Many people go straight to a builder when they decide to carry out a project on their own homes, only to find out that the initial quote changes considerably as the project progresses. This often leads to tense relationships between the builder and client as the builder has to make lots of changes to a design that wasn’t very well thought out before work started and the client has to face the inevitable increases in costs. To ensure you project progresses smoothly and costs stay in control there are a number of things that you should do before any building work begins.

1.Get a proper set of drawings
Having a good set of architectural drawings will mean that your design will be properly considered by a professional and will reduce the chance of costly changes throughout the build stage. It will also mean that your builder will be able to quote against something tangible. If accompanied by a schedule of works this will provide the builder with all the relevant information that they will need to provide an accurate quote. It will also mean that you will be able to compare quotes from different builders as they will all be quoting to the same exact guidelines. If you don’t have a good set of drawings and schedule of works you will probably get large differences in the quote prices as different builders include and exclude certain elements from their quotes. 

2.Select a builder carefully
Try to select a builder through recommendation so that you can see the type of work they have carried out before. Your architect will be able to carry out this process for you but if you are planning to do this yourself ask around and try to use builders who have proven to carry out good quality work. If you don’t have any recommendations make sure you check the references of your builder and view some of their completed projects.

3.Put in place a proper contract
Again this is something that your architect will be able to deal with on your behalf but if you are doing this yourself make sure you do put a contract in place that details the project scope, costs, payment schedules, deadlines and any late completion penalties if relevant. Unless you have this contract you will have nothing to refer to if a problem does occur once the project is underway. A good contract to use if you are not using an architect to manage this stage of your project is a JCT 05 Building contract for a home owner/occupier who has not appointed a consultant to oversee the work HO/B: Revised 2009. 

4.Stay on good terms
Keeping the lines of communication open with your builder is essential for a good relationship. There will be unforeseen problems that arise during the course of a project and it is key to work with your builder to get these problems resolved. If your architect is managing the build phase for you this will be less of an issue as the builder and architect will work through any issues together as they arise and find a satisfactory solution. However if you are managing this process yourself try to remember to keep a calm head and remain on good terms with your builder as this will achieve the best possible outcome for you and your project.

If you would like to discuss your project with Urbane Design please call us on 0208 966 0601.

Need specific advice on a project? Call us on 020 8996 0601


Residential architecture, we deliver projects across London and the South East. Discuss your next project call 020 8996 0601.


Urbane Design
Based on 8 reviews
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14:03 24 Apr 20
Robert offers a very professional service. His vision for the space was aligned with ours, so that is why we wanted to work with him to fully... renovate our house. He advised us that we could reconfigure the loft conversion under permitted development and go down the planning application route for the single story rear extension. He drew up plans, providing various different options, and was open to our suggestions for changes. Robert drew up our plans, submitted our applications and ran our tender process to select an appropriate builder. We were very happy with Robert's more
David Jones
David Jones
14:43 07 Apr 20
We worked with Urbane Design during the renovation of our house in West London. They exceeded expectation, had great ideas during planning, great... support during the build and the finished product is better than we even imagined it would be. Would highly more
Chris Stenzel
Chris Stenzel
11:18 06 Apr 20
We decided to engage Urbane to design, submit planning and arrange the tender process with builders after speaking to a number of local architects... and builders. The project involves an internal redesign, extension to rear, side and loft. Robert has come up with amazing design ideas, bearing in mind our budget and focused on how we wanted to use the space. Project is currently in build phase Happy to recommend and provide a more
Ross Nicolson
Ross Nicolson
08:41 06 Apr 20
We used Urbane Designs to renovate and extend our house. From initial consultation to completion, Robert was a pleasure to work with. We'd never... taken on a project like this before, but Robert was great at setting out each stage of the process, with transparent, itemised costs for each. He was also very responsive and helpful with our (many) questions, and of course came up with an excellent design for our more
roland oakshett
roland oakshett
14:11 25 Sep 19
We've used Rob Speight and Urbane Architects twice over the last 10 years. Once to do a ground floor extension and refurbishment and then once to do... a loft and first floor extension.On both occasions Rob was clear and responsive in communication and thoughtful and adaptable in design. We certainly wouldn't have used Urbane a second time if they had not done a good job the first time round (and we did encounter problems with some of our contractors first time). more
Simon Oldham
Simon Oldham
10:05 05 Jul 19
Were great to work with and provided 3 great builders to work with. We could not recommend them more highly for kitchens and extensions.
Deborah Armstrong
Deborah Armstrong
13:39 27 Jun 19
Urbane Design Architects are a wonderful team to work with. Over the course of 18 months they supported us with feasibility, planning permission,... tendering the job, building control approval and contract administration with the builder. Together we carried out a major renovation including a basement, ground floor and 1st floor rear extension. Robert Speight & his team were incredibly responsive throughout, producing exciting and effective designs with lots of detail.I would have no hesitation in recommending Urbane Design Architects to my family & friends, they were a great pleasure to deal with more
Dianna Pierce Burgess
Dianna Pierce Burgess
11:06 18 Jun 19
Most definitely 5 stars! We had a great experience with Urbane Design Architects and their team when we recently extended and reconfigured the... ground floor of our Georgian terraced house in Chiswick W4. Robert Speight was our project architect. He listened to our brief but then made us consider some alternative, exciting ways of thinking about the spaces and materials. He combined his experience of local planning policies, working relationships with local suppliers and our budget to deliver a new home that we are in love with! When we were going through planning permissions and the tender process, the team walked us through all the requirements step by step with us, which was great. Very highly recommended and sensibley priced!read more
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