What does an architect do?

An architect is there to help guide you through the process from getting the all important design right to getting any necessary consents such as planning permission, conservation area consent, listed building consent and building regulations. Depending how you choose to work with us will determine our level of involvement but we are happy to discuss the options open to you, either over the telephone or as part of an initial meeting in your home.



How do your fees work?

It depends how you want to work with us. We offer a flexible service as we realise that all projects are different. If you want to use Urbane Design Architects for a specific service we will cost this up based on time taken however if you want us to have involvement throughout your project then it is likely that we will suggest a percentage of build cost. Either way we are happy to discuss the options with you and work out the best solution for your project and budget.



Can I get away with using an architect for just the design?

In most cases no. There are a number of different stages in a project that will require the input of a professional and there are a number of pitfalls that you can fall foul of, so it’s often better to get professional help from an architect at some key stages. Using an architect can help you avoid some costly mistakes and save you money in the long run.



What sort of work do you specialise in?

We do the vast majority of our work in the residential sector covering projects from house reconfigurations and extensions through to major renovations on listed buildings and new build work. We have a great deal of experience in all aspects of residential work and have a great track record of working with local authorities to get positive planning application outcomes.



What areas do you work in?

We work across London and the home counties. We have a great deal of experience in many boroughs from Windsor and Maidenhead to Reading. We also do a great deal of work in Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, Chiswick, Richmond and Hounslow.



How do I find out what is possible?

Just give us a call and we will have an initial conversation about what you want to do. After that we can come to see you (free of charge) to discuss your project in more detail and discuss some initial design ideas. Some of the things discussed at the initial meeting are design, statutory consents such as planning permission, conservation area consents, listed building consents, building regulations, party wall notices, tendering with builders, time frames for the works and structural engineers services.  We will also discuss budgets and the different options for working with us. After this meeting we will send you a proposal based on what has been discussed so that you can consider what you want to do. If you are happy with the proposal we will get started on your project.



Why should I use you rather than another architect?

We offer a creative, thorough and professional service. We don’t offer packaged or pay-as-you-go services as we want to provide a service tailored to you, that will ensure your project is carefully designed, given the best chance of getting all the necessary consents and built to a standard that you will be happy with. You deal directly with your architect at all times (rather than admin staff) and we stay focused on delivering your project on time and on budget. We make sure all our architects make a point of communicating well with our clients as we believe a good client / architects relationship is vital to the success of any project



How does planning permission work and how do I go about getting it?

Before you start any build work you will need to apply for planning permission (assuming you need planning permission, not all projects do). To do this you will need a number of documents including a set of architectural drawings showing the current and proposed property. Once submitted the council will take approximately 8 weeks to consider your plans and then they will either be accepted or declined. In the UK the planning rules are complex and the policies can vary from council to council so it’s important to use an architect who has an in-depth knowledge of these rules and has a good track record of successful outcomes for their clients. No Architect can guarantee a successful outcome but working with a good architect can significantly improve your chances!



I live in a conservation area, can I still do work on my house?

Yes, the rules are more strict and there is no permitted development allowed (development without the need for a planning application) but it is certainly possible. In addition to planning permission you will also need conservation area consent but we can take care of this if you choose to work with us.


My property is listed, does this mean I can’t do anything to it?

No. The rules are strict but it is usually possible to make changes to a listed building. If it is grade 1 or grade 2 * often makes little difference to whether you can or can't do work to the property as each building is  usually considered on its individual merits. There are no set rules on this. It is possible to hold a meeting with the council and get a written response on your proposals. The more information that is shown to the council the better their responses will be.  



Is it harder to get planning permission granted in central London?

No not necessarily. The proximity of houses to each other does pose a set of challenges however this doesn’t mean that it is harder to get planning permission, it just means that it is even more important to use an architect who has experience working with central London local authorities, who understand the intracies of the planning policies. Urbane Design Architects have experience working in most central London boroughs (as well as many home counties) so we can guide you through the myriad of regulations to increase your chances of a positive planning application outcome.