Generally, we would note that an architect’s service is different from a builder’s, land agent’s, surveyor’s or architectural technician's in that architects are trained to develop both OVERALL AND DETAILED DESIGN JUDGEMENT at all levels (as well as having the corresponding technical skills) and this extends from complete buildings through to the detailed design of interiors, fittings and furniture, if required. In all cases we seek appropriate and economic solutions to meet our Clients’ architectural needs.

Following an initial consultation with the Client, and instructions to proceed further, a typical approach for a small or medium-sized project (whether an entirely new building, a conversion, or an extension: i.e. to a listed building or otherwise) would be as follows:


If necessary, we would re-visit the site or building; prepare an essential measured and photographic survey.


Produce accurate outline drawings (1:100 or 1:50 scale) of possible “sketch” schemes in plan, section and elevation. Complicated or unusual solutions would be illustrated with either hand-drawn or computed perspectives: according to the complexity of the project and client-need.

Following client-discussion, and further development if necessary, we would hold informal meetings with statutory authorities (responsible for Planning and Building Regulations) to discuss our design proposals, alternatives and preferences: seeking support and opinion. One such meeting would almost certainly be held with an Area Planning Officer and with a Conservation Officer, if appropriate.

We would report back to the Client and agree the next procedure. At this stage, very approximate construction costs would be discussed. If detailed and accurate cost predictions were needed, we would recommend that a Quantity Surveyor be asked to quote for the service of providing such professional estimates.


Except for specifically limited works, Planning Permission is required. We would prepare the necessary Planning Application and Drawings and submit them on behalf of the Client. The statutory authority has up to eight weeks to give its decision.

Because of our careful consultation with Planners beforehand, it will have been established in advance whether or not the scheme design is likely to be acceptable to the Planning Officers. However, in the unlikely event of a planning consent refusal, we are able to lodge an Appeal on the Client’s behalf and have done so previously with success


Following Planning Permission, we would expand the Planning Application Drawings to produce Detailed Drawings together with specification clauses which would then form the documents for submission under the Building Regulations. These would include all the essential information required by the Building Inspector, including: construction materials and structural proposals; drainage; thermal insulation; natural lighting and ventilation; mechanical ventilation. We would then make the Building Regulations Application on the Client’s behalf.

Complex buildings (or buildings on difficult sites or with special requirements) sometimes require the additional professional services of specialists. In these cases we would advise on the need to include the services of, for example, a Structural Engineer and /or Mechanical Services Engineer. On occasions a Landscape Architect could be required to advise on extensive external works. We would assist in obtaining fees quotations from such specialists, if required. 


Following the Submission for Building Regulations Approval, we would extend the drawings and specifications further as a basis for inviting Tenders, or, when agreed, for negotiating a Construction Cost prior to commencement on site. This additional design and detailed information would be in respect of all the remaining work required, typically (for traditional construction): carpentry, roofing, joinery, plastering, electrical and plumbing work, mechanical services, specialist finishes and decorations. 

We would invite Tenders on a strictly competitive basis, or negotiate on the basis of knowledge of current reasonable costs. A Schedule of Rates would normally be included to control any unforeseeable items and any extras or exclusions the client may require later. On the occasion when it is agreed to appoint a particular contractor direct, our negotiations would maintain the same need for quality controls on the Client’s behalf.

We would discuss the Tenders received and recommend the adoption of the most suitable contractor, or, advise once a sensible negotiated price had been established. We would prepare the Contract including an agreed Period for the work and, usually, a Fixed Price. 

We would then administer the Contract on the Client’s behalf including certifying the value of work completed at pre-agreed regular intervals for payment. Such valuations would normally allow for 5% of interim value to be retained in our Clients' Retention Fund Account during construction. After completion, at least 2½% of value would be held for an agreed time – normally for between three and six months - and then paid by us to the contractor after the rectification of any defects. 




It is not a requirement of our undertaking the Stage 1 of services that we be engaged for all subsequent stages. We prefer to be involved through to the completion of a project but, clearly, our work can stop at any sensible point, as required. Should additional work be required, or a more limited involvement be preferred, we can operate to instructions at £45 per hour: e.g. for making sketch plans, general arrangement drawings, computed 3-D imaging, and the like.


The cost of taking Site-levels, if required, and of any special investigations and complex surveys, if necessary, would be charged at cost. Similarly, drawings-printing, photo-copying, photographic materials, travel, telephone and fax are charged strictly net: i.e. also at the actual cost to us. We do not charge V.A.T. 


Normal conditions of professional service apply. A client-invoice for each particular Work Stage is submitted when Drawings / Reports / Applications are completed, as appropriate, for submission to the Client and/or to the Local Authority. Settlement by the client is required within the normal 30 days period.


Local Authorities (District Councils, Borough Councils and City Councils) make statutory fees charges for considering Planning Application drawings and for examining Applications for Approval under the Building Regulations. These fees are very similar throughout the authorities. The actual amounts payable depend on the nature and size of Planning proposals and the nature, size and sometimes the cost of proposals at Building Regulations stage. 

Such fees charges are payable by the Applicant at the time of making the Planning or Building Regulations Application. Additional charges are also payable by the Applicant to the Local Authority`s Building Inspectors for their inspection services visits to site immediately before building construction commences. 

We are able to advise the general level of all such charges at an early stage of our services. We will advise the actual amounts required and when each will become due as our design services progress. 


Following a discussion of the actual services required, and to avoid any possible misunderstanding of mutual obligations, you may wish to enter into a formal Agreement for our Services or to provide a brief letter accepting our formal staged fees proposals, and the acceptability of our typical services approach. Alternatively, you may prefer to sign, date and return a copy of our proposal letter.