Our Services - How We Work
Each project can be different in various ways, so a flexible approach is needed to provide a service that is tailored to suit individual circumstances. While we would like you to get in touch with us at the earliest opportunity, as you are beginning to think about your project, we appreciate you may be at a more advanced stage. Generally the steps are as outlined below:
Step 1 - Enquiry and preliminary report
We need to know about you, the property and your project. Identifying your requirements and aspirations, timescale and initial budget. We begin to build up a picture of your project, carry out further research, a general evaluation, prepare an initial report to outline some solutions and design options, explain procedures, ball park figures for building costs and duration, preliminary feasibility advice, details of services you may need and a detailed fee quotation.
Step 2 - Initial designs and feasibility
To carry out a measured survey, prepare a set of survey drawings. To prepare feasibility sketch designs possibly with some further options. An option to explore the potential - going beyond your initial ideas to investigate if these might compromise future development. This stage is to see that we are starting in the right direction, to more fully assess the amount of further detailed investigation required and initiate that work. Early consultations with Planning and Building control may be needed.
Step 3 - Design development (getting permissions)
We develop the drawings and documentation necessary to a standard for a Local Authority application for planning permission and can submit it on your behalf. Pre- application consultations can be a very important pre-requisite to this stage. Other reports may be needed prior to making the application. To prepare drawings to a Building regulation approval standard. Separate from the planning application, it concerns technical matters and is usually started after planning permission has been granted.
Step 4 - Further design development
When permissions are obtained, decisions can be made and we progress through the project developing the design further. When the general layout, external envelope and construction are confirmed we can focus on aspects such as interior design features with detailed design for purpose built items:- Kitchens and bathrooms, stairs, built in furniture and fittings etc., lighting design, external works and landscaping. Some may be put to specialists linked with suppliers on a design and installation basis.
Step 5 - Builders tenders
For builders to quote properly, accurately and fairly, more information must be gathered in the form of detailed drawings and notes, schedules of work and specifications. This prepares a level playing field so that all builders quote on the same information. The various contractual issues are also addressed. We can invite tenders on your behalf, or leave it to you. We can suggest builders and help you with analysis, awarding the contract and preparing contract documents.
Step 6 - Building work
We can offer you a full Architectural service to monitor the work in progress, including contract administration. Alternatively, help and guide you on an ad hoc basis with problem solving when you need it. Full project management is not always cost effective or necessary, as a good contractor should be able to manage and follow a program. Agree interim valuations and final account. Pre and post completion inspections and certificates with release of retention money.
Step 7 - Completion and ongoing
Arrangements for operation and maintenance - keeping your property in good order. Helping to solve other building related problems.
Other considerations and comments
Party Wall Act notices. Water company build over notices. Health and Safety issues. Permitted development. Planning appeals.. Planning conditions, Listed buildings, Conservation areas. Sustainability issues.
Designing is an evolving and ongoing process; as initial ideas are developed then reviewed in the light of the further information available - decisions are made to commit to the next level and the design process continues. The processes involved in extending/ altering/ remodelling/ converting homes can present design challenges quite different from those in new building, so a set of special design skills are required from someone who has a wide range of experience in this area to carefully craft a solution. Up to the point of placing an order for the construction you are in control of the project and can change ideas or withdraw at short notice. While we would prefer you to instruct us to carry out the whole of the project from the outset, we need only progress one stage at a time. Of course you can't control whether or not planning permission is going to be granted, but we can do our best to assess the likelihood of success pre-application consultations and negotiations.