How Feasible are your Home Improvement Plans?
Updated: Mar 1
Do you have several ideas for how to achieve the extra living space you dream of; but just don’t know where to start? You may think you need a large extension to gain space – when simply changing the layout of your home is all you need to do. This is where Building Tectonics’ Feasibility Scheme can really help sort the practical ideas, from the ones that just won’t work for your particular property. We will also generate additional options that may not have even crossed your mind.
When you first look at improving your home; you normally start by reviewing how your current living space works and what you would like to keep or change about it. Once you have decided on what is needed to gain a particular space; you would usually instruct an architectural practice. They would then draw up your plans to potentially put forward for Building Regulations approval and/or Planning Permission.
Why should I conduct a Feasibility Scheme? Often clients are conflicted about the various ideas they have; which can result in extra costs later on when they decide to make changes or have the plans completely re-drawn. This can be due to planning permission being refused or the neighbours’ objecting to your plans. By first undertaking our fixed fee Feasibility Scheme process, we can help identify your initial needs and can potentially rule some ideas out at the start. We will even come up with some additional innovative and cost-effective schemes which you perhaps wouldn’t have even considered.
Over 35 Years’ experience Building Tectonics has over 35 years’ experience of re-designing, altering and extending houses across Beds, Bucks and Herts and our Chief Designer, Tony has extensive knowledge of what works design and build wise. This means he often finds solutions to issues that builders may have with a client’s design thereby, finding a happy compromise.
Visiting your Home We would usually start the ball rolling by visiting your home on a day and time that suits; to listen to your requirements (at a safe distance) and measure the house and surroundings. This takes 2.5 to 3.5 hours and clients often have a number of design aspects for us to look at. These are best to be assessed individually but also combined, as often one may have an effect upon the other. You may also wish to consider phasing the work; so, that different parts are carried out at different times.
Drawing up Schemes Following the visit and survey, we will produce our schemes. There may be variations to consider or even some entirely different approaches; but we feel that it is important to get the best possible scheme before commencing to the next stage. We normally return these to a client 4 to 6 weeks after our visit. Once you have had a chance to evaluate our schemes and give us your thoughts, we can then further explore a particular idea altering it as necessary. If we have any reasons to believe that there is no solution to what you are looking for, we will warn you so you can decide whether to go ahead with the project.
Scheme Acceptance Once a scheme has been agreed and you wish to proceed, we will advise whether or not we think you need Planning Permission and/or Building Regulations. We will then give you a quote and more detailed plans for both of these and the following stages. If for any reason your circumstances change, you can cancel at any stage and we would only charge for the stage which we have commenced.
Planning Application The next step is to decide whether you wish to consult the Planning Department prior to making a formal planning application. You may not require Planning Permission, but it is useful to have this letter on file should you decide to sell your house. However, as the Planning Authority charges for this enquiry, many clients are instructing us to go straight for a full planning application. We can discuss and agree the best approval with you once the feasibility stage is complete.
For a ground floor extension, it is recommended to carry out an Asset Enquiry to check whether any sewers run under your property, as this may prohibit the building work you require. The Water Authority charges an extra fee for this; but you may already have this information from when you bought the house.
Once you have asked us to go ahead and sent our fees together with the local authority fees, we will send a formal application. We will also assess what further costs you will incur in order to proceed and are happy to obtain an approximate build cost from a competent builder if you need this. If required, we can also obtain any costs from a Structural Engineer. The Planning Process takes 8 – 12 weeks from lodging the application. We will advise you of the Planning Officers’ comments and if favourable, your project would move to Building Regulations stage, at which point our next fees become due.
Building Regulations Application Once the Planning Process has concluded; we can advise you regarding other matters such as Party Wall/3 Metre Notices, which are sometimes needed. When we have received our fees together with local authority fees; we would submit the Building Regulations application. This requires considerable technical input on our part and for most domestic work takes us 2 – 3 weeks to prepare. We would also deal with the queries from the Building Control Department on your behalf.
Taking the stress out of your project We are thoughtful designers and do our best to keep our client’s costs down; often spending extra time to produce a scheme that is more cost effective to build. By careful analysis of the requirements, a design can often be produced that does not require an Structural Engineer. This care benefits the client by reducing the build cost and the disruption to their home – particularly important and often overlooked.
Good communication is essential so that everyone knows what is expected of them. You may form a relationship with your builder whereby the project is satisfactorily completed without our on-site involvement. However, we strongly recommend that the project is very carefully planned and the builder carefully selected which we are happy to help with.
We have found that it pays to be thorough at the outset of a project by thoroughly examining the client’s requirements and seeing how the existing house can be adapted. This is why so many of our projects get built on time, within budget and with the minimum of drama on-site; and also why most of our work comes from recommendations.
Make 2021 the year you start your project If you are thinking 2021 is the time to improve your home; please do look at our projects on Facebook, our website and Houzz to get a taste of what we can do and why we have so many delighted clients. We always aim to leave you with a house that is designed for a modern family lifestyle and whether your requirements are a simple home extension or a loft /garage conversion, you could benefit from our expertise and experience.
You can contact the Building Tectonics team on 01908 333000 or message us via Facebook and we will be only too happy to discuss whatever project you may be looking to undertake.