At EN Architects, we understand that the architectural design process can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be! We’ve compiled a handy list of frequently asked questions from “why hire an architect?” to “what are the stages of the design process?”. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, feel free to drop us a line, we offer free consultations and are always here to help!
WHY DO I NEED AN ARCHITECT?
Discover why hiring an architect is essential to bring your vision to life.
As trained professionals, architects have the experience to guide you through the design and construction process with clarity and definition. They can help avoid unexpected issues that may arise during the project.
Architects can also assist you with navigating the complex approval processes, ensuring compliance with planning and building regulations, and the party wall act if required.
With their expertise, architects can add real value to your project by taking your ideas to the next level, creating something with greater depth and character.
At EN Architects, you’re in safe hands given our experience with residential, commercial and community-led projects which have varied in scale, complexity and style.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN APPOINTING AN ARCHITECT?
Choosing the right architect is crucial for your project's success. When appointing an architect, consider both their experience and personality, as different architects approach problems in unique ways.
To ensure your architect is qualified, check the ARB register of architects in your area.
Only registered professionals with years of training and continuous professional development can legally use the title 'Architect'. Don't hesitate to do your research to find the perfect architect for your project.
Remember, chemistry is key when inviting your qualified architect to co-create your dream project. Get to know your architect by asking about their previous projects and clients, and consider asking for recommendations.
WHAT ARE THE "ARB" AND "RIBA"?
The ARB (Architects Registration Board) is responsible for registering and regulating architects in the UK. They maintain a comprehensive list of qualified architects on their website.
Before appointing an architect, it's important to check their registration with the ARB to ensure they are qualified to use the title 'Architect'. Here’s a direct link to our ARB registration page.
The RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) is a global professional membership body driving excellence in architecture. They support their members and the public to deliver better buildings and places, stronger communities and a sustainable environment.
Membership of the RIBA is optional, but many architects choose to take membership alongside their ARB registration. We’re proud to be RIBA members.
HOW ARE YOUR FEES WORKED OUT?
Our fees are determined by the extensive experience we have gained across a range of sectors and locations.
We consider the project's brief and use our understanding of similar projects to calculate the time required for completion. With this information, we provide a fixed fee that allows for reasonable design development and alterations.
We believe in providing our clients with transparency and peace of mind, which is why we offer a fixed fee.
To ensure accuracy, we discuss the project in detail to understand its unique nuances. The more open and honest we are about your project, the more accurate our pricing will be.
Rest assured that our fees reflect the value we bring to the project through our expertise and commitment to delivering the best outcome for our clients.
DO YOU CONSIDER THE WORK YOU DO TO BE GOOD VALUE FOR MONEY?
The right architect will invariably save you money throughout the life of a project. In addition, our expertise in sustainable design can help reduce ongoing energy and maintenance costs for your building.
Our experience of delivering complex projects on-site means that we are aware of the problems that can beset construction projects and we design out those issues from the start.
We are transparent with our fees and provide detailed fee proposals at the beginning of the project, so there are no surprises or hidden costs later on.
We are confident that our work provides excellent value for money and will deliver a building that exceeds your expectations.
Don’t take our word for it, why not see what EN Architect clients have to say.
WILL I GET CHARGED EXTRA FEES?
We aim to be transparent about any potential additional fees, and we will discuss and agree upon these before proceeding with any extra work. Our fee proposal will outline any exclusions and provide clarity on how additional fees will be calculated.
We understand that changes and alterations to the design are a natural part of the design process, and we can generally allow for these without incurring extra fees if they are promptly carried out.
If the project's brief changes significantly, or unforeseeable circumstances arise, it may be necessary to discuss additional design time.
Rest assured, we will always communicate with you before undertaking any additional work that falls outside of our initial fee proposal.
HOW FAR WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO TRAVEL?
We have experience working in many different locations within the UK from Brighton to Scotland and we judge each project on its own merits.
For the right project and the right client, we would be willing to travel anywhere.
GIVE ME AN IDEA OF THE INITIAL CONSULTATION PROCESS?
Our initial consultation process begins with a phone call or email, where we ask you to provide as much detail as possible about your project.
Depending on the type of project, we may arrange a site meeting to discuss the brief further and understand more about you and the scheme.
We provide a detailed fee proposal that defines the scope and cost of our appointment, based on our understanding of the brief.
Please note that we do not charge for this initial consultation. Book your consultation today!
WHAT IF I AM NOT SURE ABOUT WHAT I WANT OR HOW IT SHOULD LOOK?
That's what we're here for!
Our design process is very collaborative, and we will work closely with you to ensure that the final design meets your needs and vision for the project.
We have plenty of experience working with clients who have no, some or even too much idea of what they want, or what they think they want.
Our job is to guide you through the design process and present you with a range of options, images and materials so we can understand what works for you.
We will walk you through those options and help you understand the pros and cons of each with recommendations. When something doesn't work, we change it, until we have a design that is just what you were looking for the whole time.
Even if you never knew what that was.
WILL WE NEED ANY OTHER PROFESSIONALS FOR THE PROJECT?
Some of the other professionals that may be required for your project could include structural engineers, mechanical and electrical engineers, quantity surveyors, landscape architects, party wall surveyors and planning consultants.
Depending on the complexity of your project, you may need to engage one or more of these professionals to ensure that all aspects of your project are properly considered and planned for.
In addition you may require further surveys either to supplement and support a planning application, or ensure we have sufficient information to build safely and diligently. Such surveys could include tree quality and protection, heritage, transport, ecology, asbestos and drainage.
Each project is different, however we will be able to advise you at an early stage which consultants or surveys you may need, if any, then help you to coordinate their input into the project. We’re happy to share our network of trusted experts or work with your chosen professional. We’re team players!
We always allow for the coordination of multiple quotations in order to ensure you receive good value for money. We then resolve the appointment of your chosen consultants with instructions and payments made directly by the client.
Throughout the design process, we help you navigate the project and act as the main point of contact and project lead for all those appointed to work on the project unless we are requested otherwise.
WHAT STAGES OF THE DESIGN PROCESS ARE THERE?
We follow the 2020 RIBA Plan of Work Template for all of our projects.
This clear and robust guide means that we deliver each project to the same exacting standards and ensures that our repeat clients receive consistently high-quality service.
For those clients who may be undertaking their first, and perhaps only construction project, have clarity and peace of mind throughout.
A summary of these stages is:
Stage 0 Strategic Definition
This stage culminates with the fee proposal which identifies the scope, strategy and outcomes of the project.
Stage 1 - Preparation & Briefing
Surveys, the appointment of consultant team if required, capacity & feasibility studies, development of brief, submission of sketch options.
Stage 2 Concept Design
Develop Architectural strategy, evaluate project programme, develop a preferred design.
Stage 3 Spatial Coordination
Coordination of wider consultant information, preparation of planning information, submission of the planning application.
Stage 4 Technical Design
Production of detailed technical information, preparation of building regulation submission, tender to building contractors.
We split Stage 4 in to two stages;
Stage 4a deals with building regulation submission, coordination and approval. This will usually involve the appointment and coordination with a structural engineer and may include discharging planning conditions.
Stage 4b deals with the detail & tender process, specifically with detailed construction information suitable for building the project, liaising with multiple builders, agreeing a price and signing a contract (between you and the builder)
Stage 5 Construction
Monitor progress of construction on site against specifications and programme, resolution of on-site queries, action client requested variations.
If we are taking on the role of contract administrator, work may also include; issuing contract instructions, valuing progress on site, issuing payment certificates & chairing and minuting regular site meetings.
Stage 6 Handover
Coordinate building handover from contractor to client
Stage 7 - In use
Monitor and coordinate resolution of building defects, evaluate and action project outcomes.
We realise this can feel daunting for you so we’ve created a handy downloadable guide to help you through the process which we can guide you through as much or little as you need.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "PLANNING PERMISSION" AND BUILDING REGULATION APPROVAL"?
Planning permission permits you to build, extend or change the use of something in principle. The permission is based on the detail included within the planning submission and will be referenced in the approval document. If any of that detail changes then you may need to amend the approval. Planning permission is the culmination of Stage 3 in the RIBA plan of works.
Building regulations approval is a separate process from planning permission and approval is required to ensure that building works comply with the relevant technical standards and regulations. This is Stage 4a in the RIBA plan of works.
The building regulations approval process involves the submission of detailed plans and specifications of the proposed building works, and inspection of the works during construction to ensure compliance with the regulations such as structural design, drainage, accessibility, sustainability and health & safety.
Building regulations approval is essential to ensure that your building work is safe, energy-efficient, and meets the necessary standards. It generally is not sufficient information for a builder to price or build from as there is much more information required at Stage 4b to agree finishes and construction details.
We can advise you very early on in the discussion about whether your project will need to be submitted to building control and support you through the detailed design process.
CAN YOU GUARANTEE THAT YOU WILL GET PLANNING PERMISSION FOR US?
As architects, we are experienced in preparing planning applications and have a good understanding of local planning policies and the factors that influence planning decisions.
We will work closely with you to develop a design that meets your requirements while also taking into account local planning policies and guidelines.
While we cannot guarantee planning permission, we will use our expertise to give your application the best chance of success.
We have successfully achieved planning approval on Grade 2 buildings, conservation areas, mixed-used developments, new builds and where others have failed, if you’re looking for inspiration check out our work
Ready to get going?
Or have some more questions?
Feel free to contact us for a free consultation