What we do -
Based on the RIBA Plan of Work 2020
A neutral view in the interests of the client of the process ahead - brief/requirements, budget, opportunities, constraints, risks, feasibility.
Preparation & Briefing
Creating outline goals in terms of the brief and how it can work in parallel with green sustainable vs. aspirations and the time to test the brief against the site. Also an enabling plan needs to be formulated – who is going to execute the project; define the team
Conceptual designs of the architecture are created, which can be via sketches or using VR. The project brief and diagnostics are signed off with the client, along with the cost plan following investigations to ensure essentials such as plant, connectivity to the grid etc are in the right place
A developed cohesive design is worked up in this stage with engineering analysis and more in depth studies. Change control procedures are put in place in case anything errs from the plan. Spatial coordination, culminating in the production of a single model which should not be prone to future change, preventing project creep or changes to its scope. It is now, when at a more definite stage, that planning application documents are submitted, as far less likely that they will need to be resubmit at a later date when changes are made to the initial design plan.
This provides the optimum view of the project, with all the information required to manufacture and construct the project. It is likely that it is in this stage that specialist sub-contractors such as Selectaglaze are engaged to give advice on specialist systems or most appropriate products/designs. By the end of this stage all aspects of the project must be prescriptive rather than descriptive and set out in design. If the designer/specifier is handing over descriptive design to a specialist, then they take design responsibility and make prescriptive
Manufacturing & Construction
The building phase and associated tasks – site logistics and programme monitoring. Sees the manufacturing, construction and commissioning completed
(depending on the nature and size of the project it is possible for stages 4 & 5 to run concurrently)
Classed as the one year period running up to the defects period. Includes executing the plan of handover, snagging and the fulfilment of its end-use. Evaluations on the success of the project team are carried out.
‘It’s all about the building’. Areas looked at are how the building is used after handover – as the client expected? Post occupancy evaluation – is it performing as the client intended? Feedback from this stage helps inform and provide lessons learnt which are then pushed back into stage 0 of the next project; helping optimise design and processes
Thanks to technology, there is not much difference between our online service using Zoom and the pre-Covid traditional service when we would meet with a client on site.
Pre-meeting preparation involves research into the location via 2d & 3d street imagery, ascertain site constraints that we can work out (such as light angles which can limit the extent / height of an extension), and depending on the complexity or constraints, we search for similar precedents in the immediate vicinity along with any relevant planning history.
Option 1 is to discuss aspirations / brief, and advice on general opportunities to take the project forward. We will discuss a similar project from our portfolio and advice on the process that a project can take from idea / sketch stage through the statutory maze, and finally the completed build by using some of our typical statutory application drawings (which also provide an idea of the type of work we do), and an indication of timescales etc. We would anticipate that this session would take about an hour. Should you so wish, we could then follow this up with a quote for architectural services based on the information that we are provided with, and what we the understand as ‘the requirements’. With Option 1, more time is allowed within our fee scale to prepare sketch designs, and this route may be better suited in a scenario where the client is uncertain as to the opportunities available and would like these to be explored so that the most suitable can be chosen. Once the client has had a chance to consider the merits of each, and chooses a particular route or combination of ideas, this would then make up the ‘preferred design’.
Option 2 includes all of the above (Option 1), but extends into a workshop where we sketch ideas online, taking on board the clients input based on their particular preferences (how a space would be more usable for them), experience using / living in the property (perhaps their knowledge of the environment and particular views) etc. This could add a further hour or two, but with this option (as the general route for the design is already discussed), the sketch element is considerably reduced and this is then reflected later in the fee quote. Here too, we can follow this up with a quote to progress the sketches toward statutory applications, or completion on site.
In both options, it is helpful for us to understand how a client envisions the space to look like, so we suggest that they are prepared with a brief / requirements in an order of priority, as well as some ideas / images of spaces and styles that appeal to them. Often, clients are in possession of layout plans or drawings that were part of the estate agents information, ownership package or a previous renovation project. If available, these are useful in scanned format. If you do not have this and the plan of your home is fairly typical and unaltered, you may be able to check for a similar house that has been recently on the market in your immediate vicinity and print the plans for an indication of the layout. Our rates are normally £75.00 for ‘Option 1’ and £50.00 for each additional hour thereafter, however our online rate is reduced to £50.00 for ‘Option 1’ and £35.00 for each additional hour thereafter.
Once commissioned we will arrange for a survey of the property to be simultaneously arranged in order to prepare the required ‘existing’ drawings. We use 3d scanning which is like a three dimensional photocopy of the property. This is far more precise and is a useful piece of information for any future work also.
Once the preferred layout has been finalised by the client, we proceed with the preparation of CAD (Computer Aided Drawings) for the statutory application. Apart from the sketch / CAD time, the statutory process following formal registration takes approximately 8 weeks for Planning and approximately 3 weeks for Building Control before a decision is made. If ‘permitted development’ (PD) is permissible (there are areas with restrictions - such as some new developments, conservation areas etc), this may be more straight forward (despite its limits and conditions), and our involvement may be less time consuming as a survey of the entire house etc., which is required for statutory applications is not a requirement for PD; however we always advice that plans are sent to the authorities for comment and a ‘Lawful Development Certificate’ applied for.