STEP BY STEP GUIDE
We are often asked by clients about the whole process and what each step is. We know it can be complicated and depending on the project can be twice as complicated. Below we have put together a step by step guide to give an overview of the process from our first visit to turning the key in the door. If you scroll further we provide more information under each step to help you get a better picture of what lies ahead. you can find a useful spreadsheet from the RIBA here to give an overview of what to expect.
On our first visit to you we will have a conversation with you about what you are hoping to do and the budget. We will also have a look at the site. If there is existing buildings we will want to look inside if it's relevant. We will also want to take some photographs to discuss with our team back at the office.
NOTE: If a site visit is not suitable during this time we can still help. Simply send through the requirements of the project, some photographs both internal and external and the address of the project to our email address and we can take it from there.
After receiving your project information or having a site visit we organise a site visit a phone or video call with you. Following this we will prepare a fee proposal. The fee proposal includes details of services, our costs, a brief, and additional information that we think you will need to consider.
If you are happy with the fee proposal we then put a contract between yourself and us in place to appoint us to undertake the work on your project
Following our appointment we will arrange a visit to site for a more detailed meeting with you and to undertake a measured survey of the site. Depending on the complexity of the project we may need to have a topographical survey completed.
NOTE: Sometimes there is an additional cost if the site is very complex or steep.
We draw up the survey and prepare 3D sketch models for our concept design meeting. For more information on the design process visit our services page. We prepare a number of sketch concepts depending on the project for our concept meeting. We also look in more detail at certain factors that may impact your project.
NOTE: Sometimes sites are in historic or rural areas, are close in proximity to neighbours, or are ambitious structurally. This can add cost, consultants and duration to your project
Once we have our initial concept stage meeting we use your feedback to develop a more detailed design. Understanding what you like and you don't like is very important to us so we often ask our clients to share a Pinterest page with us.
NOTE: A Pinterest page is like a mood board tool. You can also send us images or links to things you like.
At this stage we develop your design in three dimensions using the latest technology to bring your project to life. We use the latest software to build your design as an interactive 3D model that you can explore on a laptop or tablet.
NOTE: Sometimes at this stage we advise that you apply for preplanning advise from your local council. This will depend on the complexity, context and scale of the project. Usually we determine this at Step 1-2.
Usually we expect to have two design meetings between Step 8 and the submission of the planning application. However depending on the project you may need more. We will determine this when we meet about your project at Step 1. At this stage we prepare your planning application. You may be required to submit additional reports which we will either prepare or organise.
NOTE: You may require reports if your project is in a historic context, a flood zone, a rural context or of a certain scale. We will usually identify these reports at Step 1-2.
We use the planning portal to submit your planning application. Once we submit you will receive an email from the planning portal requesting payment to process the application. The application is then forwarded to the relevant planning authority and they will review all of the information that has been submitted. Once they are happy that they have received everything they need they send us a letter to validate the submission. This is not the approval, it just means that they are happy to process the application based on what has been submitted. This can take up to 10 days.
NOTE: The statutory timescales for planning applications and further information on the planning process can be found here
Most planning applications take 8 weeks to be determined. Sometimes if particularly complex this duration may be extended to 13 weeks. During this time we liaise with the planners and keep you up to date with any concerns or queries. Your application will be uploaded by the local authority to a publicly accessible website and your neighbours will be notified so we always advise to let your neighbours know about what you are planning to do prior to the submission of the application. During this time people can raise objections and upload them to the local authorities website.
NOTE: The planner will want to visit the site. Sometimes depending on the complexity of the project you may have others requiring access to the site. For example you are in a conservation area, historic context you may have a visit from the local conservation officer. We will know all of this in advance.
When a decision is made on the application hopefully this will mean it is approved. This is a reason to celebrate! Usually there are some standard conditions with planning application approvals to ensure that work is carried out to the quality and standard set out in the application. Sometimes if planners have specific concerns they may impose additional conditions. This may be to do with opening hours if you are a business, or that we have to supply material samples.
If the project gets rejected you can appeal the decision. This means that the decision is made on the project by the Secretary of State. More information relating the the appeals process can be found here.
Projects will need building control approval. You need this to ensure that work is carried out in accordance with Building regulations . We prepare drawings that specify relevant information. These drawings are submitted and approved by and improved inspector.
NOTE: You will need to employ an engineer at this stage. We can advise on this. The engineer will produce the structural calculations and we will incorporate these into our drawings and the design.
At tender stage we prepare the drawings to enable you to get prices from contractors. Depending on the complexity of the project there may be a number of packages of drawings. We can help with finding a contractor/builder for your project.
Once a contractor/builder is decided on the timetable is determined. At this stage clients decide to appoint us to manage the project and provide the detailed design to the contractors. We can also manage the project on site for you. Sometimes, clients decide to work directly with the builder to design the detail at this stage.
NOTE: Any project is complicated so our advise is to appoint us to support you throughout the construction. This way we can work with the builders to achieve your vision.
The project is complete! Hopefully we will have worked with you through all stages of the project to achieve your dream.