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

couple looking at architectural designs

Benefits of Appointing an Architect

Carrying out any construction work can appear very overwhelming to most people, that’s where appointing an architect can help with the whole process and offer peace of mind.

Whether you are reconfiguring an existing house, proposing to construct an extension or even building a new home, you need to appoint the best team to plan, design and build your project in the most efficient way, so recruiting a good architect should be your first point of call.

Innovative solutions

As a professional, an architect is specifically trained and certified to work on the planning and design of buildings. Drawing on years of experience and training, the architect can provide innovative solutions to the client’s briefs, analysing the clients existing lifestyle and requirements to prepare a design which reflects how the client lives and how they intend to use the space.

Guidance throughout the process

Like any project, it is important to be both realistic and pragmatic, so as a client it is wise to use the professional knowledge and experience of a certified architect. The architect will help you realise the potential of your project, but also successfully guide you through the key steps of the project from the complex planning permission process to helping facilitate contractual agreements between the client and builder.

Flexible service

At Arcline Architecture we provide a flexible service to our clients, enabling the client to appoint us for only the specific services they require. Fees for our services are provided at a fixed price from the project inception so that you will know from the outset the cost of our services; helping you to budget the project.

For instance, if you already have a builder you intend to use for the project, Arcline Architecture can be appointed to only draw up the plans and obtain planning and building regulation consent for you. On the other hand, if you are unsure in managing a project yourself, Arcline Architecture can provide you with tender and project management services to ensure that the build is being constructed on time and to budget while also to a high quality.

Well-designed project

The services Arcline Architecture provides extends far beyond simple drawings and design, once the build has begun, Arcline Architecture can ensure that the builders accurately follow the drawings while also assessing the quality of the builder’s workmanship. Using Arcline Architecture guarantees a well-designed project from its inception to completion and can also help add value to your property, whereas an ill-advised and badly designed project can add unnecessary expense.

Arcline Architecture services include:

  • Meet with you and your family to assist you in developing a clear design brief; based upon your requirements, project aspirations, site, and budget.

  • Develop innovative design solutions in response to the project brief; aiming to reduce costs while also providing a selection of ideas which will add value to the property.
  • Prepare necessary drawings and documents for planning approval and to achieve permission upon the first submission; saving the client money, time and stress.
  • Submit drawings and documentation for Planning Approval and liaise with the local planning authority to provide additional information if necessary.
  • Will prepare the construction drawings and documentation to obtain Building Control approval once planning approval has been obtained.
  • Provide advice on good quality consultants and contractors based on previous working relationships.
  • Assemble the required project team, finding the most suitable consultants and contractors to build the project within the available budget and timescales while also managing the tender stages of the project and value engineering the quotes.
  • Co-ordinate and manage the project team throughout the design and construction stages in accordance with relevant legislation until the project is completed.
  • Review and manage the project timescale, budget, construction process, contractors and any other problems that may arise while on site.
  • Bring added value to your project and maximising your initial investment.

Arcline Architecture has the expertise and knowledge to provide the client with a feasibility study for a variety of different projects.

What are feasibility studies?

The feasibility study investigates and evaluates the potential of the project, among other things set out the history of the site, the financial feasibility of the project, the scope of works involved and the project timings. Various project options are developed and the constraints and opportunities of each project can then be assessed to determine the most suitable project based on the clients developed criteria. Following further discussions with the client, preliminary sketches and designs are prepared for the chosen option together with valuations, budget costings, and approximate timings, etc.

The feasibility study is conducted to meet the clients own personal requirements and can vary from a small feasibility assessment for a house extension to a large and detailed assessment for a master planning scheme.

We will provide the client with a final report which will quantify the prepared information, outlining the work undertaken within the feasibility study and our final conclusions on the selected project.

Arcline Architecture can provide a fixed cost feasibility study based on the client's requirements, size, budget and type of project. Please contact Arcline Architecture to discuss our services or book a project brief.

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The Party Wall etc. Act of 1996

The scope of the Act is limited to the following sections:

Section 1| Erecting a new party wall

SECTION 1 of the Act applies when the proposed works are to erect a new party wall which has not already been built on. There are two types of the party wall.

Party wall type A

Where the party wall stands astride the boundary of land belonging to two or more owners, such as a wall of a building, a wall separating two buildings, or a party fence wall between two separate plots.

Party wall type B
When a party wall stands fully on one owner’s land but is used by two, or more owners. An example of this is when ‘Owner A’ builds a wall, to begin with, and then ‘Owner B’ has built their building against it without constructing their own wall.

Section 2 | Existing party structures

SECTION 2 applies when the proposed construction project involves various sorts of works to an existing party structure. This part of the Act is most commonly used to:

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 provides homeowners with a guide for preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls, boundary walls and excavating near adjacent properties

  • repair a party wall, floor or partition that separates buildings or parts of buildings

  • underpin an existing party wall, to prevent settlement

  • raise the height of a party wall, for example adding another storey

  • to extend a party wall downwards, for example, to create a basement

  • to cut into a party wall or cut off projections from a party wall, for example when removing a chimney breast

Section 6 | Excavations or the construction of new foundations

SECTION 6 applies to the excavations or the construction of new foundations for a new building within either 3 metres of a neighbouring owners building or structure, or within 6 metres of a neighbouring building or structure, where any part of that work will meet a line drawn at 45 degrees from the bottom of the neighbouring foundations.

Prior to commencing any construction work as described within these sections, the homeowner must give adjoining owners notice of these works. The party structure notice, relating to Section 2 must be served at least two months before the commencement date, while notices for Sections 1 and 6 must be served at least one month before the works are due to start.

There is no standard form of notice, although it is advisable to use the notices published by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

A guide further explaining how the Party Wall etc. Act may affect someone who either wishes to carry out work covered by the Act or received notification under the Act can be found at the following link: Party Wall etc. Act 1996 - Explanatory Booklet

Under their general terms of service, Arcline Architecture would advise on where the Party Wall Act applies and assist the client with the appointment of a Party Wall surveyor to advise on the next steps.

Arcline Architecture has worked closely with several party wall surveyors within High Wycombe, Aylesbury, and Beaconsfield, etc. and has a great deal of experience dealing with the Act.

Architectural Drawings by Arcline Architect

Planning permission was obtained for a residential scheme in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire comprising of the erection of a two-storey rear extension, singles storey side extension, and reconfiguration of the existing internal layout of the dwelling. The proposal provides the client with study and new entrance hall on the ground floor and a large master bedroom with ensuite facilities on the first floor.

Learn more about our architectural services.

House Renovations In Buckinghamshire by Arcline Architect

Market-leading websites

The two market-leading websites that offer a large database along with recommendations and reviews within your local area:
As the builder's recommendations and reviews improve and increase their position advances up the rating table, so the better the builder the higher their ranking.

We are the experts when it comes to planning and understanding the building regulations, learn more now.
Architectural Drawings by Arcline Architect
Building notice application or a full plans application building regulation approval can be obtained through either work are approved for the builder to construct from, prior to the works commencing.

A ‘building notice’ relies on the works being approved as they are carried out; this process leaves the client at risk for remedial costs if they are not constructed to the relevant regulations by their builder. Also, without a detailed set of drawings to work from, the construction process is likely to give rise to disputes.

Full Plans Approach

Arcline Architecture would typically recommend a 'full plans'approach as this requires that full details, including drawings and specifications of the proposed building


House Renovations In Buckinghamshire by Arcline Architect

Guide to Build Planning

Using your Permitted Development Rights as a homeowner you can carry out certain types of building work, such as extensions, loft conversions and construction of outbuildings without the need to apply for planning permission.

Guides on what works can be performed can be found on the government.

Arcline Architecture would advise on the most suitable option in gaining consent; whether it be through a planning application or the permitted development route.

If your proposed scheme is eligible under your Permitted Development Rights we would always recommend obtaining a Lawful Development Certificate from your local council.

This certificate gives you peace of mind as it confirms that the works carried are lawful under planning control and that they meet the permitted development limitations and conditions.



Do I require planning permission to extend or convert my loft?

House Renovations In Buckinghamshire by Arcline Architect

Your Permitted Development Rights enable you as a homeowner to convert and extend your loft, although what is permitted is subject to the following limits and conditions:

  • A volume allowance of 40 cubic metres additional roof space for terraced houses
  • A volume allowance of 50 cubic metres additional roof space for detached and semi-detached houses
  • No extension beyond the plane of the existing roof slope of the principal elevation that fronts the highway
  • No extension to be higher than the highest part of the roof
  • Materials to be similar in appearance to the existing house
  • No verandas, balconies or raised platforms
  • Side-facing windows to be obscure-glazed; any opening to be 1.7m above the floor
  • Roof extensions are to be set back at least 20cm from the original eaves
  • The roof enlargement cannot overhang the outer face of the wall of the original house.