We offer a professional customer friendly service. Whether you would like us to run the whole project on your behalf or just produce drawings, we will prepare a package for you laid down clearly in writing. This will be broken down into stages to suit you, your project and your budget.
Following your initial enquiry, we will arrange an appointment to meet you and to discuss your proposals. During this meeting we will establish your ideas and budget. This will enable us to assess the feasibility of the project in general terms. There is no charge for this meeting which usually lasts between half an hour and one hour.
You’ll probably have a good idea of what you want in terms of layout and design. Any ideas or inspiration whether it is a magazine cutting, an image from Pinterest, or a sketch you have prepared can be useful. We listen to what you want and we will also suggest different ideas for you to consider where other options are available.
The initial consultation
There is usually no charge for this meeting if you are reasonably local. You can contact us by phone or e-mail and we will arrange an appointment to come and see you.
During our initial meeting we will have a brief walk around your house and garden, possibly take some dimensions and photographs and discuss what it is that you want to do. If possible we will give you an approximate idea of the cost of the building work. This is not always possible if the project is complex and the cost will generally not include the cost of kitchen and bathroom fittings. The cost of these can vary dramatically and it is usual for the client to choose / specify such items.
During the initial meeting we will establish whether or not the proposal requires planning permission. Confirmation might be required from the local authority if there is any doubt. You can follow the link to the ‘Planning Portal’ for guidance on whether you will need planning permission or not. Some building work can be completed using your ‘permitted development rights’. This link explains more about permitted development. Planning portal
Once we have agreed a fee, a date is arranged for the survey. This is where we will measure the house and grounds, and where necessary we will include a level survey to record the ground levels on the site. If planning permission is not required then the survey does not need to be quite so comprehensive.
Production of drawings
Within a few weeks of the survey we will produce existing plans and elevations and proposed draft plans. We usually produce draft plans on A4 or A3 sheets and e-mail them to you as PDF files so that you can print them off at home to examine. Alternatively we can send them by post. To discuss changes, you can call us, scribble notes on the plans, (photograph them with your phone and email it back to us), or just e-mail any amendments to us, after which we will produce a further set of plans for your approval. If we have included for additional meetings then we will come to see you to discuss alterations.
Planning application (if required)
Once you have approved the plans we will add detail appropriate for the planning application.
We will fill out the forms and make the planning application on your behalf. You will either send us a cheque or send payment directly to the council to cover the planning fee.
Normally it is recommended to wait until you have received planning permission before we produce the detailed drawings suitable for building regulation approval and for construction. If you are in a hurry to get started on site then it is possible to run the planning and building regulation applications concurrently but you risk paying additional fees if you are not successful in obtaining planning permission or if plans need to be amended to be acceptable.
Building Regulation Approval
Building regulations ensure that the building work meets current legislation in areas such as thermal insulation, sound insulation, fire resistance, fire escape and structural safety.
The drawings are developed to show construction detail and specification notes suitable to satisfy the building regulations. These drawings are usually suitable for the builder to use for construction.
An application is made to the local authority to submit the plans for checking. You will pay a fee to the council for checking the plans. Following the council’s check we update the plans as required and an approval is issued. If some information remains to be confirmed, for example; structural calculations, then a ‘Conditional approval’ will be issued. Once work starts on site you will pay a further fee to the council for site inspections. Details of the fees can be found on your local authority website.
In addition to our fees the following may be required or recommended. Where we have indicated costs, these are a guide only and will vary depending upon the project, especially if complications are encountered.
Ground / soils investigation: If ground conditions are poor, or where clay is present and there are trees on site or where trees have been removed, this can have a significant effect on the foundation cost. If ground conditions are not known then an investigation may be required. Sometimes the local building inspector is able to provide information in respect of the conditions, especially if building work has been carried out nearby in the recent past.
SAP calculations: Where the area of doors, windows and rooflights exceed twenty five percent of the proposed floor area then calculations are usually required to show that the overall insulation standard of the building is acceptable.
Structural calculations: Where steelwork is required for new openings, or where the existing structure is removed and support is required in its place then calculations by a structural engineer will be required for which we can obtain a quotation. Alternatively, you can use your own engineer.
Party wall Act: This applies
o where you are building on or near the boundary or
o within 3m and sometimes within 6m of a structure owned by a neighbour, or
o where proposals directly affect a party wall or floor.