"A good architect actually pays for themselves more than once"
Why use an architect?
Architects are highly skilled professionals, with training to turn your aspirations into reality. They are able to guide you through design, planning, and construction, ensuring legal requirements such as 'Planning Permission' and 'Building Regulations' approvals are also secured.
We undergo 5 years of university education and 2 years of practical training before being eligible to hold the title of 'Architect', which is protected by law in the UK (Architects Act 1997). This period of rigorous training equips us not only to think creatively, but also to do so in a way that satisfies and sometimes re-interprets the Client brief, developing conceptual ideas into detailed drawings.
You need to be confident that the architect you commission is capable of delivering your requirements. Discuss your project with us here.
What services do architects provide?
As architects, we are equipped with a broad palette of skills. We generally provide the following services:
Investigating the feasibility of a project
Developing design proposals
Applying for statutory approvals
Preparing construction information
Obtaining tenders for building work
Administering the building contract
We will also bring in other professionals within our network as part of the construction process to provide services connected with the project, such as quantity surveyors, structural engineers, and interior designers.
The stages of work
Our schedule of services are normally structured according to the RIBA Plan of Work 2020. This is an 8 stage process covering all aspects of your build. A helpful chart explaining these stages can be found at here.
The plan notes activities which take place at each stage. A brief summary of this is included for your reference below:
Stage 0 - Strategic Definition
This is an opportunity to consider your requirements and establish whether there is need for construction work. Where a clear need is established, an Architect will then be selected and engaged. It is important to note down your desired outcomes, referred to as your 'Strategic Brief'. This will evolve but at this stage, plays an important role in starting the design process.
The success of your project will be largely influenced by the quality of your brief; how well you are able to communicate your requirements to your team.
Stage 1 - Preparation and Brief
Having analysed the site and context of the project, we undertake some preliminary appraisals to assess the options available and the feasibility of each. Our sketch design proposals will help further develop your brief and enable you to decide the best way forward. It will also help identify the need for other consultants. A clear understanding of timing and budget will influence these initial sketches so will be defined early on.
Stage 2 - Concept Design
We take your Initial Brief and develop it into a Final Brief, presenting our conceptualised solutions to achieve your requirements. If appropriate, we will liaise with the Local Planning Authority for this. The project brief should be finalised at the end of this stage and should provide a detailed, accurate reflection of your requirements. Changes to your brief after this point will demand reassessment of budget, programme, and quality.
Stage 3 - Developed Design
Alongside other consultants, your conceptual design is developed into a package of design documentation at this stage. Typically this will include existing and proposed site plans, plans, sections, and elevations, often accompanied by a Design and Access Statement. Once finalised and agreed, this package is submitted for planning approval.
Stage 4 - Technical Design
Under a traditional building contract, contractors require a detailed package of information in order to accurately price a construction project. This usually includes setting out drawings, detailed plans, sections, elevations, a specification, schedule of works, and schedules for fixtures and fittings. The planning process also provides an opportunity to populate schedules so once consent is in place, we can prepare a comprehensive suite of information and get a price for a complete project. We will invite and appraise tenders on your behalf. We will also submit information for Building Regulations approval where required.
Stage 5 - Construction
Once a builder/contractor has been appointed, we will formalise a contract with both parties stipulating the time, cost and particulars of the project. We act as contract administrators, checking the build is in accordance with the contract documents, certifying payments and extensions of time, and responding to queries. Once the project is ready for 'handover' we will inspect and issue a 'practical completion' certificate.
Stage 6 - Handover and closeout
6-12 months after 'practical completion', we will certify the final payment to conclude the 'rectification period'. This period identifies any defects arising from shrinkage and workmanship, which the contractor will make good. The 'retention', a sum of money in the contract is held back until this is carried out.
How much do architects charge?
Cost is always an early consideration, and our instinct will often push us towards the lowest fee. It is important however, to consider value, particularly in the case of such a long-term and costly investment like construction work.
Fees will vary depending on the location and complexity of each project. Typically though, architects charge between 7-10% of the overall construction cost of the project.
Clients/End-users generally need more than just a drawing service. A good architect will offer budgetary advice and consider technical issues from the outset, and often raise the value of land by a multiple of their fee, through the design process and by securing planning consent.
At KUFIC, we have developed a formula to calculate fees based on the time it takes us to prepare the documentation for your project. This makes us competitive, without compromising on service.
We are covered by a proportionate level of professional indemnity insurance, maintained for the duration of the liability period after project completion, 6 or 12 years depending on the terms of the contract.
To obtain a quotation for your project, speak to us here!
How much can I extend my house?
We are often asked by householders how much they can extend. Rules vary across regions depending on how local authorities apply planning rules, and many councils have their own set of policies for domestic work.
Having said this, there are a set of rules for householders, developed by the Government, which apply throughout the UK, known as 'Permitted Development' or 'PD' rights. These rules are useful to know before considering having building work done. They can be found here.
There are rules governing how far out you can extend, how high you can go, and exceptions. It is also useful to check other extensions close to your property, as this is a strong indicator of what the planning department will approve. However, there is a risk that properties have extended either without or beyond their permissions, so this method is by no means universal.
Speak to us here to find out if you can extend.
Through a process known as 'Prior Approval', householders can potentially double their extension. You may be able to extend 8m out on detached houses, and 6m on terraced and semi-detached houses. Once again, there are exceptions, but we have helped numerous householders double their space through Prior Approval.
The application still requires drawings, which we can help you with. It is also dependent on the absence of objections from adjoining neighbours, so we advise clients to speak to their neighbours early on, as their views will impact costs and timescales. Useful guidance can be downloaded here.