Design process stages of work

A typical landscape architecture project follows a set of ‘stages of work’ from inception to completion, as do other environmental design professions. The UK Landscape Institute’s stages of work are as follows (with further details below):
Inception
B Feasibility
C Outline proposals
D Scheme proposals
E Detail proposals
F/G Production information and bills of quantities
H Tender action
J Contract preparation
K Construction
L Completion

Preliminary Services from the landscape architect

A Inception involves regarding the client’s requirements such as use, timescale and finance, and development of a costed consultancy commission: this is always confirmed in writing at the time. During this period the landscape architect will typically visit the site, obtain from the client information about ownership and any legal restrictions about access and development. Advice regarding other necessary consultants will be given and advice given on any specialist contractors or suppliers (which may have long lead times to organize) advisable.

B Feasibility covers testing the client’s requirements, an investigation of alternative solutions to the design, advise of planning application, and what may be involved to submit this. This stage will also involve determination to the exact nature of how the standard services are delivered.

Standard services from the landscape architect

C Outline proposals include development of outline design proposals and meeting with other design consultant’s to develop the design, initial meeting with the planning authorities to determine their requirements in details and work with the CDM (Construction, Design and Management Planning Supervisor.

D Sketch Scheme proposals involve development of the designs prepared at the outline stage in sketch form and discussion with other consultants to test their feasibility with development of cost estimates and the development and building programme. At the stage the client should be able to agree the direction of the design and the types of materials. There will be continuing discussion with planning authorities leading to a submission of an outline planning application. There will also be discussion with public utility companies and with statutory authorities such as conservation bodies to ensure the design is acceptable.

E Detail proposals cover development of the designs in sufficient detail to gain the client’s approval, coordination of the design with other consultants, and also with suppliers and possible specialist contractors, including testing the costs by obtaining preliminary quotations, and submission of a detailed planning application.

F/G Production information and bills of quantities includes completion of “production drawings” which are final layout plans and construction details, with preparation of a specification (a written document describing the work item by item) and schedules (such as plant lists) and advising on preparation of a bill of quantities by the quantity surveyor. A bill of quantities is a list of the items in the works listed with measured quantities (meaning numbers or areas or linear measurements) of the work which can then be costed by tenderers.

H Tender action involves compiling a list of suitable tenderers (i.e. contractors who can make priced bids for the work), ensuring they can tender at the right time, and then inviting them to submit tenders based on the drawings, specifications and schedules and bills of quantity.

J Contract preparation happens as the tenders are submitted, based on a agreed form of contract, usually a standard form of contract, signing of the contract by both contractor and client and provision of production information (meaning final drawings and details) to the contractor.

K Construction can be quite a long period ranging from months to years and during this time the landscape architect will attend site meeting with the contractor and other consultants, monitor the work, advise on site queries, and check and certify contractor’s accounts noting any changes to the value of the works and advise the client accordingly.

L Completion involves checking that the works have been completed at specified and action leading to the final account of the contractor under the terms on the contract.

This set of stages is an ideal and many variations are possible.