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Design Process

It might be the first time that you have had any work done to a property beyond washing the windows, so I've tried to lay things out here to give you a sense of what's involved at each stage -  

Initial Discussion

Typically our discussion starts with an estate agent floor plan and some photographs. Sometimes you might have sketches to express an idea or concern, which can be very helpful.

It's also essential at this early point for me to get a sense of what is there at the moment.

The initial discussion is free and non obligational of course and is usually via telephone or Zoom etc.


In Person Meeting

Once we have the completed measured survey in hand I typically visit the property to meet with you and view the property as it stands. This gives us a good opportunity to discuss the ideas in more depth and also to look at other possible variants.

During this stage we can also discuss what environmental changes we might be able to make, either with the build itself or with the existing property. 


Permissions (Planning, Listed Building Consent etc)

Depending on the property and any restrictions in the local area, there could be several permissions required to undertake the alterations. In some cases however if I do not believe that planning permission would be needed, I would still apply for a Lawful Development Certificate, which gives written confirmation from the Local Authority that the changes do not require consent.


Measured Survey

If you're ready to move forwards after the initial discussions then the first element is to have a measured survey undertaken. There are several companies we can use for this element, some with nationwide coverage.

I can discuss what is needed with them directly as the extent of the survey will differ for each project. 

This gives us a very accurate drawing of the house as well as some select land outside.


Sketch Schemes

I typically produce two or three schemes to review the various options (and there might be some sub-options within a main scheme too).

The first scheme will always be to get your ideas down on 'paper' to see how these sit and the remaining schemes will then get progressively more involved to see what else might be possible.  

Rest assured though, it will always be your project - I’m just here to play Devil’s Advocate and show you what might be possible, not tell you how to do things! 

The timescales for this stage are wide and varied as there will need to be sufficient thinking time and each project and person is different.


Working Drawings (Building Regulations Stage)

Once we have the relevant permission(s) in place, we can start to add the detail into the proposals, including looking at finishes.

This stage brings the drawings up to a level where they can be sent out to Building Contractors to provide quotations for the proposals. They are also used for the works once they commence on site too. 

"Sounds great, what does it all cost?"

Well as with any tailored service, there are no two projects the same. A past project involved a mirrored pair of cottages for two separate clients and even then the brief was entirely different from one side of the wall to the other.

What I can tell you is that the pricing is set for each stage at the outset and is fixed based on the project brief. Taking this approach, rather than working on a percentage (typically 12-15% of the build cost) as some do, means that my fee is neutral to any changes in the budget as the project progresses.

This means that if I suggest a more expensive approach, product or material then my fee remains the same. In my view this makes for a better project outcome, as I can only be trying to get the most from the property, rather than just increase my fee.  

This also gives you reassurance that you won't be taken by surprise with an escalating bill you weren't expecting.

I have based my prices on projects carried out over the last 15 years to reflect the time that I feel they need.

There are also external costs during the design process which are sadly out of my control, these can range from any (or all) of the following.

The costs and number of these needed will be dependent upon the project, although most of these can be given a budget figure in the early stages of the project to give you an idea of what might be coming up 

  • Measured survey (to capture what's there at the moment)

  • Application fees (Planning permission, Lawful Development Certificate, Building Regulations Approval etc) paid directly to your Local Authority.

  • Ecological Surveys (Checking for wildlife, bats etc)

  • Tree Surveys (Reviewing trees that may need to be protected during any proposals)

  • 3D Visualisations (for new houses)

  • A Structural Engineer to work through calculations for the Working Drawing stage.


This is not an exhaustive list, but covers the most common requirements that a project might have.

I appreciate that there's a lot to take in here, but hopefully it helps to set the scene a little, so pour a coffee and feel free to get in touch once you've absorbed the above information (and the caffeine).   

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