BLUCUBE STUDIO ARCHITECTURE + INTERIORS FAQ


1. Can we come and see your portfolio?

We have endeavored to make our website as informative as possible with varied projects featured and downloadable documents for your information. If there are any further questions you need answered, you are most welcome to send us an e-mail at:  info@blucubestudio.co.za or set up an appointment to meet with us and view our portfolio.

2. What are building costs these days?
This question falls in the same category as “How long is a piece of string?” We have found that cost outcomes differ and no two projects ever end up with the same cost per square meter rate. As most projects consists of many variables from site conditions to building finishes and fittings, it is impossible to give a definitive rate.

With the perpetual annual price escalations as well as regional material availability, you can get a basic understanding of what to expect by talking to some reputable builders who have recently built houses in your area with the same finishes and style that you would like to use.

3. Do you charge percentage or square meter rate?
It depends entirely on the type of project. In the case of alterations and additions, a square meter rate for example, is a lot more cost effective, but on larger projects, it often makes more sense to use the standard rates as laid out by the South African Council for the Architectural Profession. These standard rates may be downloaded here, but largely we tailor our fees and services to suit our client’s budget.
 

4. Do you do additions and alterations?
Yes we do depending on the scope of works. We can also do corporate refurbishments as shown with the Hellmann Worldwide Logistics refurbishment under the ‘PROJECTS’ tab of our web page.
 

5. Do you give discounts?
Because of the quality of our work, our reputation for quality, and the time and effort we put into each project, we do not discount our fees. However, we do give an early settlement discount on invoices generated.

Our services are divided into work stages and clients can therefore choose the service they require.

6. What happens if I want to cancel the project? (if my circumstances change for example)
You will only be liable to pay for work completed up to and including the date of our receipt of a written instruction to terminate the contract / project.
 

7. How long does it take to complete the design and documentation process?
On average, the process from appointment to completion of technical documentation takes about 3½ months(excluding the builders break). Obviously this time frame depends on the prompt feedback from the client and other parties involved and that all legalities have been finalised, such as transfers, rezoning etc. Most councils differ in their service delivery and this time frame ranges from 3 weeks to three months and sometimes longer. While the drawings are doing their rounds at council, this period is used to get quotes from various builders and align your construction team.

8. How long does the actual building process take?

On average, a house takes about 9 months, but some have taken as much as 18 months to complete (Excluding the statuary builders break). Again, this all depends on the level of complexity of the build.
 

9. Do you work outside Cape Town?
Yes. If we can get there by plane, car or 4x4, we are up for the challenge!
With technology like the internet and our 3D computer software, anything is possible these days. Additional to our drawings, we can also provide a 3D model and images of the project, ensuring that all relevant parties understand and know exactly what the finished product will look like.

10. Do you have capacity?
This question can only be answered at the time of us receiving your call. We charge what we call a ‘mobilising fee’ which is a non refundable amount to ensure that the clients that do approach us, are serious about continuing with our services. As a result, we maintain a clear indication of our capacity.
 

11. Is the ‘mobilising fee’ over and above the said fees?
No, the ‘mobilising fee’ is carried forward to the last account and then reconciled on our final account.
 

12. Can you meet with us on weekends?
Although we try and stick to a decorum of ‘family on weekends and clients on weekdays’, we also understand that due to many of our client’s busy schedules, this is sometimes the only time available to have a decent meeting without any interruptions and therefore we do try and meet our client’s needs as far as possible.

13. What can we expect as first time home builders?
We know and understand your fears and excitement as first time home builders (like most of our clients) and therefore we will explain all the stages of the design and documentation process to you, so that you will know exactly what to expect and when to expect it. We will also show you examples of previous projects to allow you to better understand our service to you.
 

14. Can we visit some of the projects your firm has designed?
We believe this to be an invasion of our client’s privacy and therefore we cannot view any projects that have been completed and occupied.

15. Are you registered?
Yes, we are registered with both the South African Council for the Architectural Profession, as well as the South African Institute of Architectural Technologists.

16. We have approached a few architects, would you be interested in doing a concept so that we can select an architect?
Unfortunately, we decline all risk work and unprofessional competitions as we like to rather spend that time on our confirmed clients. We have an extensive portfolio of our work and you are welcome to come in for a consultation to help you with your choice.

17. If we appoint you, would you still be involved in my house or would you pass it on to somebody else in the office?
I am involved in all the aspects of the project from the conceptual design, to handing you your approved drawings (in the case of a partial or ‘drawing service’) or your new house keys (in the case of a full service) at the completion of the project. Further to this, I am merely a phone call away should there be any queries.

18. If we require your professional services for design and working drawings only without the final Contract Administration stage would you still be involved in the building process?
A lot of clients require a partial or ‘drawing service’ only. We can accommodate a full service as well if required, but we prefer it if the project is run by a project manager or quantity surveyor. We are precious about our designs and will assist with any design issues at an hourly rate. Most clients call us out for an average of 5-6 site visits to resolve any issues regarding the design, but we can structure it according to your specific requirements.

19. Can we take part in the design process?
Yes, the design stage is a very iterative process in which we take into consideration our client’s specific needs and requirements. This stage is done on ‘bumf’ paper in freehand and gives the client the opportunity to make changes at the early conceptual stages of the design process. Only once the conceptual parameters have been established and design issues resolved, do we move onto capturing the design in a digital format.

 

20. Do you get involved in the interior design?
Yes, this is a service which we offer our clients if required. The principal member of BluCube Studio has experience in this category as a previous senior design staff member of a prominent and well respected interior design firm where extensive projects were completed. We also have access to furniture suppliers and interior decorators who are very well known in the industry.

21. Do you recommend Landscape architects?

Again, this is entirely up to you as the client and what your budget allows. On certain projects it is recommended as it completes the picture and in most cases compliments the building. This applies to both corporate as well as residential projects but it can become costly. We do not do landscape design, but we would like to give our input in the design, as it forms a part of the project as a whole. We can also recommend prospective landscape architects if required.

22. We do not like our house to be published or featured on TV?
We respect our client's wishes for privacy. If we do intend on using your project to feature in any publication, we will ensure that we do so with your knowledge and approval and without revealing any personal details.

23. Do you have your own builders?
No, we don’t. We do however keep a list of reputable contractors with whom we have worked on previous projects, which we make available to our paid up clients.

 

24. Do you do project management?
No, project managers are on site much more frequently and they are physically involved with every aspect of the construction process. It is a common mistake to confuse project management with contract administration.

25. What is the difference between a contractor and a project manager?
A project manager is a professional person who is very competent and diligent and understands every aspect of the construction process who you, as owner builder, employ to manage the building process and all aspects relating to the building process for you. Your legal position is as owner builder. The project manager is not bound to a tendered final project cost. He is paid a percentage or a monthly salary.

A contractor on the other hand gives a tender and once accepted, is legally bound to the JBCC contract which protects both parties, ie. you as the client and him as the contractor. For more info on the JBCC click here.
 

The final cost, however, is usually more than in the case of a project manager. In the end both have their advantages and disadvantages and usually it comes down to gut feel and who you feel you can work with best and the level of risk exposure you choose.

26. We want to finance our architectural design and include your fees in our bond.
Banks do not finance professional services as they don't see this service as a tradable asset.

 

27. What is the NHRBC and do I need it?
For a new house your builder needs to register the project with the NHBRC. Clients often forget to budget for this fee. It is calculated on the project value and the cost of the land. The NHBRC is compulsory and the fund is used to pay out claims against poor building quality and defects. Banks and Bond Holders will not release funds unless a new project is registered with the NHBRC. For more information on the NHBRC click here.

28. What other professionals are involved in the project that I have to budget for?
Land Surveyors, Structural Engineers, Landscape Architects and Quantity Surveyors if needed.

29. What software do you use?
We use a software package called Revit from Autodesk. Revit is widely regarded as the world's leading architectural software package. This software allows us to design your entire project in 3D, which greatly assists us in conveying our design to you and for you to understand the design intent as well as being able to see exactly what your building will look like.
 

30. When can we make an appointment?
On the ‘Contact Information’ tab of our website, you will find all our contact details. Click here and make an appointment! We look forward to meeting you!

BLUCUBE STUDIO ARCHITECTURE + INTERIORS CC

 

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making dreams a reality
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