ANSWERS TO A FEW OF OUR
COMMON ASKED QUESTIONS
Going straight to a builder means that you miss out on the most important design stage.
It sounds obvious but builders specialise in building things and architects specialize in designing functional and beautiful spaces.
By using an Architect you’ll end up with a home that is right for you and that you'll love living in.
You’ll also ensure that you get the maximum return on your investment with the finished project adding value to your property.
Absolutely not. An architect can actually save you money.
Amongst other things...
- They can manage your build to ensure that you get value for money.
- They will often find the extra light and space that you did not know you had.
- They can design for you with flair and imagination that will set your project apart.
And remember the initial consultation is complimentary.
Until we understand the full scope of your project it’s impossible to say!
For an initial investment of £2,500 we will prepare a pre-design service report for you that will include a detailed breakdown of fees and charges.
Purely as an indication, charges for our full service package are calculated as a percentage of the build cost and range between 13% and 15% depending on the scale and scope of the project.
For our Partial Service product charges are calculated on an initial design and planning fee plus a building regulations package, which will enable one of our preferred contractors to cost and build your project. We only work with a very limited number of trusted contractors who have a proven track record of delivering exceptional build projects on time and on budget.
In addition we provide architectural consultancy services charged on an hourly rate as and when required to ensure that your project runs smoothly.
It’s impossible for us to tell without having a clear understanding of exactly what you’re trying to achieve.
In a very small number of cases work can be carried out under the permitted development scheme however in the majority of our client cases a planning application is needed given the scope of work.
There are specific conservation areas where significant deviations from the traditional style are all but impossible. An architect with local experience will be able to work with local councils to increase the chances of having your plans approved.
We’ll detail in your pre-design service report if a planning application is required.
This varies depending upon the size and complexity of the project and the local authority. Most straightforward domestic planning applications are decided within 8-12 weeks.
Our in-house Planning Consultants have complete knowledge of the planning process and over the years have established strong relationships with local authority planning departments.
We’re extremely proud of maintaining a 99% planning approval success rate.
There are 3 main stages:
a) Concept. After we’re instructed we prepare a survey of the building or site and produce feasibility or sketch designs. We also have informal discussions with the local authority and check to ensure there are no public sewers, electricity cables or gas pipes that might affect your project.
b) Planning. We work up the drawings to a level required by the local authority for planning or listed building consent and submit to the Local Authority.
c) Building Regulations. The technical detail required and specification is added together with any other consultant information, and we submit to the local authority for Building Regulations approval.
Nothing is guaranteed although we pride ourselves on our 99% success rate for planning applications.
The English planning system is fairly prescriptive but the final decision is made by the individual planning officer or by committees, and their views can, as you would expect be highly subjective and open to broad interpretation of the ‘rules’.
Building regulations on the other hand is a much more straightforward matter as they are rigidly fixed and approval can always be obtained of the correct technical information is provided with the application.
Not to be confused with planning, Building Regulations are there to ensure that buildings are made to a minimum quality standard for such things as structure, fire escape, drainage, ventilation and insulation.
They can often seem unreasonable, but they’re there for good reason.
Building regulation matters are usually handled by Building Control Officers in the Building Control Department of your local authority but increasingly private licensed inspectors are an alternative.
Unlike planning, there is no committee and you should not have to endure a long wait for approvals.
The three most common surveys are:
a) A full measured survey to calculate the internal square floor area of your property in order for us to proceed with detailed and accurate plans.
b) A topographical survey or grounds to pick up any level changes and trees that may have influence on a basement excavation or extension from their roots. This may include trees in the grounds of adjacent properties.
c) A utilities survey to identify any underground water and sewage services that may impact the design of your new extension or basement excavation.
Fully design your interiors during the working drawings stage. The cost of a luxury finish is considerably more than the cost of a basic finish. Clients are often surprised by how much of a variance there is between a basic product and a luxury product.
Contrary to popular belief, the choice of finish is often the most influential issue to affect the cost of a building project. The cost of a shell of a building can be clearly defined by restrictions in planning, building regulations and the overall design.
Interior design is down to the individual client’s taste.
Try not to change your mind at the last minute as design changes are a sure fire way of losing control of your budget.