yellow safety helmet on building plans and a ruler

A guideline to developing a proposed design

1. Do not rush the preliminary design stages

With any architectural design, whether it consists of small internal reconfiguration works or a much larger extension it is worth taking your time to get it right.

With any project Arcline Architecture takes on, we guide the client through the design process, helping you to develop a clear brief and then preparing a series of design ideas to expand your brief further, helping to realise your intended design. Within the early stages of the project, we advise finalising the design both internally and externally enabling the project to progress at a faster pace.

2. Research and find a good builder

Finding a competent and good builder will make the whole build process so much easier. Arcline Architecture has a database of builders whom we have previously used, while we also only select builders who are members of ‘The Guild of Master Craftsmen’.

With most projects, we will tender the building works to 3-4 builders to ensure good value for the project while we would also visit some of the builder’s previous projects to understand the quality of their workmanship

3. False Economy

In our experience, projects often run into problems when the cheapest tender is selected. A lot of small builders do not tend to use quantity surveyors or realise the extent of the proposed works before it is too late and they have been appointed to complete the works.

At Arcline Architecture, once the tenders are returned we evaluate each one individually, both against our own criteria and against each return as to enable cost-effectiveness for the client. If there are any discrepancies within the tender, these would be highlighted and chased up prior to submitting our tender evaluation to the client.

4. Stick to the professionals

When commencing a new build, whether it is an extension or reconfiguration works, professional fees for architects, builders, and structural engineers will make up a large amount of your outlay.

Unless you fully understand the process it is not wise to skimp on your choice of professionals. Arcline Architecture would advise the client to select the most cost-effective quote, taking into consideration the consultant’s previous experience, timings, and cost.

5. Building Contracts

Once the builder has been selected, following completion of the tender selection process, do not just agree to their appointment on the basis of a handshake; a building contract should be drawn up between yourself and the builder. Arcline Architecture can assist with the signing and selection of the correct building contract where we have a large range of experience with the JCT family of contracts.

The building contract will act as a framework for the contractor to undertake the work and will provide details on the payment plan, completion dates, and timetables and will assist with any changes to the build once the works have commenced.

6. Budgeting

When budgeting for the project it is wise to include every little cost, whether it’s a light switch, door handle, and towel rail or shelving unit; all these items add up and can add a significant unexpected cost to the build. Also, do not forget to add the VAT to the contract cost, most contractors tender returns do not include the VAT and at a value of 20% on top of the project cost, it can either make or break a build.

7. Emergency Buffer

Arcline Architecture will always aim to design out and minimise the degree of risk but with any building project, there is always a chance that something may go wrong, which means that costs are going to rise.

Arcline Architecture suggests that you have a minimum emergency buffer tucked away of between 5-10% of the total build cost to cover any eventualities if they were to appear.

8. Supply and demand

Providing your own materials and items for the project is a good method in reducing costs. Arcline Architecture will advise you to shop around when purchasing materials, ideally buying them as far away from London as possible, as the suppliers' prices will be lower as they aren’t paying for expensive London premises.

9. Should you move out of the property

Arcline Architecture would always advise you to move out for the duration of the works as the project can be completed in a shorter amount of time while empty, while also living amongst building work can be very stressful and will create a dusty environment to live in.

If moving out is not possible we can always phase the build and would try and complete all the external works first, prior to breaking through and connecting the extension with the existing house. As the internal works progress we would try and complete them on a room by room basis enabling you to move around the property as each stage is completed.

10. Prepare Yourself

Extending or reconfiguring your property can be a very exciting stage in your life, although Arcline Architecture advises that the client will need to be mentally prepared for the emotional impact a building project brings.

Projects can be delayed and usually always hit a poor spot at some point, whether it is an issue over timings or costs, etc. The process should be fun and enjoyable as it is a massive achievement for the client and can potentially change their lives, but it also does require a large amount of emotional investment from the client too.

​For more information on how we can help you plan to execute your property plans, contact us.
Arcline Architecture