NH ARCHITECTS FAQ's Page

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Do I need an Architect?

Starting out on a building project can be a daunting, once in a lifetime decision. Instructing an architect can give you the peace of mind that you are in safe hands to guide you through the minefield of design, planning, building regulations and contractor negotiations. Architect's undergo extensive training and have on-the-job experience of the various aspects of getting a project out of the ground to practical completion. With nearly 20 years practical experience, we can guide and deliver your dream project.

What Does an Architect do?

First things first we'll discuss your project and listen and understand to establish what you're trying to achieve; We'll develop your ideas towards a working brief, looking at possible design outcomes, processes and your budget;

All good architects will develop viable solutions with cost savings and environmental considerations in mind;

They'll guide you through a whole range of processes - from coming up with an initial design to seeing the project through from planning and construction to completion.

What happens at the consultation?

We offer a free of charge no-obligation consultation, either at your property or in our office, depending on the project location & available access. This will give you guidance on all aspects of your project from viability, design and cost through to planning and construction.

How far would you travel?

Our studio based in Southsea means we are able to service the whole of the South-East of England;

How are your fees calculated?

Our fees are based on the different work phases associated with your project. We usually offer a fixed fee based on our understanding of the project's complexities and scale; We're always happy to talk to you to discuss estimates and fee proposals before you commit;

When do I need planning permission?

Normally if you're looking to build something new or make a significant change to a building you will probably need planning permission. There are exceptions, for example simple, small-scale domestic extensions are considered to be permitted development,along with other types of change of use developments and Class AA or Class Q exemptions.

For further information on whether you need Planning permission for your project, call us to discuss.

Do I need any other permissions?

You will almost certainly need Building Regulations approval for any changes to an existing building or new structure.

In addition you may require a party wall agreement if you have a shared boundary that may be affected by any work undertaken. In some instances other professionals may be required to supply additional information to satisfy planning requirements.

These might include Arboricultural Surveys, Environmental Reports, Impact Assessments, Drainage Reports and Surveys, Traffic or Highways reports and listing building reports. We work closely with recommended suppliers who can provide these detailed and specialist services.

Can you explain the process?

The RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) outlines various work stages which a project might undertake. These aren't always the same for each project but give an overview of some of the work that may be required:-

  • Stage 1 - Feasibility Study
    • This is the most important part of the project and where we can add the most value. We will undertake some preliminary appraisals to assess the options and feasibility of the project. This can range from a sketch design solution to a full feasibility study and will enable you to decide on the best way forward. We will identify the need for any approvals and other consultants, most commonly a structural engineer.
  • Stage 2 - Concept Design
    • Using the initial project brief we will develop outline proposals. We will present a number of initial concepts for you to choose from. The final design brief should reflect your aspirations and provide you with a home that adds value and improves your quality of life.
  • Stage 3 - Spatial Coordination
    • We will spend more time at this stage transforming ideas into something that can be built. This includes coordinating the work of other consultants into the designs. Once agreed, the design proposals will then be submitted for planning approval, if required.
  • Stage 4 - Technical Design
    • We will now prepare the technical drawings and a specification that will be used to price the tender and construct the building. We will then invite and appraise tenders from builders and administer the building contract on your behalf.
  • Stage 5 - Construction
    • Throughout the construction phase, we will administer your contract with the builder, carry out regular inspections, deal with queries, instruct any additional work required, monitor progress on site, keep track of cost, value the works and certify payments due to the builder. When the project is ready to hand over we will inspect and value the works and issue a certificate.
  • Stage 6 - Defects Liability Period
    • The architect will be available after handover and during any defects period to arrange for certifying the final payment.

The duration of a project will vary depending on the complexity of the project. We will provide clear guidance from the outset as to how long we expect a project will take.

Do you work on listed buildings?

We have extensive experience working on Listed Buildings and in Conservation Areas.

Can you manage a project?

We operate as lead designer and/or contract administrator meaning we are the main point of contact between you and the design team and/or the contractor. If we are administering the contract we oversee the main contractor's work to ensure the project is delivered and managed by the builder.

Do you know any good builders?

We work with a number of builders and contractors appropriate to the scale and complexity of your project and are happy to recommend these as well as being open to work on self-builds and with builders and contractors of your choosing.

Get in touch with us