How we work
Whether you’re creating a residential property or a commercial build, an architecture project is a journey which warrants a collaborative process to make the most of your investment. As a RIBA Chartered Architectural Practice, we believe in guiding you to make the best-informed decisions and get the greatest value from your building project.
Our guidance starts here, with a quick overview of what working with an architect involves.
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In order to kick off a successful partnership, we make sure to spend a good amount of time really getting to know our client and what it is they need from their project with us.
Building this relationship and laying this critical groundwork will be the key to your project’s success. Together we create a brief and out team conduct a preliminary appraisal - assessing your objectives, outcomes and aspirations and visit the site any architectural complexities in order to prepare the most productive plan of action.
How much is this going to cost?
Construction is expensive. However, we work with your budget, and help you to set out a tailored building project budget with the aim to ensure your project becomes a reality. This covers aspects like building costs, consultancy fees, designs, expenses, council approvals, expenses (see below), VAT and a margin for unforeseen works.
Our architect fees will also depend on the size and type of your project, and again we will work with you to determine what will be the best fit your budget and scope.
For larger projects, we would recommend a Quantity Surveyor or cost specialist to prepare a full ‘cost plan’ mapped to key milestones, to plan as precisely and comprehensively as possible.
Final construction cost are determined by the tender costs. This means we send the details of your project to our building and contractor partners who will then estimate accurately the over all price, based on your complete project design.
Brick Architects provide a from inception approach to all projects, whether you have a blank canvas or already have a scheme in mind. We can provide a full service tailored to your specific project needs:
0. Initial Contact
We are happy to discuss any project you may have and provide an initial consultation. We can then see if we can help or advise something more suitable.
This stage will help identify your brief and make sure all things have been considered. At this stage we can also review alternative options and ways forward by asking the right questions.
1. Project Set Up
We inspect and appraise the site using the information readily available and provide some initial feed back. This can be in either written or sketch form to help show our interpretation of your requirements. This is a very important stage of the scheme as it sets up the basis of the whole project.
We will be able to suggest any further information we may need moving forward and advise on other consultants and professionals you may want to consider speaking to, define each role and help complete the design team.
Any initial information will collected at this point and usually consists of a detailed measured survey, site photos and any reports we will need to undertake the concept generation.
2. Concept Generation
We develop a selection of sketch scheme proposals that address the project brief, using a mix of hand drawn, CAD drawings and computer generated 3D visualisations depending on the project. At this stage we will usually show a number of iterations to give options to aid discussion with our clients. For the extra detail we can develop our digital fly throughs of the scheme.
From these early stages we also run feasibility studies to consider construction, budget, heritage and conservation - and where needed liaising with the local planning authority to address any complexities in the proposal in the form of a pre application.
3. Design Development
Once the preferred direction is chosen, the Concept Design is then developed into a complete proposal. The outcome of the Developed Design stage is a spatial design and a comprehensive collection of planning drawings. Combined with any required additional statements, reports, or a cost plan from quantity surveyors or cost consultants, we can then finalise a full planning submission.
Once we have worked through these 3 stages, and when all parties are happy, we can submit any relevant planning applications.
We have extensive in house knowledge of current planning policy and systems. Our multi disciplinary approach allows us to work with clients on projects of any size or scale. We have strong working relationships with various Local Authorities in order to provide clients with a good level of communication throughout the consideration process of an application.
Commonly, we provide the below various planning types including listed building applications. A bespoke service is always tailored to every client;
Building Regulation Applications
Building regulation is different to planning permission. Building regulation seeks to ensure that any new building work is made in a way to protect peoples safety, health and warfare. It also is designed to improve the conservation of fuel and power, protect and enhance the environment and promote sustainable development.
Most new construction will need to show some sort of building regulation compliance. It can be done with either a building notice or a full plans application to the Council or an approved inspector.
We have a wide range of experience dealing with building regulation and can provide advice on current regs and produce full sets of drawings to meet the national guidelines.
4. Technical information
Following planning approval, the Technical Design stage can begin: consisting of in-depth specifications, drawings, and project schedules to show compliance with Building Regulations and Health and Safety considerations. Any discharging of outstanding planning conditions will also be carried out and any party wall awards be negotiated.
The information package is then ready to be sent to contractors to be costed. We recommend approaching 3-5 contractors to get a firm price. We are able to source contractors and help compile a list where we can suggest any suitable matches along with any existing builders you may already have a relationship with.
Once the tender returns have been submitted by the contractors, we review their quotes along with any cost consultant working in the design team and make recommendations.
Once a contractor has been selected a formal contract will then need to be put in place. We are able to help find the most suitable building contract and can also provide contract administration services for the duration of the agreement.
During the construction process we are able to provide on site support and hold regular site meetings to maintain communication aid the contractor while on site. Where acting as Contract Administrator - Regular valuations and contract administration duties will be carried out ensuring the contractors monthly valuations are in order and aligned with the contract documents, and all contract clauses are administered up until the final certification.
When all construction is complete, and after a final site inspection by us, we compile a Snagging List and record any unfinished or unsatisfactory work. Once these have been addressed, we issue a Practical Completion Certificate.
The contractor will only receive final payment once all outstanding and any arising defects (within the first year) have been addressed.