The Risks of Development

Architects and client around a table with plans

I have been involved in the Architecture development industry for over three decades and have worked with clients on residential, commercial and institutional projects from Briefing and Site Assessment through to Contract Administration in the construction of the project.

Development, whether on extensions to houses or on complex hotel developments, is complicated. There are a myriad of decisions to be made and a long path to follow. Fortunately, it’s my job to assist clients to make this path straight and narrow, rather than winding and frustrating.

So what are the key points or decisions that are critical to the process and that minimise risk to the Owners?


Understanding the Owner’s objectives and needs is critical to all future design decisions. These strong and well-considered decisions form the basis for a strong and excellent design.

Our tip: Don’t approach your Architect with “all the answers”. Inevitably and understandably, as you don’t work in this industry, there may be key things that you have missed. It’s our job, as the Architect, to ask questions, interrogate your assumptions and stretch your thinking. More often than not, this process uncovers new discussions and ideas that did not exist before.

Site Assessment

Alchemy Consulting offers a service to assess all Council or Government planning requirements, together with climatic or geographical elements. These will be the opportunities or constraints that will influence your development. We will ensure that the project is permitted and what special circumstances there are, to avoid any nasty surprises later.

The Site Assessment is best done in isolation (initially) from the Briefing process and the reason for this is to allow both aspects to be strong and uncompromised.

Concept Design

As with the Briefing stage, our tip for the concept design process is to trust in your Architect and let them use their experience and training to ‘brainstorm’ concepts for your project. We will provide our best value to you when we think ‘outside the box’ and consider all factors affecting the development.

If you come ‘armed’ with sketches and just want the plans to be “drawn up”, we will not provide you with the best value for money in this scenario and professionally refer you to another consultant. This part of the project has immense flexibility, so enjoy the options we will present!


Cost Planning

It goes without saying that cost planning is critical, especially early in the Concept Design stage.

Without significant financial investment, the Architect will work with other construction experts to make sure that your budget is complied with and the project is on the right financial track. If this milestone is not achieved, there is a real risk of Owners spending a significant amount of money on construction documents, only to have them redone if the project budget is exceeded.


Managing the process, and working with trust

Architects are generally organised people (Alchemy Consulting are!) and we can work with you throughout the entire process of your project. Development projects can take years to complete, and in order to ensure the project is successful in all aspects, you need to have a strong and positive relationship with your Architect built on trust.

Allow your Architect to manage the process including managing the other consultants that are required as well as the application process. In terms of managing your project team, we can guarantee that having one point of contact and one point of responsibility will ensure that everyone is heading in the same direction and all roles are clearly defined and understood.

If you’d like to know more on this subject, read about what our Architect services cover or get in touch with us. With integrity, collaboration and professionalism, we deliver the best solution for your development.

Coming soon: The Risks of Development Pt 2: Considering External Risks

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