect can also perform additional activities depending on the agreement with the client. For example, he/she can gather information about contractors for a call for tenders, compile a call for tenders, create a special budget that considers any community/ voluntary work, evaluate the bids received, etc. If the builder has no experience in construction investments, it is definitely recommended to entrust these activities to a professional.

7. Contribution to putting the building into business

The architect, together with the engineers of special fields, carries out the architectural and technical evaluation of the contractor's offers during the putting the building into business, so he/she makes comparisons not only in terms of costs but also in terms of quality, and as a result makes a proposal to the builder for the appropriate contractor. As an additional service, the architect can, for example, compile the business contract, make changes to the construction design documentation, etc.

8. Architect’s site supervision

During the construction, the architect performs the task of the architect’s site supervision (however, this must be specified in the design contract and the corresponding fee must be determined), i.e. he/she checks the implementation of the plans at specified intervals and answers the questions asked by the contractor. Also, he/she gives opinions on the as-built plans, surveys, drawings, documentation, and calculations prepared by the contractor. According to the latest change in legislation, architect’s site supervision is not obligatory for residential houses that are prepared exclusively for own housing based on a simple notification. However, it is strongly recommended, as this is the only way to ensure the complete implementation of the architectural and technical plans and the answer to questions related to the plans. As an additional service, the architect can, for example, take part in cooperation discussions, issue architect’s opinions for certificates of performance, take part in the technical handover procedure, etc. The architect’s site supervision is not a substitute for the performance of technical supervisory tasks, however, if the architect has such a right, he/she may also undertake this activity under a separate contract.

9. Contribution to handover and warranty period

The architect may participate in the handover procedure, and, during the put-in-use procedure, he/she can make declaration together with the specialist engineers whether there are any deviations from the design documentation. In the warranty period, the architect detects and professionally evaluates warranty defects during necessary on-site visits, before the expiration of the warranty period undertaken by the contractor. As an additional service, for example, the architect can make suggestions on how to correct the identified defects, and the he/she will continue to be a competent partner of the client in various maintenance, renovation, modernization or reconstruction works.

Építési beruházási folyamatok rendszere – III. Tervezői Szolgáltatások Rendszere, MMK-MÉK, 2018.
Útmutató a legfeljebb 300 m2 összes hasznos alapterületű új lakóépületek tervezéséhez, bejelentéséhez és megvalósításához..., MÉK, 2017.
Die neun Leistungsphasen nach HOAI, Architektenkammer Baden-Württemberg.