Jump to content

Ask An Architect- free advice for anyone interested!


Recommended Posts

  • Replies 61
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Hi everyone,    I am an Architect, and would love to answer any questions you have on planning, design, construction etc etc.    I am starting a blog called AskAnArchitect, and will feature the an

Great question,    The most common mistake of newbie developers is definitely biting off more than they can chew.   Without this sounding too much like a pitch, the way to avoid this is to consult

Damian,    Thanks for the question- really great one.    There are 2 main reasons why I would advise using an Architect for PD developments:  1) Even when works are covered by Permitted Developme

Posted Images

Great question, 

 

The most common mistake of newbie developers is definitely biting off more than they can chew.

 

Without this sounding too much like a pitch, the way to avoid this is to consult an experienced professional before you make an offer. As well as being able to spot possible showstoppers, they will be able to explain the process and team required to deliver the project. They can then help you get the team in place in a timely manner if you choose to make an offer so that you can hit the ground running.

 

Most architects are happy to do an initial meeting to scope out a property for free if they think that there will be future work with you, so take them around when you meet the agent and listen to what they have to say. 

 

Cheers for the question- 

 

Oli

Oli-Lowrie.jpg
Link to post
  • 2 weeks later...

What's the benefit of an architect when the works planned are within PD? 

 

Are there still forms and processes you need to go through even if it's PD? Does an architect actually add any value in this instance or is it something say a builder could do for you?

Damien Fogg
MRICS CeMAP CeFA

Email: damien@theepinvestor.com

Web: www.theEPinvestor.com

Link to post

Damian, 

 

Thanks for the question- really great one. 

 

There are 2 main reasons why I would advise using an Architect for PD developments: 

1) Even when works are covered by Permitted Development, it is usual to apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness to cover the works. The reason to do this, as well as for your own peace of mind that you have interpreted the law correctly, and are not in an Article 4 restricted area, is that when you come to sell, the other side's Solicitor will ask for it. I can see that if you are focused on But-to-Let, this is less of an issue, but I can imagine that if you wanted to go back to your mortgage company once the additional value has been added and try to increase your borrowing, they might want to see the CoL. The CoL process is very similar to a Planning application- your Architect draws up existing and proposed Plans, Sections and Elevations and submits via the Planning Portal. 

 

2) The second reason to use an Architect is that unless you have a very trustworthy builder, it is always better to have drawings and a spec to price and work from. Although it is possible to get 3 builders round and describe a 3m rear extension or a loft conversion, when they return their quotes, it is difficult to see what they have really priced for, and therefore compare the quotes accurately. You want them to all be comparing like-for-like in terms of materials + specification. An Architect's role (after submitting the CoL) would be to put together a 'Tender pack" which should describe the building in a way that allows builders to accurately price. This will also contain the engineer's drawings which can be submitted to Building Control. 

 

The good thing about this pack of information is that if you get into a dispute with the builder on site about what he has allowed for, you have a  decent set of information which acts as a record of what was agreed. I would advise using a JCT contract and referring to these drawings in the contract to make sure that there is no misunderstanding. Therefore, in conclusion, the value added by the Architect is in giving you clarity about exactly what you are getting from your builder in exchange for your hard earned cash. 

 

I would be happy to send you through a CoL set and a tender pack for jobs that we have done that are just Permitted Development. 

 

I have one final point which is that if your Architect knows about Prior Approval (a slightly different version of PD) then it is possible in certain cases to apply for much larger extensions. 

Oli-Lowrie.jpg
Link to post

Hi Oli,

 

Great to have an Architect that we can poke and prod!

 

I would love to see CoL set and tender pack if you could send me them too.

 

To my question - how much would one expect to pay an Architect for the services you mentioned (Drawings, submitting CoL, Tender pack, spec to price and work from, engineers drawings) for a fairly standard Victorian/Edwardian house loft extension? 

 

Thanks

 

All the best

 

James

 

Damian, 

 

Thanks for the question- really great one. 

 

There are 2 main reasons why I would advise using an Architect for PD developments: 

1) Even when works are covered by Permitted Development, it is usual to apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness to cover the works. The reason to do this, as well as for your own peace of mind that you have interpreted the law correctly, and are not in an Article 4 restricted area, is that when you come to sell, the other side's Solicitor will ask for it. I can see that if you are focused on But-to-Let, this is less of an issue, but I can imagine that if you wanted to go back to your mortgage company once the additional value has been added and try to increase your borrowing, they might want to see the CoL. The CoL process is very similar to a Planning application- your Architect draws up existing and proposed Plans, Sections and Elevations and submits via the Planning Portal. 

 

2) The second reason to use an Architect is that unless you have a very trustworthy builder, it is always better to have drawings and a spec to price and work from. Although it is possible to get 3 builders round and describe a 3m rear extension or a loft conversion, when they return their quotes, it is difficult to see what they have really priced for, and therefore compare the quotes accurately. You want them to all be comparing like-for-like in terms of materials + specification. An Architect's role (after submitting the CoL) would be to put together a 'Tender pack" which should describe the building in a way that allows builders to accurately price. This will also contain the engineer's drawings which can be submitted to Building Control. 

 

The good thing about this pack of information is that if you get into a dispute with the builder on site about what he has allowed for, you have a  decent set of information which acts as a record of what was agreed. I would advise using a JCT contract and referring to these drawings in the contract to make sure that there is no misunderstanding. Therefore, in conclusion, the value added by the Architect is in giving you clarity about exactly what you are getting from your builder in exchange for your hard earned cash. 

 

I would be happy to send you through a CoL set and a tender pack for jobs that we have done that are just Permitted Development. 

 

I have one final point which is that if your Architect knows about Prior Approval (a slightly different version of PD) then it is possible in certain cases to apply for much larger extensions. 

Link to post

Attached is CoL set for a dormer extension. There was already a small dormer there, but we took off roof and rebuilt with full width one. 

 

I will PM you the tender set. 

 

Architect's fees for extension work tend to be around 10% of the construction value, but if you want me to look at something specific, I can give you an exact quote. 

 

 

 

 

0091-Dormer ext COL.pdf

Oli-Lowrie.jpg
Link to post
  • 1 month later...
  • 5 months later...

hi oli - fantastic to see you making yourself available in this forum and cheers to you!!

 

as you know, the fashion is now to remove internal walls and open up kitchens/living spaces etc. however, until relatively recently it was the fashion to build with everything enclosed - with all of now trying to get rid of those pesky internal walls. can i ask why people did build in such an enclosed manner previously as i expect there must be some good historical architectural/stylistic reason??

 

many thanks, john

Link to post

John,

This is a bit of a guess, but I think it is a slow evolution from the traditional British model of the 'upstairs-downstairs' split where the functional areas were out of sight and out of mind. I think that displaying your kitchen would have been considered a bit vulgar in a society where preparation of food was not associated with the upper classes. 

 

It gives us lot something to do now- imagine if all those lovely crumbly Victorian propereties were already open plan!

 

Oli

Oli-Lowrie.jpg
Link to post

Hi Oli, hopefully this isn't a daft question but we are thinking of purchasing a bungalow chalet which has two bedrooms upstairs but no bathroom. My question is if an extra dormer extension was added would this create enough space in your opinion for an upstairs bathroom? With my limited understanding I think this is a fairly common thing to do with this house type and I'm assuming it's cheaper than a full blown extension as you are only messing about in the roof? I hope this is enough information but shout if not.

Thanks.

Alex

Link to post
  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Oli,

 

Please can you or anyone else recommend the best use of space in this Victorian terrace in Birmingham?

 

The property consists of 3 bedrooms, but the 3rd is only accessible from the 2nd bedroom, and is quite small. The bathroom is downstairs at the back.

 

Currently my plan is to refurb throughout and leave it as it is and rent out as a single let. But should I be considering anything else to potentially add some value?

 

Thoughts and comments appreciated!

 

Regards,

Neil

IMG_1347.JPG

Link to post
  • 7 months later...

Hello, I’m hoping someone can advise me. I am refurbishing my Victorian mid terrace house in London. Our architect designed a move of the lower ground floor bathroom from the back to the front of the house with a plan to run the foul water into the drain in front of my house. The project began with a contract in place with a recommended builder. The builder has established that the front drain cannot accept foul water (Thames water regulation) and that a drainage channel needs to be dug through the rest of the basement at an additional cost in excess of £5000.

 

Who should pay this? The architect for not researching properly? The builder for beginning the work without establishing the facts? Or me out of my contingency fund as this is “unexpected”.

 

i would appreciate all help with this.

 

Thank you,

James

Link to post
  • 5 months later...

Hi Oli

 

I am in the process of purchasing a semi detached 2 bed in Sheffield, the plan being to flip it. I was going to do a single story kitchen extension only and velux out the loft space to make a third bedroom but having spoken to my real estate agent up there (I am London based) he said a dormer room with ensuite would mean he could definitely add £20k to the sale price once done. My question is how much does a dormer realistically cost to do. The width of the house is approximately 4.3m and the depth 9.9m but not sure how much of the 9.9m is usable as it will have one side pitched still if that makes sense. 

Do you have any idea how much it would cost to build the dormer and is there are formula you use to work it out?

 

Any advice greatly appreciated. 

 

Link to post
  • 4 weeks later...

We live in a 1920s colonial revival cottage and the exterior steps on the side of the house are a mess. We want to rebuild them but can't come up with a simple design solution. The driveway must have been dug after the house was built because the steps end above the drive way. There are steps going down both sides when coming out of the door, and the steps to the right end at a drop off (see pic). Should we just make steps going straight down from the door exit, or close off the steps that go down to the right (right as facing outside of door), and make two flights going down to the left (the first ending where they end now at the original ground level) and then make another flight going straight down to the driveway level? We also don't know if we should use brick, concrete, or stone to build the steps with. The front door steps are brick, and I am assuming these are the original side stairs which are concrete, and we want the steps to look like they were original and from the 1920s. Hopefully you can decipher my confusing note - any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Side_Stairs.jpg.146ab433aa4a6068c9b1d26dd479e4bd.jpg

 

 

Link to post
  • 1 month later...

Whilst I appreciate the skills and advice of Architects, as I'm more of a 'builder', I tend to only turn to my Structural Engineer who has plenty of 'hands-on' experience. I find it very useful to get one of these to come round and do a viewing with you, might cost you £100-£250 but listen to their words of advice as they can just look at a property and give very useful advice. You want to choose one that can translate to layman terms. Keep in mind, I have a lot of building experience, and can spot most stuff without assistance.

Link to post
  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Olie,

 

First i’d Like to thank you you for offering this support.

 

i am renovating my apartment myself, it is a two levels apartment with a penthouse flair but not quite a penthouse. It is located on the last floor of the building with the living room having a gallery open all the way into the second floor giving it a ceiling height of 6.25 meters! 

 

I am contemplating to cover one side of the room from top to bottom with Cement cladding but I am not able to find anything that quite fits what I need. I am not looking for cement Optik I want to have real cement panels. I am considering the following solution:

 

1- drill holes and install steel screws in the wall at a distance of 40-50 cm from each  other and 2 cm from the wall 

2- connect the screws with steel wires to form a metal web/structure that would carry the concrete

3- build a wooden wall using long wooden panels infront of the metal web and pour concrete behind it to fill all the gap and let dry.

4- once it is dry I remove the wooden panels and get a concrete layer fixed to the wall with 2 cm thickness and having the wooden structure printed on the concrete surface facing the room.

 

i am not an architect and I need an expert to tell me if this is possible or if the whole idea is absolute no sense :) 

 

i would be very happy to hear your thoughts on this.

 

thank you and best regards. 

 

Sharbel.

Link to post
On 8/5/2016 at 7:26 PM, oli_lowrie said:

Hi everyone, 

 

I am an Architect, and would love to answer any questions you have on planning, design, construction etc etc. 

 

I am starting a blog called AskAnArchitect, and will feature the answers on the blog too. 

 

Kind Regards, 

 

Oli

 

Link to post
  • 3 weeks later...

 Hi O

                   Relieved to find some professional advice. I am a 74yr old widow possibly having a hip operation in the next 6 months and would like sqeeze a downstairs toilet and possible shower the  onto a patio adjoining the lounge at therear of the house. It adjoins onto a single storey extension of nexdoori a hip shaped roof.  The dimensions  are likely to be 4ft by 7 ft 6ins approx, my measurements!.

                      Reading your letters , I am sure I should get an architect but not sure of the initial cost. I have a few concerns about the idea but need to discuss them with a non interested party.

                     Can you advise.

                             Cynthia Davidson

Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...