Every project starts as an idea, you might want to make better use of the space or create some extra rooms to respond to a change of lifestyle. You might have a site and want to create a new home or just maximise the value of your land.
Most likely questions will arise, such as will I need planning permission? what about a structural engineer? and more often than not you will ask…how much will it cost?
My first visit involves an informal discussion with you about your ideas. We will talk about the process required turning your ‘idea’ into reality. I will also begin to answer some of your questions and establish other requirements you might have for the project.
If you wish to proceed with my services I will write to you outlining my understanding of your requirements and the services I can offer to make your project a reality. I will also clearly set out my fees as well as a timescale for the design and construction works.
Clearly outlined below are typical services...
1 - PREPARATION
Once appointed, I will work with you to define you brief. Clearly establishing the essentials and the luxuries for each and every project. This brief must reflect the budget, the site and the time scale of your project. It is a key document that will evolve as the project progresses.
A full measured survey will need to be carried out. This can either be done by myself or another company depending on the scale of the project. The accuracy and detail of the survey are important as they will form the basis of all subsequent drawn material.
If required, I will also assist you in appointing the rest of the design team needed to deliver your project. Depending on the size and scope of the project this could involve a structural engineer, a quantity surveyor (QS), or various specialist consultants. You might already have people in mind or I can recommend people I have worked with before.
2 - CONCEPT DESIGN
I will produce a set of sketch proposals based on your brief, and early discussions with you. These might include a series of options that explore different approaches to your project. To help you visualise the initial ideas, the sketch proposals will include a computer generated 3D model along with conventional drawings.
Once a preferred design solution has emerged and depending on the scale of the project I would recommend that we seek a pre-application consultation with the local planning authority. This will identify any major areas of concern they have and provide an opportunity for their consideration and redress before the application is formally submitted.
3 - DEVELOPED DESIGN
Taking on board feedback from yourselves I will develop the preferred design in more detail. We will start to discuss materials and the method of construction, such as timber frame or masonry. We will also start to talk about the systems that will be used to heat and light your building in the most environmentally friendly way possible, and how we can seamlessly integrate these within the design.
At the end of this stage we will apply to the local authority for full planning permission. I will produce all necessary drawings and supporting documentation to facilitate the submission of the application. I will also act as Agent for the application, responding to any queries that may arise and the submission of any further information requested by the local authority.
4&5 - TECHNICAL AND SPECIALIST DESIGN
Following the planning application the project will need to be submitted for Building Regulations Approval. The Building Regulations set standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the safety and health for people in or about those buildings. They also include requirements to ensure that fuel and power is conserved and facilities are provided for people, including those with disabilities, to access and move around inside buildings.
I will also work with specialist sub-contractors or product manufacturers to make sure their products are compatible and integrated into the final design.
I will produce a “Tender package”. This is the information required to enable a builder to provide an accurate cost to build your project. It will typically consist of a full set of plans, sections and elevations along with a set of larger scale detailed drawings. In addition to the drawings I will produce a written specification that clearly sets out the materials to be used along with the level of workmanship expected.
The more detail we can show on the drawings and in the specification the more control we can have on the finish article. You might have precise ideas about how you want an element to appear and this will have to be clearly illustrated and explained to achieve the desired outcome.
The selection of a contractor/builder to carry out the construction works could either be by competitive fixed price tender or by negotiation with a known and trusted contractor. If you are aware of a builder who you would be happy to use this could be an appropriate way forward. Tendering will clearly give reassurance that the costs quoted are competitive and is therefore likely to be preferred.
6 - CONSTRUCTION
If you decide to use a formal building contract between you and the contractor I can help you decide the most suitable one for your project. If you require I can also act as contract administrator throughout the duration of the works.
I will also regularly attend site to check on the progress and quality of the works and resolve any additional queries when they arise.
7 - USE AND AFTER CARE
Most building contracts include a rectification period, usually up to a year. During this time if any problems arise the initial builder will come back to “rectify” the situation. I will manage this process as well as making sure you understand how your new building “works” and what to expect in terms of maintenance.
The flowchart below depicts a 'typical' project...