Got A Question?

If you have any questions about using an architect, costs, planning permission or building regulations,
you’ll find your answer here.

What are building regulation?

Not to be confused with planning, the building regulations are there to ensure that buildings are made to a minimum quality standard for such things as structure, fire escape, drainage, ventilation, insulation and so on. The regulations can often seem unreasonable, but they are all there for very good reasons and should not be ignored. Building regulations matters are usually handled by building control officers in the Building Control Department of your local authority but increasingly private licenced inspectors are an alterantive. Unlike planning, there is no committee and you should not have to endure a long wait for approvals. Read more on our blog here.

What is permitted development?

For small extensions and alterations, your proposals may fall within your Permitted Development Rights which means that planning permission will not be necessary. There are a number of limits on height, volume (in cubic meters) etc. that your proposals need to be within for permitted development to apply. If your project is eligible for permitted development we would recommend that you apply for a Certificate of Lawful Development to confirm this. The application needs to be supported by suitable drawings and calculations and Architect Your Home can provide all the information to achieve this for you.

What is planning permission?

For domestic properties, planning consent relates to changes in the appearance or use of buildings such as an extension to a house, or a conversion of a house into flats. Planning should not be confused with the building regulations that are entirely separate – you can find a description of these in the next section. Planning can be one of the main hurdles to clear when thinking about making changes to your home and needs to be given consideration from the start. It may be possible that your project can be done within permitted development, your Architect Your Home architect will be able to advise you of this during your design visit.

How do I know I will like the architects 'style'?

All of our architects are fully qualified and highly experienced in residential design who are able to work across a range of designs and styles. The Architect Your Home system was created to actively encourage our customers to get involved with the design process, which ensures they get the design they want rather than having a style imposed on them. All projects start with a design visit – the interactive design session with your architect. During the visit you will be heavily involved in the design process – your ideas and feedback will be encouraged to ensure the final designs are exactly what you want. Architect Your Home has to date worked on over 8500 homes spanning a huge range of client briefs and styles. Have a look at our gallery to see some of the of projects that we have worked on.

What qualifications do your Architects have?

All of the architects within the Architect Your Home network are fully qualified ARB registered architects, which measn they have done 7 years of studying, hold comprehensive PI insurance and are bound by the code of conduct imposed on them by their professional body.  In addition to this all Architect Your Home architects have undergone a strict selection and training programme by Architect Your Home, to ensure they have the skills and sufficent experience we require. This way you can be certain you are getting expert advice from architects highly experienced in residential projects.

How do you choose which architect I'm going to get?

We make our selection of which architect or designer you will work with based upon a balance of a number of factors:

Locality: most people want someone relatively local who will have experience working on a similar property and with your local planning office before, which can be very useful if you need to apply for planning permission.

Availability: we try to ensure that you will be provided with an Architect who is able to come and see you within a week or so.

Relevant expertise: if (for example) you have a listed building, or a particular interest in green issues, we know which of our architects are particularly good with such projects and we will try to steer accordingly.

Personality: Our account managers know all of the architects and designers in the network very well and will try to match appropriate personalities based upon the initial conversation they have with each new customer.

Customer choice: The architects are profiled on the website and sometimes new customers will express a preference based upon what they have seen of them.

All of our architects are fully qualified ARB registered architects and all the architects are very experienced with residential design. They have gone through a full selection and training programme by Architect Your Home so whoever you work with, you can be assured you will be getting the best possible advice.

How big a document can I upload to the portal?

You can upload a document up to 10MB. If you have any problems call support on 020 8940 8575

When will I get my design visit drawings?

Your architect will need to take the drawings created during your design visit back to his/her office so that they can tidy them up, add any additional notes and make copies. Within a 3-4 working days they will upload these to the portal along with a list of the further services your project will require and send hard copies in the post to you.

When is my payment processed?

We have chosen Gocardless to process payments as it is a totally secure platform for our customers. At the end of every month or when a particular service has been completed, whichever comes first, you will recieve a copy of the invoice and Architect Your Home will send a request for payment to Gocardless. This payment will be debited from your account 3 working days later.

What can I expect from the design visit?

During the design visit your architect will spend time asking you questions and finding out what you want to achieve, then after taking some measurements to create a plan of your property as it currently exists, your architect will draw up design sketches to help you visualize the design options. He/she will guide you through the process, advising you on potential construction issues, planning policies, build-over agreements and party wall considerations etc. and how these relate to your project, so you are fully aware of what is required.  The design visit is an interactive session so you can input information about your lifestyle, express your ideas and give your feedback on proposed solutions. By the end of the visit you should have an exciting design for your project and know how the project is going to progress forward. A few days later you will receive hard copies of your plans and a order form listing the further services your project will require. This will show the number of hours required to complete each service, so that you clearly see the fees involved before you press the button to proceed.

What criteria do you use when selecting an architect for me?

We make our selection of which architect or designer you will work with based upon a balance of a number of factors:

Locality: most people want someone relatively local who will have experience working on a similar property and with your local planning office before, which can be very useful if you need to apply for planning permission.

Availability: we try to ensure that you will be provided with an Architect who is able to come and see you within a week or so.

Relevant expertise: if (for example) you have a listed building, or a particular interest in green issues, we know which of our architects are particularly good with such projects and we will try to steer accordingly.

Personality: Our account managers know all of the architects and designers in the network very well and will try to match appropriate personalities based upon the initial conversation they have with each new customer.

Customer choice: The architects are profiled on the website and sometimes new customers will express a preference based upon what they have seen of them.

All of our architects are fully qualified ARB registered architects and all the architects are very experienced with residential design. They have gone through a full selection and training programme by Architect Your Home so whoever you work with, you can be assured you will be getting the best possible advice.

How qualified are your architects ?

All of the architects within the Architect Your Home network are fully qualified ARB registered architects, which measn they have done 7 years of studying, hold comprehensive PI insurance and are bound by the code of conduct imposed on them by their professional body.  In addition to this all Architect Your Home architects have undergone a strict selection and training programme by Architect Your Home, to ensure they have the skills and sufficent experience we require. This way you can be certain you are getting expert advice from architects highly experienced in residential projects.

Will the architect be able to tell me if what I have in mind is feasible/the best possible solution?

Yes. The objective of the initial visit is to make sure you are fully informed and in the best position possible to make a decision and move forward. Your architect will review all the options that time allows with you and discuss the implications of each of these options. They will endeavour to answer any questions you may have about any aspect of the project and process ahead.

What is the structure of the company?

Architect Your Home is a licensed network. This means that architects apply to join our network and we select the best ones based on a set of criteria. All of our architects are fully qualified ARB registered architects and everyone in the network is experienced in domestic architecture and all have undergone a full training programme so you can be sure you will receive high quality, professional advice.

Do you offer free visits?

We do not believe anything constructive can be achieved in a free 45 minute sales chat. Our design visits are designed to get your project going as quickly as possible. What typically might take 6 weeks of to-ing and fro-ing between you and your architect can now be achieved in one of our initial four and seven hour visits. We ensure you are fully involved in the process, in control and clear about what is happening.

How do I know whether I need a 4 hour or 7 hour design visit?

It generally depends on the size of your project. As a guide, if you are carrying out a single project on one level then a 4-hour will be sufficient. If your project involved more than one element such as a kitchen extension and a loft conversion or a double storey extension we would recommend that you take a 7-hour. Any remaining hours that are not used during the design visit can be held in credit for further services.

What happens during the design visit?

During the design visit your architect will spend time asking you questions and finding out what you want to achieve, then after taking some measurements to create a plan of your property as it currently exists, your architect will draw up design sketches to help you visualize the design options. He/she will guide you through the process, advising you on potential construction issues, planning policies, build-over agreements and party wall considerations etc. and how these relate to your project, so you are fully aware of what is required.  The design visit is an interactive session so you can input information about your lifestyle, express your ideas and give your feedback on proposed solutions. By the end of the visit you should have an exciting design for your project and know how the project is going to progress forward. A few days later you will receive hard copies of your plans and a order form listing the further services your project will require. This will show the number of hours required to complete each service, so that you clearly see the fees involved before you press the button to proceed.

What are the next steps after the design visit?

Your architect will discuss recommended further services as laid out in the services menu before they leave you at the end of the visit. They will then send you a costed list of these and you can then select the services that you want you architect/designer to carry out for you. For example scheme level drawings or planning permission submissions. The menu is designed to be as flexible as possible allowing you to use your architect as much or as little as you want. To find out more about our further services click here

What is planning permission?

For domestic properties, planning consent relates to changes in the appearance or use of buildings such as an extension to a house, or a conversion of a house into flats. Planning should not be confused with the building regulations that are entirely separate – you can find a description of these in the next section. Planning can be one of the main hurdles to clear when thinking about making changes to your home and needs to be given consideration from the start. It may be possible that your project can be done within permitted development, your Architect Your Home architect will be able to advise you of this during your design visit.

Will I automatically be given planning permission if someone else in my street has done the same renovation or extension?

A common misconception is that because other houses in the street have, for instance, roof extensions, this will automatically mean that yours will be allowed. This is not always the case as planning policy does change over time. Your architect will be able to give you advice relating to current planning policy and help develop a design solution that will work for your particular circumsatnces.

What is permitted development?

For small extensions and alterations, your proposals may fall within your Permitted Development Rights which means that planning permission will not be necessary. There are a number of limits on height, volume (in cubic meters) etc. that your proposals need to be within for permitted development to apply. If your project is eligible for permitted development we would recommend that you apply for a Certificate of Lawful Development to confirm this. The application needs to be supported by suitable drawings and calculations and Architect Your Home can provide all the information to achieve this for you.

Are there different planning rules for a listed building?

Buildings of particular architectural interest are often officially Listed and thereby protected. Many residential buildings are listed Grade 2 which means that all alterations (not just those to the outside or original parts) have to be approved under Listed Building Consent. Making a Listed Building Consent application is similar to making a planning application – but with a few differences. The process may be handled by a conservation officer within your local planning department or might be referred to English Heritage and there is no application fee. As with standard planning permissions Architect Your Home has lots of experience in making listed building consent applications.

Are there different planning rules for a conservation area?

Living in a conservation area usually means that changes to the external appearance of your building will be a particularly sensitive issue. You may well need to complete an application for Conservation Area Consent as well as a Planning Application (and some times even when a Planning Application is not required). Again, it is advisable to check with your local planning department or ask Architect Your Home to do this for you.

What will I need in order to make a planning application?

For most Architect Your Home projects your design will need to be taken to the stage of scheme level drawings. Architect Your Home can help with the design, the drawings and even submit your planning application for you. As a guide it generally takes 8 weeks from submission of a planning application to a decision. Please note you will require a location plan (which Architect Your Home can source for a small charge) and a statutory application fee to accompany your application.

Will your architect know my local council?

More than likely, but not alwayts as there is often a high turn over of staff in the council offices, but they will know the local planning policy and that’s why we try to select an architect who is based locally to you.

What are building regulations?

Not to be confused with planning, the building regulations are there to ensure that buildings are made to a minimum quality standard for such things as structure, fire escape, drainage, ventilation, insulation and so on. The regulations can often seem unreasonable, but they are all there for very good reasons and should not be ignored. Building regulations matters are usually handled by building control officers in the Building Control Department of your local authority but increasingly private licenced inspectors are an alterantive. Unlike planning, there is no committee and you should not have to endure a long wait for approvals.

How do I apply for Building Regulations’ Approval?

There are two ways to apply for approval under the building regulations: the Full Plans method or the Building Notice method.

Building Notice Method: Most people find that a Building Notice is the simplest and most appropriate for small alterations or extensions to domestic properties. You will generally not need very much in the way of specific drawings for this and your builder can look after the process on your behalf while undertaking the works. To do this the builder simply completes a Building Notice form and submits it to the Building Control Department – this has to be done at least 48 hours before work starts on site. Once again there is a fee to pay, check with your local authority. Once the work starts, the building control officer will visit the site and make arrangements with the builder to visit at specific points through the progress of the works to check that the works are up to the minimum standard that the regulations require. He/she may also request supplementary drawings and information. When the works are complete, you can ask the building control officer to give you a certificate to confirm that everything has been done to the required level.

Full Plans Method: The ‘full plans’ method of application is more involved as it requires the submission up-front of detailed drawings that show a great deal of information, such as the fire escape routes, ventilation capacities, for instance. The full plans method gives you much more certainty and peace of mind as all aspects of the building regulations are approved in principle in advance, avoiding the slightly more hand-to-mouth process of the building notice. Architect Your Home can produce the full plans for you, if you feel that this is the preferred route.

How do I know I will get an architect that designs a style I want?

All of our architects are fully qualified and highly experienced in residential design who are able to work across a range of designs and styles. The Architect Your Home system was created to actively encourage our customers to get involved with the design process, which ensures they get the design they want rather than having a style imposed on them. All projects start with a design visit – the interactive design session with your architect. During the visit you will be heavily involved in the design process – your ideas and feedback will be encouraged to ensure the final designs are exactly what you want. Architect Your Home has to date worked on over 8500 homes spanning a huge range of client briefs and styles. Have a look at our gallery to see some of the of projects that we have worked on.

What is a party wall agreement?

It is very common with alterations to domestic buildings (even for detached houses) that action under the Party Wall legislation will be necessary. Works that effect a wall, fence or any part of your neighbour’s structure, within certain specified distances will require notification to adjoining owners in accordance with the party wall act 1996.

This notification can be a complicated procedure and can take a good deal of time and Architect Your Home are well placed to advise. We sometimes recommend that if you have a particularly complex issue with party wall legislation, you approach a ‘party wall surveyor’ who will be able to advise you and guide you through the process though in many instances Architect Your Home will be able to help you through the process directly.

What drawings will I need for my builder?

The scheme-level drawings, which are the ones produced to submit for a planning application, will form the backbone of the information your builder will need. However you will need to go through the drawings with your builder and architect before works start to agree the appropriate level of detail. Many builders do not need full detail drawings in order to build standard building elements. If the design contains elements that are particularly complex or unusual, it is sensible to get Architect Your Home to prepare detailed drawings of these elements. If you want more things added to the drawings or any additional help we are here to help you through the process.

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  • Best of Houzz 2017 Design
  • Best of Houzz 2016 Design
  • Best of Houzz 2015 Design
  • Best of Houzz 2015 Service
  • Best of Customer Service 2020
  • Best of Houzz Design 2019
  • Best of Houzz design 2020
  • Best of Houzz 2017 Service

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