When we take potential clients through the time programme of the architectural process, we are often asked why it takes so long. As we noted in our recent article, The iron triangle, every project we undertake has “unique conditions that demand prototypical responses, the production of which cannot be achieved quickly. Making architecture is like investing all the research and development that goes into designing a new car, but then building it only once.”

This is the broad answer. More specifically, and to assist you in fleshing out your expectations of the architectural process, what follows is a description of the 6th of the seven key stages we undertake for each of our projects.[1] An archive of all seven stages can be accessed here.

6. Tendering


In this project stage, we procure 1 or more tenders to build your project. A tender is essentially a quote, though more detailed and tied to both our documentation and the eventual building contract. There are a number of ways we can go about tendering a project, a topic we have previously explored here, but each essentially boils down to this:

  1. We submit our documentation set to 1 or more builders.
  2. We give the builders 4 weeks to prepare their tenders.
  3. We meet with the builders on site and respond to queries via tender addenda.
  4. At the end of 4 weeks, we negotiate with the preferred builder until you, she and we are happy with the scope and budget.
  5. We prepare duplicate copies of the building contract and documentation set for you and the builder to sign.

The tender period is typically set at 4 weeks, though the time required for the negotiation that takes place afterwards is dependent on how close to your project budget the tenders are. Since we carefully curate the builders with whom we work, all should be capable of executing the project. The only decision that needs to be made is on price.

Stage duration = 6 – 8 weeks
Architect’s time = 40 – 60 hours
Specialist consultants = N/A

Documentation = Tender addenda as required
Quantity of drawings  = N/A

Scale = N/A

farmer house tendering


  1. Disclaimer: time allowances are estimates only and will vary depending on project size and complexity.

Image credits:

  1. Tendering. Author’s own image.
  2. Farmer House tendering. Author’s own image, see here for further details.

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