This page gives an overview of the processes involved in realising a project from inception to completion. Individual projects may vary and stages that apply to one may not be relevant to another.
The process normally starts with a telephone call and an enquiry to establish whether we can help with a particular project. We don’t advertise and much of our work seems to come through established contacts or recommendations. We have a chat about the project and the processes involved, and arrange a convenient date to visit and view the site. We do not charge for our initial visit and this is intended to let us meet, to see the site, and to discuss the project.
Assuming we are appointed for the project, in order to prepare design proposals, we need to know the size and layout of the existing building or site. Sometimes we will survey the site ourselves, or alternatively we may seek the services of a land or buildings surveyor to prepare the necessary information. It is important to have accurate drawings of the existing building or site as these will form the basis of all drawings prepared by us, and in many instances, those prepared by other consultants.
We analyse the project requirements and endeavour to address these within a drawn proposal. We often provide a series of sketches for discussion which endeavour to provide other opportunities which a Client may not have considered, and which will ideally benefit the user of the building. Our skill is to provide possible solutions to existing problems as well as anticipating the future use of the building. In some instances this may be a lengthy stage of the process as depending upon the size of the project and the number of people involved, there may be a number of issues to be resolved as part of this process. Occasionally we use architectural models to show the design.
After we have agreed a scheme we will prepare a submission to the Local Authority for Planning Consent for which a fee is payable to the Local Authority. The Government has set Local Authorities a target of 8 weeks for determining planning submissions. In certain circumstances planning permission may not be required and an application for a Certificate of Lawfulness will provide the necessary documentation. There are various criteria which must be fulfilled to qualify for Lawful Development instead of Planning Permission and we address these on a project-specific basis. This advice is an overview only, and guidance should always be sought from the relevant Local Authority as Planning Consent is a legal requirement.
In certain circumstances, Planning Consent is not forthcoming and a Client may decide to Appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. We are familiar with this process, but wherever possible seek to advise clients of what may or may not be acceptable to the Planning Authority, and thereby generally avoid the need to Appeal a decision.
To satisfy the technical requirements for the construction of the works, an application for Building Regulations Approval is submitted. Again, there will be a fee payable directly to the Local Authority, although a decision is normal within a 5 week period for smaller projects, 8 weeks for larger ones. At this stage we will add technical details and specifications to the drawings which will inform the Local Authority Building Control how the works will be undertaken, and how the project will be built. Building Regulations approval is a legal requirement, although we occasionally work with independent Building Control Authorities on larger projects.
Party Wall Agreements
“The Party Wall etc. Act 1996” covers a variety instances in the extension of an existing building, or erection of a new building. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) provide guidance on how the Act affects “someone who either wishes to carry out work covered by the Act (the “Building Owner”) or receives notification under the Act or proposed adjacent work (the “Adjoining Owner”)
”. Click here
to read the PDF document provided by the ODPM. Depending on the final scheme, the drawings submitted to the Local Authority for approval would be adapted by us, and used to form Party Wall Agreements with the neighbour(s).
Vicki is a qualified Party Wall Surveyor and a member of The Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors. We can provide the relevant service ourselves, or assist with the appointment of a Party Wall Surveyor where applicable. Agreements are generally fairly straightforward, and should be completed 2 months prior to construction commencing. The Party Wall Regulations apply not just to works to the party wall, but the depth and proximity of foundations or other works to the boundary/party wall line, and excavation within 3 or 6 metres of a neighbouring building or structure depending upon the depth of excavation or foundation. The following is extracted from the ODPM guidance document:
"If you intend to carry out any of the works mentioned in paragraph 4, you must
Adjoining Owners - see paragraphs 7 and 8. You must not even cut into your own side of the wall without telling the Adjoining Owners of your intentions - but see paragraph 6. The Act contains no enforcement procedures for failure to serve a notice. However, if you start work without having first given notice in the proper way, Adjoining Owners may seek to stop your work through a court injunction or seek other legal redress. An Adjoining Owner cannot stop someone from exercising the rights given to them by the Act, but may be able to influence how and at what times the work is done -
see paragraph 10".
Once Building Regulations approval has been obtained, we can commence a Tender package. This is a set of information sent usually to 4 contractors to obtain competitive prices for undertaking the works. It includes construction drawings and details, and normally either a Schedule of Work, or a Specification. A period of 1 month is normally given to prospective contractors in which to prepare their tenders. We also give advice relating to a suitable type of Building Contact to be used for the project.
We will administer the Building Contract, and monitor the progress of the works, carry out site visits, and certify the valuations for payment. At completion of the project we will issue the relevant documentation to the Contractor and complete all necessary paperwork as relevant (this includes the process often referred to as "snagging"). After a period of normally six months to a year, we return to a project to check for any "defects", and arrange with the contractor to rectify these where relevant.
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations have recently been revised, and the new regulations came into force on 6 April 2007 (CDM2007). They are intended to reduce the number of serious injuries and fatalities occurring in the construction, use, and demolition of a building. There are certain obligations that various members of the design and construction team are required to fulfil, but crucially the emphasis is now on Clients to ensure that their obligations under CDM2007 are met. Where relevant, a CDM Coordinator should be appointed at inception of the project.
Subject to the type of project, a Client is require to appoint a CDM Coordinator who will be necessary to advise on, and help fulfil a Clients obligations under CDM2007. The HSC (Health & Safety Commission) “Managing health and safety in construction; Construction (Design and Management) regulations 2007” Approved Code of Practice notes the following:
“Except where the project is for a domestic client, HSE [Health & Safety Executive] must be notified of projects where construction work is expected to:
(a) last more than 30 working days; or
(b) involve more than 500 person days, for example 50 people working for over 10 days.” (item 15, page 3).
“A client is an organisation or individual for whom a construction project is carried out. Clients only have duties when the project is associated with a business or other undertaking (whether for profit or not). This can include for example, local authorities, school governors, insurance companies and project originators on Private Finance Initiative (PFI) projects. Domestic clients are a special case and do not have duties under CDM2007.” (item 28, page 7)
“Domestic clients have no client duties under CDM2007, which means that there is no legal requirement for appointment of a CDM Coordinator or principal contractor when such projects reach the notification threshold. Similarly, there is no need to notify HSE where projects for domestic clients reach the notification threshold. However, designers and contractors still have their normal duties as set out in Parts 2 and 4 of the Regulations, and domestic clients will have duties under Part 4 of the Regulations if they control the way in which construction work is carried our (see paragraph 9).
” (item 31, page 8).
It is important to remember that the Regulations are designed to ensure good practices of health and safety are applied to the project throughout its duration, from inception, through construction, during the life of the building, as well as its demolition. We assist with the appointment of a CDM Coordinator where applicable.
As Architects we are normally the representative for the Client, and will assist with putting together a suitable team of consultants including a Structural Engineer, Party Wall Surveyor, Quantity Surveyor, Mechanical & Electrical Engineer, and CDM Co-ordinator. There are a number of consultants with whom we enjoy working with on a regular basis.
Useful Links: (Turner & Hoskins Architects are not responsible for the content of external websites)
Party Wall etc. Act (The Act)