Our Process

A concept floor plan sketch for residential alterations drawn by Cranko Architects
Initial contact

Design is a collaborative process with you. The practice principal is involved in every job and especially at the briefing and concept plan stages. We work in small teams to provide continuity. 


The first stage involves taking your brief and collating the site information from various sources. From that, we develop concept plan options. These are refined into a preferred scheme with your feedback. We progress to detailed design stage when it suits you. This includes developing technical documentation in consultation with you and co-ordination with other consultants such as structural and geotechnical engineers. These detailed drawings and specifications are prepared to enable builders to price the project and obtain local authority building and resource consents. 

Establishing the most important things

The concept options phase establishes your priorities. These are then further refined in the detailed design phase, whether technically or design-based. We aim to respect existing building typologies, as well as provide contemporary functionality. 

How we work

After the first rough sketches, work is drawn electronically. We create a 3D digital model of the site and building, which can also be used for sun studies or a virtual walk-through. For specification work and contract administration we use software customised to the project. Our work with institutions, community groups and government bodies involves building sound working relationships and consulting effectively with groups, just as with the differing views of household members.

19 06 20  kitchen view 2.jpg

After first concept designs, we suggest an independent quantity surveyor estimates the construction cost. This often informs the route the project takes.


We charge for our work in stages. We agree a value of our fees with you at each stage, depending on the amount of work required. For the earlier stages it is often on a time charge, (generally within the NZIA guidelines) and then often lump sum fees for the next pieces of work (e.g. construction/contract/consent documentation). Overall, our fees are tailored to the scope of work that you require and recognises your input. Our database assists with tracking time and cost. 


We procure the construction contract by tender or negotiation. We use the NZIA suite of contract documents.


During construction we usually assist with managing the contract and answering questions that come from site conditions.

A site plan of a new house
Issues, challenges and changes

How we respond to changes depends upon the stage of the process. The design process draws out different priorities and we all decide on the best solution. All building projects present their own challenges and issues. Alterations to existing structures always provide unexpected items. We anticipate these at the site analysis stage and recommend construction contingencies to manage them. 

Checks and balances

We observe the requirements of the Architects Act, the Code of Practice and Professional Conduct. Deborah is a registered architect and a former Deputy Chair of the Registered Architects’ Board. www.nzrab.org.nz. We are an NZ Institute of Architects Practice with support from it in the form of NZIA Practice Notes, and the NZIA guidelines for architect’s charges. Cranko Architects networks with local Wellington practice groups to share and test ideas with our peers. We hold Professional Indemnity Insurance Cover under the New Zealand Architects Co-operative Society Scheme | www.nzacs.co.nz |