Richard Webster, the owner of Prospect Design, answers your questions…
I’m planning a building project where do I start?
A lot of potential clients ring us unsure of how to start the process. We’re always happy to talk to clients about projects and give informal advice over the phone. The next stage is to arrange a free, no obligation, initial consultation allowing us to have a chat about the project, discuss options, highlight any issues and get a real feel for what it is you are looking for. We can then provide a fixed price quotation for the works.
How do I know if you’re the right company to help with my project?
The consultation not only allows us to get a feel for the project you are planning but is an opportunity for you to ask us any questions which we are always happy to answer.
Will my project need planning approval?
Not all projects require planning approval. Depending on the size and other constraints many extensions, loft conversions and indeed barn conversions fall under PD (Permitted Development) meaning that a formal planning application will not be required.
What are the key stages of the Project?
The most successful projects start with a good design brief that establishes what the project hopes to achieve. This is different for every client. Draft sketches then show how your goals will be accomplished, bearing in mind there may be different ways to achieve what you are looking for.
The first regulatory hurdle is planning (if required) and then building regulations approval. We’ll act as your agent to oversee both processes.
What’s the difference between planning and building regulations?
In simple terms Planning is; can I? Building Regulations is; how will I? By submitting a planning application you’re seeking permission from the local planning authority to allow your project to go ahead. Building Regulations relate to how the build is physically constructed and set standards for structural integrity, energy efficiency etc.
We’ve got our approvals what next?
It’s time to put your project out to tender. The most common issues can arise when a builder is asked for a quotation too soon. Detailed drawings are a great starting point but if these are backed up by a Schedule of Works detailing exactly what you require, quotations will be more accurate. I would always recommend getting at least three quotations from different builders before deciding on one.
How quickly can we get started?
Understandably, as soon as you decide that you want to go ahead with your project there is an eagerness to get the ball rolling. Clients can sometimes be surprised by how many steps there are in the process and the time required to complete each one. However, in rushing, issues can arise that could potentially delay the works and increase costs. Following the process and understanding the timescales will ensure that you achieve the best value for money.