Designing and building your dream living space is indeed a complicated and multifaceted process. However any project it is very structured and can be broken down into simple steps. Please follow the menu above to see what each one involves and also the servces we offer during each phase.
first steps with us: initial appraisal
step 1. informal chat
It is probably the simplest of them all: give us a call on 01732 240507 or fill in a quick questionnaire regarding the project you have in mind and we will get back to you straight away:
During this informal free of charge chat we will give your our initial thoughts and advise for possible further actions based on:
- the aspirations you have
- what kind of help you need to achieve your aspirations
- background info on your property
- your budget
step 2. initial consultation at your property
During the Initial Appraisal stage we can spend time understanding your needs and helping to shape your objectives including the following:
- What you want to achieve (ie a refurbishment, a new extension to a house, a conversion of a property or a new dwelling etc.)
- What you want us to do for you.
- Establishing the budget of the project and Initial considerations for assembling the Project Team
- Discussing architect's fee and understanding how it will be worked out. The structure of our fees' calculations is here: our fees
- What information we need from you before we can start work
- Establishing Preliminary Project Programme
- Agreeing on who will be undertaking the works from our side, preferred methods of communication and its frequency
- Establishing Quality Objectives, Project Outcomes and Sustainability Aspirations affecting the issue of EPC.
- Other parameters or constraints
Before you our first meeting, it’s worth spending some time writing down what you want to achieve. For example, you might want an architect’s advice, you might only want us to apply for planning permission, you might want us to obtain quotes for the building work or you might want us to manage every part of the design process for you from start to finish. For your guidance, please follow this link for the example questions you might want to ask us and also to understand what we might be discussing with you during our Initial Meeting.
To make it easier for you we have created a simple on-line pre-consultation questionnaire that covers the main topics of the duscussion during the Initial Converation. You can print out the questionnaire and have these notes with you so that you can look over them during the meeting. It is important to give us as much information as possible so that we have a clear understanding of what it is you want.
Please follow the link below if you would like to fill in the pre-consultation questionnaire and book an Initial Consultation:
After the meeting and before we are are instructed to undertake any work we will issue the written confirmation of what it is we will do and how much it will cost in the forms of the Full Project Proposal and our Fee Proposal.
step 3. Initial Project Brief & Feasibility Study
Once commissioned we would need to conduct a full digital 3D survey of your property/land and undertake a very exciting Initial Design Meeting. We will talk about the core project requirements in more detail. It will enable us to prepare and issue the Feasibility Study and the Initial Project Brief before we can move on to the preparation of the concept design drawings for the planning application.
step 4. final project brief and concept design
Based on all the discussions of the initial appraisal phase, during this stage will concentrate on :
- a concept design, a very exciting part of the project that will enable us to submit the planning application
- pre-application planning application and meetings with the assigned planning officer
At the end of this stage you will be issued with the following information:
- Concept architectural design that includes proposals for structural design and building services systems
- associated Project Strategies
- Outline specifications
- Initial Cost Information (from Quantity Surveyor)
step 5. planning application
Planning involves making decisions about the future of our cities, towns and countryside, ensuring the surrounding environment isn't negatively affected for everyone. It includes considering the sustainable needs of present and future communities.
Before any building work commences you have to obtain one of the following:
We do so by converting the final 3D model into 2D plans to submitting them to the Council Planning Department.
At the same time we can start looking into the kitchen and interior design aspects.
step 6. other permissions (if required)
As well as obtaining planning permission (or being covered by permitted development rights) you may need additional permissions for development to proceed.
The list is not exhaustive but covers those consents most commonly associated with planning and development. We can help you to determine which ones are needed and apply for the required permissions:
Highway stopping-up or diversion (covering both s247 and s248)
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996
Coal Authority permits
Covenants and Private rights
European protected species
Footpaths, bridleways or restricted byways - stopping up or diverting
Find out more here: additional consents.
technical design and tender
step 7. building regulations
At this stage the following formal applications will have to be submitted:
/ Building Regulations
/ the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) if required
/ we may have other duties as well under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015)
step 8. production information
Normally after obtaining the Planning Permission we are ready to move on to the development of the technical design and preparation of the final production information ready for builders to quote and a following construction.
At the end of this project phase you will be issued with the following:
/ all final architectural, structural and building services information
/ relevant specifications and detailing
/ The Room Schedule, a room by room breakdown of finishes and fittings (from the Interior Designer, if was assigned or from us, if none was involved)
/ final cost estimate (from the assigned Quantity Surveyor)
/ special subcontractor design and specifications
We carry out three levels of internal project review:
/ Quality Audit to check our project procedures and standard systems are in place and implemented effectively
/ Design Review to ensure the design is of the highest quality possible and delivering what our clients require
/ Technical Review of drawing information and specification at pre-tender stage to ensure they are coordinated and consistent.
step 9. tender
With the full set of construction drawings, specifications and detailing ready we can ask the chosen builders to price up the proposed works. We can help you to choose the right builders, or you can supply some, or all yourselves based on personal experience or commendations. The process for securing tenders may take a number of different basic forms and we are here to help you to choose the right one.In response to an invitation to tender, invited tenders will submit their tender, which will include the following:
/ their price for supplying the goods or services
/ their proposals for how your requirements as a client will be satisfied.
Once the you have identified the preferred tenderer they may hold a tender settlement meeting to enter into negotiations. This may result in further adjustment of the tender documents and the submission of a revised tender. Once the successful bid is chosen the building contract will have to be signed with the winning contractor. The contract will set out the following:
/ delivery of the service
/ how much it costs
/ targets for the service
/ clauses on poor performance.
More information is here: tender process.
At this stage we strongly recommended to employ a good Employers Agent/Project Administrator as we do not offer project and contract management services. After completing technical design stage we tend to work with the clients on consultations-only based practice.
Employers Agents work closely with the client to achieve a thorough and clear understanding of the brief. This enables them to deliver the best possible results and a full service in terms of preparation of employer’s requirements, contract documentation, selection of consultants, tender procurement and finally contractor selection.Throughout the contract they ensure the project benefits from regular detailed programming, cash flow forecasting and the necessary adjustments to reflect any amendments to the clients’ requirements. This coupled with rigorous cost control and reporting is all aimed to achieve efficient management, a smooth handover and no unexpected surprises in valuations and the final account.
construction and post-construction
step 10. construction
As soon as the contractor is chosen, the Building Contract is agreed and all required third party consents are received (including conditional) the project is ready move on to the construction phase. You will receive updated "As-Constructed" information from us. Please note that as mentioned in the above paragraph we do not offer project and contract management services. After completing technical design stage we tend to work with the clients on consultations-only based practice.
Our main responsibilities during this stage would normally be:
/ overseeing onsite construction and offsite manufacturing in accordance with the Construction Programme
/ production of "As-Constructed" information
/ regular site inspections
/ resolution of design queries from site as they arise
/ review of the construction progress
/ if a Conditional Planning permission was granted, then working on meeting the requirements of the conditions.
step 11. completion
As soon as the construction is complete our responsibilities move on to the assisting the project administrator orthe client directly with :
/ handover of building
/ conclusion of the administration of Building Contract
/ updating of Project Information as required.
step 12. post-construction management
As you take over the possession of a completed building we issue ‘As-constructed’ Information updated in response to ongoing client Feedback and maintenance or operational developments. Also at this stage we offer the following services:
/ post-occupancy evaluation
/ review of project performance
/ Project Outcomes and Research
/ development aspects
/ updating of project information, as required, in response to ongoing client feedback until the end of the building’s life.