Using the survey information, we prepare the initial sketches and develop the design with you. Outline cost estimates can also be prepared. The design is developed into drawings containing more detail and when you are happy with the design, the drawings form the basis of the planning application. Depending on the size, location and nature of the project, various specialists’ reports may also be requested by the local authority in support of the application.
Once appointed as your architect, the first stage is for us to meet and discuss your scheme, your wishes and practical requirements, as well as your budget and your time constraints. Topics needing early consideration include town planning, adjoining owners, covenants and the building regulations. The initial meeting also enables the architect to agree the design brief with you, setting out all aspects of the project that you consider essential. A measured survey will be required before drawings can be prepared, but usually we can provide some early concept sketches after the first design meeting.
1. CONCEPT AND DESIGN
2. PLANNING PERMISSION
3. BUILDING REGULATIONS APPROVAL
4. PARTY WALLS
Detailed drawings must be prepared to show how your project complies with the Building Regulations. These are a requirement for all but the smallest projects and must be approved by the local authority or other suitably accredited organisation. In many cases, an engineer will be needed for the structural design and to prepare calculations proving the design is structurally sound. We can recommend several engineers who we have worked with on past projects, if you require.
You may choose to deal directly with one or more builders to obtain estimates using the building regulation drawings; these are usually sufficient where the work is minor. For more accurate prices and for larger projects, we can prepare a tender package that is sent to several builders. Each will be asked to prepare independent and detailed costs for the work. The tender package will include detailed drawings, a specification and a schedule of works. When the tenders have been returned to us, we will compare them and provide you with an analysis of the results.
5. CONSTRUCTION COSTS
If your project is close to a neighbours boundary or another building, it may be necessary to agree a Party Wall Award before commencing. This may be a simple exchange of letters and some condition photos. In more complex situations, the services of a party wall surveyor may be required. One surveyor can act for you and your neighbour. However, in more difficult circumstances, each neighbour will appoint their own surveyor. More information can be found here.
6. CONTRACT MANAGEMENT
Architects are qualified to advise you on the choice of contract to appoint the builder and will certify payments according to the value of work completed. The architect can also make visits to the site to ensure progress is in accordance with the contract programme agreed with the builder. The architect will also inspect the work and the materials used, as well as deal with questions arising during construction.
When the work is ending, the architect will determine when the job is finished to an acceptable standard. This defines the period during which the builder will remain responsible for remedying any defects that may arise. With all the work completed and with all financial accounts settled, the architect will issue a final certificate to terminate the contract with the builder.