Taking the first steps in designing your new home or extending your home can be both exciting and daunting.  It is one of the most important stages of the project, as decisions made in the initial design stages stay with the project through to completion.

It is vital therefore that these decisions are the right decisions.  As architects we offer a wealth of experience in helping you make these, and will explain the pros and cons of the numerous choices available.

We try to simplify the process as much as possible for our clients which can be broken down into the stages outlined here.

Step 1 - Make Contact with Us

Give us a call or drop us an email and we will arrange to call over to see you and discuss your ideas and give you some of our own.  We don't charge for this initial chat (although a cup of coffee normally goes down well!).

Following our meeting we will provide you with a fully itemised fixed price fee proposal, which we base on the expected levels of service required for each given project.

Step 2 - The Survey

If you are happy with our quote and you instruct us to proceed, then we will arrange a suitable time with you to call over and measure your house.

We then produce drawings of your existing house all in 3D, which form an accurate and sound basis on which to produce our sketch schemes.

At this stage we will consider all your ideas, along with our own and produce sketch proposals of different options that would be available taking into account your requirements, budgetary constraints, planning issues and a whole host of other factors that our experience gives us.

Step 3 - Let the Ideas Flow

Once we have sketched a few ideas out we will arrange to call back and see you and run through the various options available.  This stage is really the most crucial in the whole process as it forms the basis of the finished result. 

Its far easier to move a wall on paper than it is once its been built!  The discussions and sketches are fairly free flowing at this stage, and the good (and bad) bits of each design are discussed with the aim of formulating a scheme that works perfectly for you. 

Usually (but not always!) following the meeting we will have arrived at an overall design concept  that works for you and we then spend a little more time back in the office fine tuning this and liaising with you (and often with other specialist designers input - ie kitchens) to arrive at the final design solution. 

The whole process is carried out in 3D, with you able to walk around your house in virtual terms on your PC or tablet at your leisure using our 3d model and free viewing software.

Step 4 - Planning Permissions

The planning process is the next stage, where we prepare drawings of your house modifications / extensions in a suitable format for the local authority planning department.  These consist of plans and elevations of the house in both its existing and proposed form, along with site layout plans and location plans. 

Some schemes may require further information to be prepared and submitted - ie ecological surveys if bats are likely to be present, or heritage statements for listed buildings etc.  We will of course advise on the likelihood of these being required at our very first meeting. 

It usually takes 8-10 weeks for the planners to make their decision, and whilst we unfortunately cannot guarantee an approval, we have an excellent success rate with planning permissions and will always advise at the outset if we can foresee any potential planning problems any given scheme may have.

Step 5 - Building Control

Once your planning approval has arrived we can then commence on the more detailed technical drawings we prepare for Building Regulation Approval. 

These drawings contain more detailed information on how the extension / alterations are to be built in order to comply with the current building regulations. 

We liaise with structural engineers if needed at this stage and co-ordinate the design with theirs.  We submit the relevant documentation and liaise with building control to ensure you obtain a Plan Approval Certificate.

Step 6 - Meet the Builders

Our building regulation level drawings on most fairly modest extensions can usually be used by any competent builder to quote and build from.  

We work with a network of good and reliable builders, whom we can recommend to you if you don’t have anyone in mind. 

At this stage you can, using our drawings as a basis, discuss and agree the scope of work directly with your builder and agree additional items with them - ie level of electrics, heating, finishes etc, or you can retain our services to assist you further into the process.

Step 7 - Additional Services

Whilst are building regulation drawings in step 6 above are usually sufficient for modest extensions, some clients or more complex projects benefit from us being involved in their project through the building stages of the process. 

We can prepare more complex drawings detailing junctions between construction elements and differing materials, electrical layouts, internal finishes, schedules of works, detailed specifications and general liaison and co-ordination of the design.  

Step 8 - With You Every Step

For some clients our full service is their preferred option.   Following on from Step 7 we would manage the tender process, draw up legal contracts between yourselves and the chosen builder and oversee the work being carried out on site to check it is being built in accordance with the contract and payments to the builder are being made in accordance with the agreed contract. 

We will liaise with both yourselves and your builder throughout the whole build process and assist you in making the numerous decisions you will need to make as clients on a project.