We usually provide full or part architectural services based on the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) traditional plan of work which is recognised across the industry. We are happy to give advice on your project, planning issues, permissions that may be required, listed buildings and many other issues. We are associated with other specialists who can provide advice and input where necessary on planning, conservation, landscape, arboriculture, engineering and drainage.
We offer a free, no obligation initial meeting with you at your property or at our offices. During this meeting we can discuss your requirements, explain the design and building process and what we can do for you, advise on any permissions you may need, possible budget costs and likely timescales required, as well as your responsibilities as client under the Construction, Design and Management Regulations (CDM) of 2015.
Initial consultation- Draft Brief and Appointment- Outline Proposals
RIBA Stages A-C
Following the first meeting we usually quote a “lump sum” fee for an initial survey and “feasibility study”, which includes a measured survey of your existing building or site, measured Autocad drawings of the existing followed by “Outline Design Proposals” based on your brief.
We write a draft brief outlining your requirements together with a draft appointment letter showing our likely fees based on the possible build costs along with our terms and conditions. We then forward these to you for your perusal and consideration, and for you to make any additions, corrections or changes to the brief.
The lump sum fee is then deducted from the fees for the later stages of your project as it progresses, thus effectively giving a discount on the later fees. On larger projects we may produce 3D “Sketchup” drawings of your project, to show the impact of different options or alternatives.
Sketch Design/Design to Planning
RIBA Stage D
We then work up the initial outline proposals into a Sketch Design or Designs in consultation with you, and advise on any fees and costs that will be required for any applications that may be necessary. These drawings form the basis for planning application drawings which are submitted for planning permission as well as listed building consent if required and any other permissions that may be needed at this stage. It takes at least eight weeks after a planning application has been validated by the planning authority for a decision to be given. If permission is refused, if the Planning Officers suggest changes that may result in permission being granted, we submit an amended design within the design fees for this stage to the planning authority.
Detailed Proposals/Building Regulations Drawings
RIBA Stage E
Following the Sketch Design and planning approval the project will be further worked up into Detailed Proposals which will form the basis of Building Regulations drawings, which will then be submitted to a private or local authority Building Inspector to obtain Building Regulations approval. We obtain quotes from Building Inspectors for their input, and advise and obtain a quote or quotes if input is required from a Structural Engineer.
RIBA Stage F & G
Further detailed drawings, information, a written specification and any necessary documentation under the CDM regulations will need to be produced before your project can be put out to tender to obtain quotes from reliable builders who are interested and experienced in your type and size of project.
Tender Action and Contract Preparation
RIBA Stages H-J
Your project information will be sent out to suitable builders/contractors who wish to tender or quote to carry out your building work under a standard industry contract such as JCT Minor Works, with a return date for the tenders which allows the builders sufficient time to be able to put a realistic quote together. Many of the smaller or medium sized local builders do not have dedicated administrative staff, thus carry out work on quotes in evenings or weekends. Hence we always allow a minimum time of 4 weeks and often slightly longer for tenders to be returned. Some builders may be too busy to take on any additional work so will decline to tender. In consultation with you we assess the tenders, and usually meet the preferred tenderer or tenderers to discuss their price. If the tenders are higher than expected we can negotiate the price with the preferred tenderer or negotiate a price based on a slightly reduced scheme. When a suitable builder and price is agreed, we then issue a formal contract as above which will be signed by you the client and the contractor with ourselves named as your agent. Commencement and finish dates for your building work will be agreed; builders need to programme your work into their often busy schedules.
Operations on Site
RIBA Stage K
We can act as Contract Administrators for the duration of the works, overseeing the work on site, monitoring progress and quality of work, also dealing with any problems that may arise. Under the terms of the contract our duty is to be fair to both our client and the contractor. We usually hold a weekly site meeting with the contractor and yourself (if you are available) to discuss the work and progress, and will visit site whenever necessary. We issue certificates under the terms of the contract and will authorise staged payments to the contractor as agreed at the outset.
Completion and Defects Period
RIBA Stage L
Once the work is “practically complete” we will issue the contractor with a “Practical Completion Certificate” which will authorise payment of the balance of their costs minus a retention, which is held for six or twelve months during the “defects liability period”. We will continue to act on your behalf as the Contract Administrator during this period and will deal with any problems that may arise, and will instruct the builder to “make good” any defects (if any) before the retention sum is authorised for release. We oversee and help with the settlement of the final account.