Frequently Asked Questions
Embarking on a house renovation/ extension or new build project can be daunting. Most of our clients haven’t worked with an architect before and, like them, we expect you’ll have lots of questions. We’ll be by your side every step of the way, guiding, advising and simplifying the process for you.
You don’t need to do anything. To find out the next steps, just book a call and let’s start a conversation
To get started, here are some of the more frequent questions clients’ have at the initial exploratory stages
Can I meet with you initially at no cost?
You can book a free 45-minute consultation in our studio or via zoom. We’ll discuss your project and answer your questions face to face. Make a booking here.
Following this conversation, if you like the idea of working with us and feel we’d be a good fit for your project, we are happy to offer a follow up meeting at your home at no cost.
I don’t exactly know what I want to build yet? How or where do we begin?
It begins with a conversation. During our initial phone consultation, we’ll ask probing questions of your brief to help assess it’s viability.
The next step involves a diagnostic stage we call ‘Project Discovery’ (RIBA Work Stages 0-1 / Feasibility). We'll address your brief through the exploration of a number of alternative sketch proposals and assess the implications of each (time / cost / risk etc).
Beyond this we can tailor our scope of architectural services to suit your specific requirements and budget.
Whether you engage us for a full service from feasibility to completion or, at first, just for the ‘Project Discovery’ (more on that soon), you are only ever committed to the current work stage. So, you can (and we’d encourage you to) start small with a discrete piece of work to help figure out the extent of the project and then add to the scope of service as suits your needs and budget.
This initial piece of work can also be a good way to dip your toe into the architectural process and gauge what it’s like to work with us before committing to a longer-term working relationship.
How will you ensure we stick to my budget?
Sticking to budget is critical. One of the common pitfalls of a construction project is losing control of the budget (or not having one in the first place).
To keep a handle on costs from the outset, our process involves a cycle of designing, communicating and costing. We do this by:
- We will talk about costs early and often. ‘Cost’ is not a dirty word.
- We’ll be upfront with you and make you aware of choices that are likely to increase the budget, and provide cost effective alternatives to these.
- Early involvement of a Quantity Surveyor (QS) to assist with cost control. This involvement could range from a full service to a discrete piece of work in the form of an Initial Cost Model (at the end of Concept Design Stage) to help forecast cost and interrogate in detail where the money is being spent, which in turn helps identify opportunities for savings.
- Strict vetting of contractors to ensure quality, reliability and value for money.
How long does a typical residential project take?
A range of factors impact timeframes. This includes project complexity, speed of client feedback and decisions and local authority approvals. To give you a broad idea allow for a:-
- Simple project: 4-6 months for design and 4-6 months on site.
- Complex renovation or build: 6-9 months for design and 9-12 months on site.
- Planning approval: if your project requires planning approval add 2 months to the above timescales.
Can you tell me how you structure your fees and what they are?
Like all professional services, architectural fees are not cheap (but neither is getting the design wrong, by the way). However, it might help to view them as an investment.
That said, we are cost conscious at every step of the way. Once the project scope is defined at the start of the journey, we’ll fix our fees and prepare a schedule of invoicing so that you know exactly what you are paying and when. Everything is transparent and clear.
In addition to our design process, working with us also provides access to our years of accumulated knowledge and experience. You will benefit from our network of specialist consultants, industry suppliers and our team’s ability to guide you through the process, avoiding the common pitfalls of construction to deliver life-enhancing architecture.
We offer multiple service tiers to accommodate different budgets and goals:
‘Project Discovery’ / (RIBA Stages 0-1) (from £1,500 +VAT)
Get an informed opinion on your ideas and gain clarity on design direction and budget.
We approach this early-stage work as a ‘diagnostic’ stage. We’ll ask probing questions of your brief and budget and of your underlying assumptions. We’ll analyse your property and/ or site in detail to reveal constraints and opportunities. Once these have been identified we can begin to prescribe solutions. This includes:
- Review relevant local design guides, planning policy and comparable planning applications in order to build up a picture of precedent.
- Carry out detailed analysis of the site and immediate environment to assess opportunities and constraints.
- Floor plans and sketches illustrating options.
- A 1 hour meeting in your home to discuss the project.
- A 2 hour workshop in our studio or via zoom (you choose).
- A written brief outlining the opportunities, risk, budget and project timeframe.
- Guidance on next steps, additional consultants and approvals required.
‘Project Planning’ / (RIBA Stages 0-3) (from £7,500 +VAT)
We’ll take you up to and including submission of a detailed planning application, including liaising with the local authority during the running of the application and up to it’s determination.
Building on the work and our conclusions from the Project Discovery we’ll develop proposals with you, communicating the evolving design clearly through 3D visuals and 2D drawings so that you’re empowered to make the best decisions. In working toward the application for planning approval, we’ll hold a series of fortnightly workshops with you (via zoom or in our studio) to review the design collaboratively and make decisions together, taking into account key aspects such as cost, program and risk in addition to functionality and aesthetic considerations.
This tier of service will suit those who want help in achieving the best possible outcome at planning but are happy to go it alone from there.
You always have the option of retaining us for the later stages of your project.
Full Service / (RIBA Stages 0-6)
Typically, our clients choose this service tier when they want our support from inception to the day they move in. We provide a full design service, alongside project management and an optional interior design service.
Good design takes time to mature. It doesn’t happen in a single eureka moment! Rather a series of steps, much like evolution, each one refining and improving on the last.
You’ll benefit from us on board as project managers throughout, contract administrators on site and maximum design time and thinking from our team.
This service is best suited to renovations, extensions or new builds where you want to invest time in the design to get it just right and create the perfect outcome borne out of obsessive attention given to every little detail. Just how we like it. Chat to us to discuss costs.
For all of our tiered services, take advantage of the complimentary free consultation to get a clear and simple fee guide for your project.
Do you have a minimum construction budget you will work with for a full service?
Due to the bespoke nature of our process, we typically work with homeowners with a minimum Project Budget of £250,00 at their disposal.
Project Discovery(RIBA Stages 0-1)
+ 1 hour meeting in your home to discuss the project.
+ A 2 hour workshop in our studio or via zoom (you choose).
+ A written brief outlining the opportunities, risk, budget and project timeframe.
+ Floor plans and sketches illustrating options.
+ Guidance on next steps, additional consultants and approvals required.
Project Planning(RIBA Stages 0-3)
Everything in the Project Discovery and:
+ Developed proposals through 3D visuals and 2D drawings.
+ Fornightly design development workshops in our studio or via Zoom (you choose).
+ Drawing pack and information for a planning application.
+ Submit and manage the planning application including liasing with the planners up to determination of the application.
Full Service(RIBA Stages 0-6)
- Typically, our clients choose this service tier when they want our support from inception to the day they move in.
- This service is best suited to homeowners that want to invest time in the design, retain full control over all of the details and get it just right. A life enhancing home you’ll never want to leave.
- We provide a full design service, alongside project management and an optional interior design service.
- Get in touch.