If you have no experience on renovating your house or on any building project, we are here to help!
Our process follows the RIBA Plan of work. You will find all the stages and details below, and this will give you a vision of what your project will entail and help you make the right choices.
We usually offer an initial visit to your property and a chat in person about your project. This is free of charge and with no commitment. It will help us get a better understanding of the project in order to prepare a fee proposal for you. Below is all you need to know about what happens next!
Survey and briefing
Once you have decided to work with us, the first step would be to survey your property. We will usually carry out a measured survey and take note of all the relevant items, including existing services and outdoor areas. Depending on the complexity of the building, this can be carried out by a professional surveyor. All this information will enable us to draw the existing building and this will form the base of the project drawings.
Alongside, we will work on defining the brief for your project. You might already have a clear brief to submit to us, or we would work on it together to define all the key points.
These will include budget and time frame, which are determining areas of a project, but also sustainability, design aspirations etc.
Concept Design and Planning
On the basis of all the information gathered during the first stage, we will prepare some design options. These can vary in number depending on the complexity of the project, but will usually not be more than three. Often, a minor variation of these initial options will constitute the final layout.
We will present the concept design in the form of plans and three-dimensional sketches, to help you visualise the space.
Once the general layout and design is agreed we are able to prepare all the relevant documents and submit a Planning Application where required.
For more contentious proposal we would advise at this stage to go through a Pre App with the Local Authority to assess whether the strategy needs adjusting.
Not all projects will require Planning Permission, while some will require additional permissions (such as Listed Building Consent). Some more complex projects could require the appointment of Planning Consultant.
We will discuss this with you at an early stage to make sure you are aware of the right applications and process for your project.
We do our best to prepare an application that is likely to be successful, however the outcome cannot be guaranteed and sometimes a second application will be required.
Where a Planning Application is required, this stage can start once the application has been approved by your Local Authority. We will prepare a set of technical drawings which detail all the different building systems, products and materials to be used, including but not limited to windows, doors, kitchen, electrical and lighting layouts drawings. We will also prepare detailed drawings for each room/area where works need to be carried out and designs for fitted furniture.
At this stage we will also engage other consultants to develop the project. Usually a structural engineer will have to prepare the design and calculations for all new structural elements, and often a party wall surveyor will be required. We are able to put forward the names of some consultants as required, having built relationships with trusted professionals over the years.
All other consultants' drawings will be fully coordinated into the Architect's drawings at this stage.
Finishes, fixtures and fittings should also be selected at this stage and we will work together with you to bring everything together and ensure all the parts work well together.
This process can take time, however, the more is defined and finalized before the works start on site, the easier and more straightforward the building process will be.
All this information is collated into a tender package of drawings (usually up to 40), specifications and schedules which is then sent out to a shortlist of contractors to accurately and competitively, price from. We are able to put forward a list of trusted contractors for your consideration, and we are happy to include others which you may already know. Once the tenders have been returned we will analyse the costs and produce a tender breakdown analysis based on the contractors’ tender returns and program.
While the contractors are preparing their tenders, we would usually prepare a set of drawings and documents based on the tender set, with all the information required to submit a Building Control application.
A Building Control application is made to ensure that all parts of the building will comply with Building Regulations. There are two parts to it, Plans Approval and Site Inspections. The Plans Approval process has to be started before works commence on site, then the Site Inspections will be carried out during the works. We are only responsible for the Plans Approval, as the contractor will arrange the site inspections and ensure that any request from the inspector is satisfied.
The Local Authority will issue a Final Certificate of compliance once the works have been completed.
Once a contractor has been selected and a programme agreed, works can commence on site.
As soon as building works have commenced, we will attend to any queries the contractor has. We would normally expect to attend site at least weekly to monitor progress for the duration of the works.
During construction we can offer two types of services.
The first is a number of regular site visits, carried out on behalf of the client to check compliance with planning permission and design, and to check the quality of the works. During these site visits we will also be able to assist the contractor with any queries regarding the design. Following each site visit we will issue a written report accompanied by photographs.
Alternatively, we are able to act as contract administrators, which will enable us to make sure that the contract is adhered to and make amendments where required. This service is subject to a fee charged on a percentage of the building cost and the appointment of a Quantity Surveyor.
At the end of the works we will compile a Snagging List that will address all work that needs completing or that is not matching the tender agreement, for the contractor to finalise before Completion.