Many people may not be familiar with the architectural process or may find the commencement of a project daunting. We aim to keep the process as simplified as possible, keeping you updated throughout the entire process.
In a nutshell there are six stages from concept to completion, which are explained in more detail below.
Once you have contacted us with an initial overview of our project, we can then arrange to meet with you at the building/site. Not only is this stage for you to ask any questions or raise any concerns about the process, but primarily this is to discuss the brief or help you to formulate one that meets your requirements. This first visit will identify any potential planning issues and assess the site itself, taking into consideration the practicalities involved in the scheme, such as site access.
Some clients simply require assistance with the design and gaining of the relevant permissions, whilst others require assistance with tendering and contract administration and site supervision through to completion. We can discuss requirements at this consultation.
After this consultation, we will provide you with a written estimate, not only of our fees, but also of the other likely associated costs for the project, such as Local Authority Planning and Building Regulation, together with other relevant Consultant’s fees (such as biodiversity, landscape reports or structural engineers as required).
Some projects may not require Planning approval and/or Building Regulations approval and we are there to advise you accordingly.
Once you have formerly accepted our estimate, a site visit will take place to measure the areas or buildings relevant to the project. Detailed survey and drawings are then prepared which represent an accurate account of the existing situation. We will then produce initial sketches based upon the brief.
These drawings will form the basis of further meetings with the client to discuss and finalise the preferred scheme. Once the finer details of the proposed design are agreed upon, scheme drawings are prepared, ready to move onto the next stage.
Planning (see planning page for more details)
We will prepare the planning application, which will include all the required drawings and associated documentation as noted below. If the existing property is a Listed Building, further information for the Listed Building application will be produced.
Acting as your agent, we will submit the applications together with any other supporting information required, which can include, where relevant –
Once the application has been received and acknowledged by the Local Planning Authority (LPA), which will usually take around eight weeks to determine. The application process will be monitored by us and you as the client will be updated accordingly.
Occasionally the LPA may require an environmental report or aboriculturalist’s report where trees could be affected. We will advise you when a specialist may be required, and arrange their appointment if necessary. Fees for these will be identified as part of our initial fee estimate. These specialists would be employed directly by you as the client.
This is the detailed design stage of the project, which will commence when planning permission approval has been granted. You will see your design effectively ‘built’ on paper. At the end of this stage, all aspects of the design will be ready to gain a construction cost.
Building Regulations Application (see planning page for more details)
After any necessary Planning and Listed Building approvals have been obtained, the next stage is to prepare further details and drawings for Building Regulation purposes. This information will provide the “nuts and bolts” aspect of the project and will also form the basis to enable estimates to be obtained from builders.
Although the drawings provided for Building Regulations purposes will be detailed enough for builders to provide a quote and use for construction, you may wish to add further detail to ensure the builder knows your exact requirements. For instance, the type of internal doors, the bathroom suites etc. This will ensure you receive as accurate quotations as is possible and will help to eliminate misunderstandings during construction.
With the statutory approvals obtained and the technical design now complete the approved drawings can be issued to building contractors with an invitation to formally submit their tender prices. Whilst some clients may have a builder in mind, if required we can prepare a suitable list of contractors and tender documents to help in selecting a successful bid and to prepare building contracts. A traditional tender process would normally invite three construction companies to tender for the work.
Once the tendering stage is agreed with you, the tender costs are returned to us and we will advise you of our thoughts and help address any queries you may have to enable you to choose a builder. This is an important decision for you to make, to ensure the project proceeds within your cost parameters and to the quality required.
Once you have chosen your builder and have agreed a date for commencement, you will enter the Construction Stage. This is a really exciting milestone for any project! Clients with experience in construction may wish to supervise the works personally. However, for those who prefer to hand over the reins they can instruct us to supervise the smooth running of the project through to completion. The team will work closely with all contractors involved to ensure all works are carried out in accordance with the specification and to the quality required. You will be kept up to date during the various construction stages and when interim payments or critical final decisions are required.
Having embarked on this exciting process with us, you will find yourself at the completion stage. If we were engaged to supervise the project, we will ensure the builder attends a final onsite meeting to address any defects or snagging work prior to the final hand over and any payment. Whether a residential or commercial project, a refurbishment or restoration, you will now have a beautifully designed building that meets all the elements of your initial brief, if not more.