FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

These are a selection of questions from clients.

 

 1. How much will the project cost? 

This is the most frequently asked question and the most difficult to answer.

Our current and potential clients have projects ranging from £20,000 to £235,000. I always ask clients to be clear about their budget, as without a figure I am  largely in the dark about what can be achieved. We know that it is sometimes difficult to disclose what your maximum budget is, but it is better known than hidden. That information is absolutely confidential.

We advise all clients for projects in excess of £30,000 to commission a Quantity Surveyor to provide an Element Cost plan. This allows you to make  decisions about what can be included in the project within a clear, rational framework. 

For higher value work we would always recommend a Quantity Surveyor to produce a Bill of Quantities and jointly oversee the tendering stage to ensure maximum effectiveness. It is very difficult to get small and medium scale builders to price up drawings to any set timescale. They are busy people and measuring quantities from drawings and pricing them is very time consuming. I find that a Bill of Quantities will often pay for itself, give you more certainty, and enable good comparative prices to be obtained quickly.


2. How do we find a good builder?

That is always a question of local knowledge and experience. Also, their performance depends on the type of work they are faced with. They are not great at everything. I rely heavily on experience and past performance in choosing the builders we ask to price up your job. For jobs with a Quantity Surveyor involvement there is an even better understanding of the local market and the builders who are  available to meet your programme. Timing is also important. Knowing when the best local builders have a window in their work programme is vital.


3. Will the work add value to my home or business?

I do not offer that advice. I always advise you to commission an experienced valuation surveyor if you want to know what value your building work will add to your home or business.


4. How much do you charge?

Following a free consultation we would provide you with a fee proposal to consider. We charge on the basis of a fixed price lump sum for most work with an hourly rate of £80 for time charged activity. Our lump sum price usually works out at between 5% and 7.5% of your total budget for work up to and including Stage 4, the Building Warrant or Building Regulations Application and up to 3% in addition for the further Stages 5 - 8 depending on complexity. 


5. How long will the project take to complete? 

That is the second most FAQ from clients. I know it is of the utmost importance to you. 

I will always produce a timeline for you at the earliest opportunity based on the project stages (see item 9 below). It will be based on my past experience and will include information based on the real performance of your local regulatory bodies, e.g. Planning Authority. The timeline will include my work and the work of the Structural Engineer and Quantity Surveyor if commissioned.   I have to allow for the response time of the appropriate local authority and any other regulatory body. The absolute minimum time for Planning is 8 weeks and for a Building Warrant/Regulations, 6 weeks. You should add to that, the time needed by the chosen contractor to mobilise and then carry out the work on site. All of this is affected by  the value and complexity of your project.


6. How do you work with the Structural Engineer and Quantity Surveyor?

I ensure all of the members of the design team, when commissioned, are closely integrated into the project. Excellent day to day communication and exchange of information are critical to a successful outcome. 


7. Why do we need a written agreement?

Our insurers and the Architects Registration Board (ARB) require us to enter into a written agreement with all clients. Our work in Scotland is based on the Scottish Conditions of Appointment of an Architect, Small project version ASP2018. For our work in England we use the R.I.B.A. Conditions of Appointment for an Architect for a Domestic project 2010 (2012 edition)or the R.I.B.A. Concise Agreement 2010 (2012 revision) for non-domestic clients.. A written agreement gives more certainty to you as the client and me as the architect. 


8. Can I commission and pay one stage at a time?

Yes, we are happy to offer clients this option.


9. What are the project stages?

Stage 1: Prepare the brief and ascertain your requirements. 

Stage 2: Initial Design and technical appraisal

Stage 3: Work to a Planning Application.

Stage 4: Work to the Building Warrant/Regulations Application.

Stage 5: Construction documentation.  

Stage 6: Tender administration*. 

Stage 7: Contract administration*. 

Stage 8: Post Completion*.

* For larger or more complex projects we would advise appointing a Quantity Surveyor who would carry out some of the work in these stages.