It is appreciated
that many people have never been involved in a building project before
and will need help and advice with the process ahead. You may find that
the sections below will assist. If not, just get in touch as most questions
will be easily answered.
Local Authority Consents and Permissions might I need?
If you are altering the exterior of your property, you
may not necessarily need Planning Permission depending on the size and
the situation of the proposals. However if you live in a flatted property
or your building is in a Conservation Area, even the smallest alteration
to the exterior may need Planning Permission. Similarly if you are changing
the use of a property, you will almost certainly require Planning Permission.
Even if you do not need Planning Permission it is a good idea to apply
for a Certificate of Lawful Development, which gives you some confirmation
in writing and you can keep in case it is ever queried by a future buyer
of the property.
Listed Buildings Consent
If your building is listed, most alterations or extensions
will require Listed Buildings Consent. Very minor internal alterations
which do not affect any features may not require it. However if you do
require it, an application is normally made at the same time as a Planning
Other Planning Consents
There are some other planning consents which could occasionally
be required. These would be identified at an early stage of a project.
You will normally be required to check with your own Solicitor or in your
Title Deeds as to whether there are any burdens placed upon the property
which may affect your project.
You need to obtain a Building Warrant from the Local Authority
before carrying out any significant construction. For this, you need technical
drawings and specifications prepared in a form which satisfies the Local
Authority. Once submitted, the application is assessed by the Local Authority
and any questions or queries are directed at the person making the application.
Once these questions are answered, the Building Warrant is approved and
you can prepare to start building.
Grant Bulloch Architect can make applications for Planning
consents and Building Warrants on your behalf. It cannot be guaranteed
that any of the Planning consents will be approved but GBA has had an
extremely high rate of success in the past.
other consultants might I need to appoint, other than an Architect?
If any structural changes are being proposed or if the
building is new, you will need to appoint a Structural Engineer. The Engineer
is required to carry out calculations and details of the structural elements
to satisfy the Local Authority at Building Warrant stage that the structure
is stable and strong enough.
A Quantity Surveyor is a cost consultant who can advise
on construction costs much more accurately that your Architect usually
can. As the drawings are progressing, the QS can then prepare "Bills
of Quantity" - documents itemising every element of the proposed
building. These allow Building Contractors to price the construction work
more accurately and are then used as a basis for the cost of any changes
which invariably take place during construction. You will also find it
is easier to get Building Contractors to submit a price if you have Bills
of Quantity prepared. A Quantity Surveyor will also deal with any financial
claims made during the building work by Contractors. It is essential to
employ a Quantity Surveyor on large projects, although with building costs
rising it is becoming more common to employ a QS on house extensions and
Mechanical and Services Engineer
On bigger or more complicated projects, you may need to
appoint a specialist engineer to specify and detail services such as heating
or electrical installations. House alterations and extensions do not usually
need this level of detail.
It may be neccessary to employ someone to provide an electronic
survey drawing of the site or existing building, before design can begin.
Projects which are likely to involve more than 4 persons
on site at any one time or last more than 30 days on site, 500 person
hours or involve demolition, will require the appointment of a Principal
Designer to oversee and advise you on the Health & Safety issues.
This appointment is required under the Construction (Design and Management)
Regulations 2007, which also places a number of other important obligations
on clients to ensure that the Health & Safety issues are adequately
resourced and addressed at an early stage.
Grant Bulloch Architect Ltd. can advise you which of these
appointments are likely to be necessary, and obtain fee proposals on your
services will an Architect provide?
are split up into a number of Work Stages, which tie in to the various
stages you will need to go through as the project progresses.
Preparing the Design
GBA will advise you on statutory controls and procedures
that might apply and which you are obliged to comply with, such as Planning
Applications, Building Regulations, Health and Safety etc. GBA can deal
with the various authorities on your behalf.
Preparing to Build
With the approvals in place GBA can prepare more detailed
drawings and technical specifications, and can recommend an appropriate
form of building contract. Tenders can then be obtained from a number
of builders, or a price negotiated on your behalf.
Building in Progress
GBA can monitor the builder's work against the contract
agreement in terms of achieving the quality required, the progress of
the work and costs.
This is an abbreviated list of the normal services that
can be provided. There are a number of other additional services possible,
including specialist reports, surveys, planning advice, interior design
and even model making.
GBA can offer
a very flexible service, from simply undertaking an initial feasibility
study to preparing a full package which includes Planning, Building Warrant
and detailed drawings, finding suitable builders and carrying out site
inspections - all usually for a fixed price fee.
are the professional fees likely to cost?
Fees can be calculated
in a number of ways.
Hourly or daily rates can be charged when the extent or
complexity of the project is unknown or services cannot be related to
the construction costs. Often a Feasibility Study is charged using an
Fixed Lump Sum
Fees will be based on the amount of work that GBA Ltd.
will be required to carry out for you. This is only possible for a clearly
defined scope of work and services which are fixed at the outset. Later
variations to either will vary the agreed sum.
Percentage Fee Apportionment
Fees can be calculated on a percentage of the assessed
or actual construction cost at each work stage. Rates will vary for different
building types and if the construction is new or to an existing building.
Grant Bulloch Architect will confirm in writing all proposed
fees in advance and before any work is carried out. An approved standard
contract document will be used so that both Architect and Client clearly
understand how much will be charged and what services will be provided.
project is very small, a lump sum fee is nearly always preferred. This
gives clients the peace of mind that costs are unlikely to change.
do I start?
Contact Grant Bulloch
for an initial consultation. This is free and will usually take place
at your house or property.
Think carefully about what you would like to acheive with your project.
You do not need to try to design it yourself, but do consider what quality
of design you would like and what sort of spaces you want to create. Look
at the many magazines and newspaper articles which are published regularly
and highlight examples of buildings which you like, or perhaps ones which
you don't. This allows us to develop a conversation about the possible
design of your project and also gives an indication of what services you
will be likely to need. Think about the budget that you are likely to
have available to spend and any other important factors which could affect
the design, but please remember that exact timescales and building costs
cannot be estimated at this initial meeting.
long will it take before I can start building?
The length of time it
takes before you can start building will obviously depend on a huge number
of factors. Events are often beyond the control of both Architect and
Client, and so the timescale will evolve as the project progresses.
Brief and Initial Design
This is the part of the project which is often rushed but
is actually the most important. Changes made later on in the project will
often be costly in terms of time and money. It is worth investing a number
of weeks to ensure the design is right.
When the drawings are ready and an application for Planning
Permission is made, it can take the Local Authority anything between 2
to 3 months to make a decision. If the design is contentious or involves
a Listed Building, it can take much longer.
It can take 3 to 4 weeks to prepare these drawings, but
if specialist input is required from other consultants, it can take longer.
Once submitted, the Local Authority will usually take anything between
one and two months to assess the application, however this varies considerably
around the country. The City of Edinburgh Council is currently taking
an extrememly long time to assess applications.
Detailed Drawings and Specification
To prepare specification documents and drawings for pricing
can take around a month.
Tender and Pricing
You should allow at least a month to obtain a price from
a Contractor. This will vary depending on whether formal tender procedures
are followed or a price is negotiated.
Building on Site
This varies depending on the size and complexity of the
project, whether the work is phased and the time of year it is carried
out. An average small house extension may take approximately 3 to 4 months
from start to completion.
You could assume that it will take around a year from the
inital design to the completion of the building work.This estimate is
based on a domestic house extension. For other project types and sizes
please contact GBA for advice.
much will the building work cost?
As you can imagine,
this is a near impossible question to answer without knowing much more
about the project.
Costs can vary considerably, depending on the quality of
the construction and the standard of finishes, the design and the type
of the contractor chosen. As a general rule of thumb, you should allocate
around £2000 to £2500/m2 for a good quality single storey
house extension. On top of this you should include the cost of any kitchen
and bathroom fitting out, plus of course VAT. To obtain more detailed
budget costs at this early stage, it would be sensible to employ a Quantity