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Frequently asked questions

Can I/We approach builders before obtaining planning permission and building warrant approval?

Most builders will be unable to provide an accurate cost without a drawing package. They may provide an estimate but without seeing the full design and the method of how we construct the project this will often be very unrealistic. The builder may not be aware of the full facts and intentions that would influence the overall costs. Its best to have a full set of drawings to allow for accurate pricing and also allow you to compare quotes based on the same level of information.

Are your fees expensive?

A quotation from architectural practices with overheads can be in the region of £5-10k. We are considerably cheaper. Most will offer a excellent service, but their fees are often between 10-15% of the estimated build cost. At the other end of the spectrum, some companies offer a budget service for around £500, however drawings can often be of poor quality and will have insufficient information for your builder (DONT TAKE THE RISK!). Many are often unqualified and uninsured. The Home Architect is a registered practice with ARB (Architects Registration Board) and therefore has a high standard and code of conduct to maintain. We also carry full professional indemnity insurance appropriate to the size of projects we procure.

Do your fees include Council Planning & Building Warrant fees?

At The Home Architect we COMBINE our fees SO THAT YOU DONT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THE END FIGURE. We ensure our clients are aware of the costs involved in advance of committing to the work and the submission of applications.

Is a Structural Engineer included in the price?

If your project includes structural alterations, you will require the services of a Structural Engineer. We will advise you if this is the case. We keep their fees separate and we seek for them to quote and invoice directly. As stated previously we work with Structural Engineers on a regular basis and can recommend their services for you.

What's the difference between Planning and Building Standards Approval?

Clients often confuse planning permission and a building warrant or think they are the same thing. Unfortunately, this is not the case and the two are entirely separate. Some projects only require one while others require both. We will advise you which permissions you need to have in place before you commence your building project. A planning application gives opportunity for proposed development to be considered in the context of its local setting. Some things that the Planning department will consider include if your development overlooks or overshadows neighbouring property as well as proposed colour and materials of finishes. Some small alterations can be carried out without the need for planning permission and this is known as Permitted Development. We can advise you if your proposals will require permission or not. A building warrant is normally required if you intend to erect, alter, extend, demolish or change the use of any structure. Building Standards concerns all aspects of the structure both internally and externally. They check for compliance with the Building Regulations to ensure public health and safety, conservation of fuel and power and that facilities are provided for those with disabilities.

How detailed are your drawings?

All our drawings are produced for the purposes of obtaining a 'building warrant'. Therefore, the same drawing package will be sufficient for your builder to accurately price and build from.

How long will it take the council to process my applications?

Planning applications can take up to eight weeks to be decided. This is because of statutory legislation. Your application will be placed in their queue system and during this time we cannot influence its progress and it is out with our control. Building Control usually take around a month to two months to respond although this can vary from council to council. Typically, they tend to be slightly quicker. All of this is worth bearing in mind when anticipating start dates for your project.

Can I start building works before obtaining approval?

We would by no means advise that you start the works prior to receiving approval. Anyone who does so, does so at their own risk. It is a legal requirement to have the necessary permissions in place prior to works commencing. It is your responsibility to ensure you have obtained the necessary permissions before instructing a building contractor to start works on site.