Professional and friendly PRACTICE offering expert advice on Architectural, Planning & Development Services.
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We offer a professional, high quality and technical approach to architectural design for projects of all types and sizes.
The design process will be the most critical part of a project and it is essential that good design with clear and accurate production information is obtained from the outset to avoid unnecessary delays and problems during the construction phase.
We are fully qualified and experienced to oversee a variety of projects from inception to completion, including but not limited to:
Conversions & Change of Use
Commercial & Industrial Premises
A typical project would see us begin with a measured survey of the existing building/site from which as existing drawings are prepared. These will then form the basis to prepare sketch options for consideration. These sketches would then be used to further develop the design until a final design is achieved.
The next stage of the project would be to submit a suitable planning application; however, some elements of domestic work are exempt from requiring permission and we can advise as required.
Building Regulations compliant 'construction' drawings are then prepared, these consist of dimensioned and annotated floor plans, sections and elevations along with a written specification. This information would form the basis of a Building Regulations application which is either submitted to the local authority or an approved inspector.
The building regulations stage can also require the input of a structural & civil engineer; a site/ground investigation; a SAP energy assessor; and other consultants depending on the nature of the project. However, we are on hand to provide advice from the start of a project to advise on these appointments.
Production of Planning and Building Regulation compliant drawings are the minimum requirements for any project; it is critical that the person undertaking this work is suitably qualified, insured, reliable and experienced.
Planning services in the form of the preparation, submission and management of planning applications is offered for all project types and sizes. We have vast experience in negotiating and dealing with planning authorities as we strive to ensure that favourable outcomes are arrived at.
Generally, minor planning applications can take around 8 weeks to determine (householder extensions, housing schemes less than 10 units) whereas major applications (housing schemes with 10 or more units) can take 13 weeks. For any project, early contact is essential to ensure that these time frames are fully accounted for; commencing works before a planning permission is in place can lead to serious consequences.
Upon obtaining a planning permission, pre-commencement conditions are a regular occurrence imposed by the local planning authority. We strive to ensure that these are avoided and/or reduced by providing as much information as possible to the planning authority during the application process. However, there are instances where this is not possible, and a lawful start on site cannot be made until the conditions are discharged. The submission of these details is again another 8 week process; but this is a process that can usually be ran concurrently with the Building Regulations stage to reduce timescales of a project.
Where we are able to combine both our Architectural and Planning services to streamline the drawings and supporting statements required for a planning application. A number of specialist consultants may be required as part of the planning application depending on the nature of the project. However, from our experience we can provide an early indication of what consultants may be required at the inception stage of a project so that there are no unexpected surprises.
We also provide assistance with the preparation and submission of Pre-Application Enquires to planning authorities. These are confidential submissions with indicative/brief details of a project to establish the acceptability of a scheme prior to investing in a planning application. These are generally turned around between 28 and 40 days by the local planning authority and help to give early indications of proposals acceptability at a cost effective rate.
We can offer tendering and contract administration services over and above the standard architectural service. However, we only offer this to projects where the production information has been prepared by us.
This service would see us prepare and issue a detailed tender package with more in-depth production information (working drawings) to nominated contractors who would provide a fixed quotation and timeframes. The successful contractor would then, along with the client, enter into a formal contract with us acting as the Contract Administrator.
In this role we would carry out regular inspections during the construction phase to ensure that the works are being executed in exact accordance with the production information which will have become 'the contact documents'.
Typically payment to the contractor would be made monthly and this amount would be an sum arrived at by us, the Contract Administrator, based on the works undertaken and materials on site in a 4 week period. A small retention is deducted from all valuations during the construction process. This process would continue until the project reached 'practical completion' where the satisfactory works are handed over to the client and half of the retention is released.
A defects period would then follow on from the practical completion for a specified period (3 to 6 months). If any defects occur in this period, then rectification would be required prior to the 'final certificate' being issued, and releasing the final retention to the contractor. During this process we are on hand to resolve any disputes that may arise, solve any issues that may occur and negotiate any reasonable extra works or additional time requests that my arise during the construction phase all in a professional mannerism.
Ultimately, everyone wants a project to be completed on time, within budget and without any issues. We believe one of the key elements to ensuring this is the preparation of clear, detailed and accurate production information along with the appointment of competent and reputable contractor. Contracts provide security for all parties of the project; setting a clear, tried and tested method for delivering construction works.
The CDM Regulations are an important and integral part of all construction projects which ensures that health and safety issues are considered properly during the whole life cycle of a building, with issues identified, eliminated and/or reduced during the design and construction process. The regulations places specific duties to 'duty holders' which consist of the 'client/domestic client', the 'principal designer', the 'principal contractor', designers, contractors and workers. Domestic clients are 'people who have construction work carried out on their own home, or the home of a family member that is not done as part of a business, whether for profit or not'. Clients are 'organisations or individuals for whom a construction project is carried out'. The following document has been prepared by the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) and should be read by anyone actively seeking to undergo construction works - CDM 2015.
With every project, we will advise accordingly on how the CDM Regulations will affect your project and provide advice on how to ensure that all of the relevant duties are accounted for. Given our skills, knowledge and experience relevant to design, construction and maintenance, we are more than suited to provide the critical role of Principal Designer. We also have an understanding of Design Risk Management as well as detailed knowledge of the CDM 2015 Regulations. Generally, on domestic projects we will undertake this role by default if a client chooses not to appoint a nominated Principal Designer. However on commercial projects a written appointment is necessary; without this the duties of the Principal Designer will by default fall onto the Client.