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Why do I need an architectural designer?

The architectural designer’s key focus is to understand exactly what you want from your project and demonstrate how that can be achieved. This involves two approaches to the job: understanding what you want from your project and identifying opportunities for clever design that you may have not considered before. The architectural designer comes into their own when they can balance these two approaches using ingenious problem solving and rigorous design detailing.

The designer goes further than providing appealing drawings that win planning permission – from the start, their surveying and design process assesses complexities such as structure, construction, and waterproofing. Considering this ahead of time leads to efficient floor plans, cost-effective design, and a good reputation with contractors and subcontractors.

What other professionals (contractors) might I need on my project?

Every plot or home is unique, and so each project will have some variation of what professionals are involved. Is your plot of land located in a conservation area? If so, you could require advice from a planning consultant or require a surveyor that specialises in listed buildings. Have you always wanted an elegant bespoke staircase that becomes a central feature of your home? Then you may want to hire an additional designer or a carpenter who specialises in staircase design. You will not be alone in this – the architectural designer will assess your project in the beginning and advise you through the rest of the project process, in order to help you approach and work with the professionals that are best suited to you.

How much will my project cost?

Plenty of magazines and journals in the construction industry can give you an approximate cost-per-square-metre figure for an average build. Figures can be as wide a range as £1,400/sqm to £3,000/sqm, but these figures are by no means a final indicator of cost. After all, your budget, brief, and your unique plot of land can sway this indicator of price in many ways.

Are you extending, renovating, converting, or building afresh? This will affect massively the designer’s approach to your requirements.

How old is your property? Age, disrepair, planning law, and site conditions can affect not only design but what resources a builder will need to build with.

Are there routes to accessing grants from the government or other institutions? Specifying green energy solutions, for instance, could come with monetary incentives that come into your project budget.

The point here is that your project’s cost will have hundreds of variables throughout the design and construction process. Clear communication early and throughout the project is how your architectural designer keeps these costs in check and finds a solution appropriate to your budget.

How do I get planning permission?

Being granted planning permission on your design will require two key things: An understanding of what the local planning authority (LPA) enforces in the area covering your plot of land;

A comprehensive set of drawings that communicate to the planner why your design is justified legally, with additional statements and documents if necessary.

After submitting these drawings, there is a waiting period that the council sets for a decision to be made. In the event that planning is refused, we provide a free redesign and re-submission to the council at no extra cost to you.

We work frequently with planning officers and planning consultants, and by doing so we have established positive relationships in both the public and private sector.

How do I find and select a good builder?

Our experience in the field of architecture has led us to meet various capable and reputable builders, and so we are more than happy to advise. If you have preferences or knowledge on builders you have in mind for your project, they can be considered too. A good builder can be found not only through word of mouth or advertisements/reviews in publications, but also with a tender package that a contractor can read over and justify why their company is the best fit for your project.

Do you work in conservation areas?

We are happy to work on projects in conservation areas. Our attitude to these jobs is that we are always keen to learn about the historical context of a place and why the LPA has placed a conservation status on your local area. This research process is essential, because your property is part of a community that sees its architectural heritage as significant and in need of protection. From this, we aim to sympathise with the character of your site’s location and provide your design needs whilst also paying tribute to your local community.

Does my extension need planning permission?

You will no doubt be aware of the radical changes to planning and home-building policy across the country, but for now, there is a legal definition that makes a design proposal either automatically permitted or in need of permission. The former can be achieved by following the constraints set out in the latest General Permitted Development Order as part of the Town and Country Planning Act. We can advise on where your needs for the project align relating to this. We always seek to keep up to date with any changes to planning law, and we keep an open dialogue with the LPA to make sure that our designs move ahead in the right direction legally.

What is the Party Wall legislation all about?

The Party Wall etc Act 1996 provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings. A building owner proposing to start work covered by the Act must give adjoining owners notice of their intentions.

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