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What do Architects do?

Architects are professionals trained in the art and science of building design and construction. They develop layout and design concepts for structures and turn those concepts into images and plans, which eventually become functional buildings. To do this, Architects collaborate with experts in related fields, such as civil and structural engineers, mechanical and electrical engineers, quantity surveyors, specialist installers and manufacturers and of course, building contractors. This collaborative party is known as the project team, of which the architect is the team lead. Architects design and manage the completion of development projects on behalf of their clients. Architects may assist clients in obtaining construction bids, selecting contractors, and negotiating construction contracts. As construction proceeds, they may visit building sites to make sure that contractors follow the design, adhere to the schedule, use the specified materials, and meet work quality standards. We guide you through your entire development project, from the first sketch to the handover of the keys.

What certifications does Ndilila Associates Architects have?

Ndilila Associates Architects is a fully registered corporate member of Zambia Institute of Architects (ZIA). Both partners, our principal architect and several of our architects are registered architects with Zambia Institute of Architects (i.e.: having successfully completed the ZIA Practice Competence Exams) or the Engineering institute of Zambia (EIZ). All our technical staff are professionally trained graduates in the fields of Architecture, Engineering and/or Interior/Product Design.

What areas does Ndilila Associates Architects work in?

All registered architects are capable of, and permitted to, work with all building types. Ndilila Associates Architects works on, and has extensive experience in, all building types including residential (over 35 residential projects), industrial (e.g.: laundromat, laboratories, workshops, warehousing, etc.), commercial (40 commercial projects around the country), education (17 education projects around the country), healthcare (over 120 healthcare buildings around the country), cultural (3 churches), and transportation (4 transportation projects around the country). Other project types we have worked on include ATM installations, agricultural projects (hatchery, pasteurization rooms, meat factories). Ndilila Associates Architects works on all project sizes including new-builds, renovation and remodeling; and and within a variety of project scopes including design, preparation of construction drawings, coordination of the tender process, construction supervision and project management.

Does Ndilila Associates Architects have experience in eco-friendly buildings?

Yes. Ndilila Associates Architects has worked on several off-grid buildings, including mini-hospitals and residential projects around the country. Eco-friendly systems we work with include solar systems (solar electricity supply and solar geysers), piped gas supply (i.e.: gas fireplaces, gas geysers and gas cookers), rainwater harvesting systems and grey-water recycling systems. Aside from “active” environmentally friendly systems, we always ensure to include as many “passive” environmentally friendly design principles into each and every project we work on. Passive eco-friendly design is the more economical way to incorporate green solutions into buildings and works with building orientation, material selection, double glazing and light tunnels, green walls and green roofs and the smart use of landscaping to create passively controlled eco-friendly environments both internally and externally.

Who owns the architectural design and drawings once they have been completed and paid for?

Designs remain the intellectual property of the architect. The client pays for the single use of that design for the site it was designed for (and for the architect’s administration of the Client/Contractor contract). If, for example, a client wishes to replicate the design, this will incur additional “replication/duplication” fees to the architect. For this reason, the client is only provided with copies of work (PDF or hard copies) and not with editable files (i.e.: no software files will be shared with the Client or Contractor).

Is there a provision for 3D architectural images? If so, what are the costs involved?

We prepare sketch grade 3Ds in the concept development stage of design, in order to provide you with a visual idea of your project’s aesthetic and spatial relationships. The cost of the sketch 3Ds is covered under the fees. However, should you require photo-realistic 3Ds, this would be an additional service and would fall under “extra costs”. As such this would be subject to time charge and any applicable reimbursable expenses (e.g., printing).

Does the Client have their own choice of building contractor(s) or is this best left to the architect?

The project documentation prepared by the architects (e.g.: specifications and construction drawings) is used to obtain tenders for the construction project. The architect will recommend to the client the Contractors to be invited to tender. The client may also indicate his/her preferences for a specific contractor at this stage. Contractors bid for the job and selection is based on their portfolio, technical proposal and price. A construction contract is between the client and the contractor. It is only administered by the architect.

What is the ideal process for the selection and sourcing of building materials?

The architect typically specifies materials/fittings (in consultation with the client) and these specifications are included in the project documentation which will be used by the contractor (who is responsible for the procurement of these materials). If, for whatever reason, the material/fitting specified is not available, the contractor must notify the architect and seek the architect’s advice/recommendation prior to the purchase of an alternative material/fitting. The client is welcome to inform the architect of any specific materials/fittings desired during the design phase. However, we do not encourage clients to procure materials/fittings themselves as this may cause complications with the Contractor’s schedule and project timeline (e.g., if a fitting breaks during installation and a replacement needs to be procured or if the project is delayed because of delayed lead times for material procured by the client, the client may have to pay the contractor for time lost by that delay). Also, for most standard building materials, Contractors have access to better pricing deals based on the quantity of material they procure.

How early on in the project will the architect perform a site visit and what costs are attached to it?

Ideally, we would have a survey diagram and topographical survey diagram from the client prior to a site visit, so that we can take these with us to the site for the first visit. A survey diagram is part of every title deed in Zambia – so your title deed should already have a survey diagram attached to it. A topographical survey is not part of the survey diagram. You would need to engage a surveyor to conduct and compose a report of the topographical survey. Site visits incur mileage charges and a time charge and any associated printing charges (for example if we need to print a site plan to take with us to a site visit). If sites are out of town, these incur further accommodation costs (should overnighting be necessary).

What is your preferred means of communication and are there any costs attached to it?

Our preferred means of communication is email as it is the most efficient and, unlike phone conversations/messaging, email also provides all parties with proof of communication. However, if a client wishes to meet, that is not a problem. All meetings will be minuted and attendance recorded. Any contractual communication is always in the form of a letter. If a Client is not based in Zambia, any letters will be sent as attachments to an email. But any letters sent to other consultants/the contractor are hand delivered with stamped receipt. Communications are covered under reimbursable expenses. Overall, the architect/client relationship is a step-by-step process – we do not proceed to the next stage before obtaining a client’s written approval of the previous one.

Assuming we have engaged Ndilila Associates Architects, when would we know who will be assigned to our project?

All projects are managed by our Principal Architect, Chobela Ndilila. Additionally, the firm consists of 2 partners: Dr and Mrs Ndilila. One of the partners is always the authority on each project undertaken. While you may not interface with a partner at every stage of the process, you can be assured that each project is being supervised by one of the partners. Our partners’ credentials are available under the “Meet the Team” tab on our website. You are welcome to inform us if you have a preference.

In the unlikely event that at any stage we are unhappy with your services, what recourse do we have contractually?

Either party (Architect or Client) is free to terminate the contractual agreement between them at any stage. The Client is obliged to remunerate the architect for services rendered up to that stage.

I only need the help of an architect in one stage of my project, can I engage an architect for partial services?

Yes. The engagement of an architect by a client is dictated by the needs of the client. It is possible for a client to engage an architect only for design, building planning submission, construction documentation, tender evaluation, construction supervision, project feasibility, project management, or any of the other services offered. Fees will be calculated in accordance with the scope of work/stage the architect is engaged for.

How much will architectural services cost me?

Architectural services are billed in accordance with CAP 442 of the Laws of Zambia (Zambia Institute of Architects Act). Architectural fees are charged as a percentage of project cost and fall anywhere between 5% - 8.25% of the project cost. This percentage rate is dictated by Zambia Institute of Architects Act 1999, Second Schedule and depends upon the category (identified by building size and complexity) into which the building falls. Additional to fees, extra charges (i.e.: hourly charges for extraordinary services, and expenses charged for printing and duplication, communication, mileage for site visits, travel expenses and accommodation, if applicable) are charged in accordance with Zambia Institute of Architects (ZIA) Recommended Disbursement Rates Card of 2018. Architectural fees are billed in stages in accordance with project progress.

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