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Design & Planning Services

This initial stage encompasses all of the necessary elements to create a developed design that suits your needs and provides the aesthetic that you are looking for.  It is made up of four different phases:


  1. Survey & Brief

  2. Feasibility Study

  3. Concept Development

  4. Planning

1.  Survey & Brief


Once we have had our initial consultation and you are happy to proceed with us for your project we will arrange a digital measured survey to be carried out at your property.  It is critical that an accurate representation of the existing building is captured so that any future proposals are based on reality and not assumptions which can cause problems later in the design and even construction process.  These can cost anywhere between £1000 - £1500 depending on the size of your property and can normally be completed in one day.  After this the survey drawings will normally be produced within one week.


Once we have these survey drawings in our possession we will arrange a Briefing Meeting with you at your house.  Here we will go through the particulars of the project and this will help us to gather all the necessary information to prepare the Feasibility Study.  We will bring a copy of the survey drawings with us and we will use these to sketch out some initial thoughts on space planning and general mass and scale of the proposed works.  This meeting can take 3-4 hours but we have found that it is a very useful meeting to make sure we are all on the same page avoiding any unwanted confusion about your exact requirements.

Feasibility Study
Survey & Brief

2.  Feasibility Study

This may seem like an unnecessary step in the design process however it is crucial to the success of the project to understand your brief and to highlight to you what is possible and what is not within the context of your budget, statutory approvals, etc.  We charge a fixed fee for this study which will be agreed prior to commencing any work.  The document will be compiled using hand sketches, basic 3D models, reference images, etc. 


The Feasibility Study aims to:


  • Define your brief clearly and concisely 

  • Explore all of the possibilities for your project

  • Highlight any budgetary or statutory implications that might affect your project

  • Outline a way forward that meets your brief and budget

Armed with this information you can make pro-active decisions rather than reactive decisions being imposed on you later on in the design process.  Clients can explore the viability of different design options before undertaking any significant expense allowing you to answer the big questions sooner rather than later.  This also ensures that when we do commence the next phase of design, we are starting from a point of confidence that the dream can actually be turned into a reality.

Normally we aim to provide you with various options in terms of design, scale and budget to ensure that all ideas are explored and expressed.  You might find that you like certain elements from each option that you would like to merge into one option to take forward to the Concept Stage.  A rule of thumb will be for each option will be that:


  1. Option 1 might meet your brief and your budget but there may be some compromises

  2. Option 2 might meet your brief but not your budget

  3. Option 3 might look to expand on your brief and your budget

As part of the Feasibility Study we will assess the following:

  • orientation of the site/building and the best position to construct your new extension/house

  • internal spaces, interior design and landscaping

  • planning policies to make sure that we are aware of all relevant restrictions affecting your area in terms of Permitted Development, over-development, over-shadowing, Conservation Area or Listed Building requirements, etc.

  • legal requirements that you might need to comply with including Building Control compliance

  • basic cost estimate analysis of each design option 

  • sustainability and how you can save the environment & money on energy bills. We will discuss with you the benefits of Low-Energy construction, Passive House, EnerPHit Retrofit Standard, etc. 

  • ecology and what native species might be present in your area that may need to be protected which could affect the project timelines

  • health & safety and what your responsibilities as Client are and how we can guide you through this process including CDM Regulations 2015 in the UK and the Construction Regulations, the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Regulations in Ireland

We will arrange a meeting to review the Feasibility Study document and agree a design option to develop in the next stage - Concept Development.  We will also agree a design fee at this stage for the services you require from us.

Concept 1.png
Concept Development

3.  Concept Development

Having chosen a design or different elements from each option to take forward we now concentrate all of our efforts on developing the initial sketches into more comprehensive concept drawings, confident in the knowledge that we are all on the same page.  We will arrange a suitable time to meet you at your property to review the document.


This document will be a more refined version of the previous Feasibility Study with more information added to help you make those important design decisions before we move to the planning drawings stage.  It is still possible to make design changes at this stage however a complete re-think may incur additional design fees.

Included in this concept presentation will be more detailed sketches, more intricate 3D render images and a virtual walk-through of your design.  Virtual reality software is an extremely useful tool in helping Clients to fully immerse themselves into the design.  Should you not choose to have your project modelled in 3D, we can of course prepare 2D drawings but we do have a preference to work in 3D.  Please see below some feedback from a previous client on the benefits of 3D.


“From my perspective it's been literally invaluable, and for the last year or more I've used it almost daily.  I find it very easy to visualise plans, but I've still found it incredibly useful for getting into the detail of how things will look, in particular head heights, structural details and awkward spaces.


My wife isn't so comfortable with plans, so she's been using the VR capability that comes with BIMx to walk the house, and for her that's really brought it to life.


I'm also absolutely certain that if the house hadn't been designed in 3D, we wouldn't have had such a good outcome. Particularly in the kitchen with the complexity of the floor, wall & overhead glass.”


D. Stevens, Ealing

4.  Planning

Having agreed all of the elements of the design at the Concept Development phase, we can then commence preparation of the Planning phase.  From the Feasibility Study we will have advised you of the advantages of submitting for Pre-Application Advice to the Local Authority Planning Department.  There is normally a fee of approx. £100-£250 for a meeting with a planner to discuss your proposals.  This is a good opportunity to:


  • ask for an assessment of whether there seems a reasonable chance of getting permission

  • discuss site problems such as roads, footpaths, power cables, watercourses, sewers and telephone lines

  • ask about potential problems such as noise and traffic and whether the council might impose conditions to overcome these problems rather than refuse planning permission.


Pre-Application Advice is not always necessary, especially if your proposals are straight forward or are being carried out under Permitted Development.  We will always advise you on the best way to proceed.

We will advise you if any specialist consultants are required and will help you appoint them, although their fees will not be included in the architectural fees.  For most standard planning applications you will not require any specialist consultants.

The planning process normally takes between 8-10 weeks.  We will liaise with the Planning Department on your behalf.

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