The first step is for us to engage with you, usually via an initial meeting on-site or in our offices, to discuss your project.
What can I expect from an initial meeting?
Prior to an initial meeting we will undertake some research into the site to get a better understanding of its history from a planning perspective. This is especially helpful when a house is Listed, in a Conservation Area or in Green Belt due to the inevitable planning restrictions that therefore become applicable.
We also obtain an estate agent floorplan where available and/or record drawings that can help with conveying initial ideas at our first meeting and the subsequent initial sketching phase. If you have any appropriate documents e.g. record drawings then these should be provided for the meeting and if possible please email them to us prior to the meeting if they are available in electronic format. You should also review your property title deeds for any restrictions/covenants that might apply.
An initial meeting normally lasts around an hour and is followed up with a summary of our discussions/advice given and a cost proposal for next steps.
At the initial meeting we review planning history, the proposed development and high-level views on the impact of Tree’s, Party Walls, Thames Water sewers, flooding and any other potential issues we feel may need to be considered. Where/if applicable we will recommend further evaluation by specialists.
We do not normally charge for an initial meeting.
Note that the advice provided is given in good faith and purchasing or other decisions should only be made after confirmation of relevant facts e.g. written responses from the appropriate planning authority and/or specialist consultants.
What happens next?
After the initial meeting we will provide you with a written summary accompanied by a fee proposal.
We will also advise of any specialists who may need to be consulted regarding the proposed development:
After the initial meeting and upon instruction we will produce initial floorplan sketches, usually hand-drawn, which show the spaces/rooms and their relationships so that you have the opportunity for commenting and refining the brief.
These are known as space plans and may be accompanied with sketch elevations where appropriate. These sketches are then evolved as required to create the brief upon which proper CAD plans are produced.
What happens next?
The next step is to undertake a measured building and where relevant a topographical site survey.
Upon appointment and agreement of the brief, we carry out a measured building survey of the property usually using hand-held electronic measurement devices.
If a site is particularly complex e.g. complex level changes, steep sites, irregular shaped buildings etc a full topographical site survey will usually be required using more complex GPS survey instruments. Services e.g. drains may need to be measured/investigated by specialists if we cannot easily identify them on-site.
As a result of the survey we may need to engage with other specialists to identify and assess possible implications of the proposed development:
What happens next?
From the survey data we will draw up the existing building plans and elevations upon which to base the proposed development drawings.
The survey data and initial hand-drawn sketches will be used to prepare preliminary plans and elevations, followed by a meeting with the client to review the designs and amend as required. This stage could involve a number of iterative steps and meetings during which the design solution will evolve.
Once the drawings have been finalised, they are submitted for Planning Permission to the Local Authority. A full planning permission submission usually comprises the following drawings produced using our Computer-Aided-Design (CAD) systems:
Additional documents and drawings from partner professional’s including Heritage Statements, Flood Risk Assessments, Site surveys, Arboricultural reports, Bat Surveys, Ecological surveys, Archaeological reports and others may be required which will be charged separately when/if necessary. We will usually obtain quotes from our specialist partners on a client’s behalf for approval prior to appointment.
When Planning Permission approval for your project has been granted, we will then produce detailed Working Drawings for your project.
We will liaise with a Structural Engineer (and any other consultants if/as required), to produce these more detailed drawings and a Technical Specification detailing the works required. These are then submitted to the Local Authority for formal Building Regulations approval.
What happens next?
The Building Regulations drawings and technical specification form part of the package of documents used by the builder to tender for the project. The other document that is a key part of this set of documents is the Schedule of Work which details the others items of work required as part of the project not detailed on the drawings as well as personal choice items such as floor finishes, decorating choices etc.
The project is usually tendered to a selection of builders by one of our partner Quantity Surveyors/Project Managers.
The Building Regulations drawings and association Technical Specification will usually form part of a Tender Package to builders in addition to a detailed Schedule of Work which details finishes and other personal choice items as well as detail which is not included on the Building Regulations drawings e.g. kitchen or bathroom suppliers detailed installation drawings.
We would introduce you to one of our partner Quantity Surveyors/Project Managers (QS/PM) who would work with you to produce the Schedule of Work and any other documents required for the tender process.
What happen next?
The QS/PM would then issue the tender to a selection of builders for them to quote.
On of our partner Quantity Surveyor/Project Managers (QS/PM) will prepare the relevant documents for Tender and will submit these to a number of approved contractors, including any of your choosing, for quotations.
The documents included as a minimum as part of a tender process are normally as follows:
Optional additional documents/drawings as/if applicable:
Once the tenders have bene received the QS/PM will equalise them and then you should be able to make the final decision as to which contractor you wish to engage. Contracts can then be drawn up together with payment schedules against an agreed project programme.
What happens next?
The project is let to the chosen contractor and construction may start after any pre-commencement conditions have been met.
Depending upon the client’s preference and the project size the QWS/PM may be retained on an on-going basis to manage the construction programme including regular quality check inspections and valuations. An appointed Building Inspector (usually via the Local Authority) will inspect works on-site at predetermined points.
A final check should now be done to ensure all pre-commencement conditions have been met before construction starts. We add the following checklist to our Building Regulations drawings as a reminder:
Asbestos & contamination
Thames Water build-over agreements
Construction & Design Management regulations (CDM)
Managing the project
Depending upon the client’s preference and the project size the QWS/PM may be retained on an on-going basis to manage the construction programme including regular quality check inspections and valuations. The QS/PM will provide cost for this service usually on a per week or fixed priced basis.
Inspecting the work
The project can now commence on-site once the Local Authority have been informed usually at least 48 hours before work starts and the first inspection is due.
An appointed Building Inspector (usually via the Local Authority) will inspect works on-site at predetermined points.
The usual points of inspection are as follows:
Note that the Building Inspector may require copies of documents during the construction process from the builder e.g. Beam & Block floor specifications/calculations. These are usually conditioned on the Full Plans approval notice. If the project is being constructed under a Building Notice all works will be the responsibility of the property owner/builder to ensure compliance and the builder should check with the Building Inspector prior to commencement of a particular element if in doubt.
On-hand to help
During construction Heritage Architecture will be on-hand to assist where required to assist in design matters and offer a pragmatic approach to solving issues on site that are often only uncovered once the building is opened up. Note that we do not normally charge for telephone or email assistance but may charge for site visits.
On completion of the various works certificates are normally provided that should be kept safe for future reference especially when the property is sold. These often include: