FAQs

First steps

An architect is highly skilled and professionally trained to turn your aspirations into reality. What they do depends on the complexity of the project, and how much you can and want to do yourself, but may include:

  • advising on what’s possible and what isn’t; what’s worthwhile and what isn’t
  • gaining approval for the scheme, quickly and cheaply
  • helping with the selection and management of specialists and the builder
  • overseeing on-site work and completion, in relation to quality, timing and cost

We work with you for the entire project, or for certain stages of it. The scope of our involvement can vary - for example, we can include interior design and landscaping of garden and grounds, if required. Depending on the nature and complexity of the project, we will, with your consent, bring in specialists such as a structural engineer, planning consultant, arborist, etc.

  • Stages 0 and 1.  Clarify your goals – from design and financial perspectives - offering ideas and advice. Assess feasibility and suggest strategies for achieving the goals – for example, whether you should go for remodelling, extending, or new build. The deliverable is the initial project brief and budget.
  • Stage 2.  Undertake survey of site and infrastructure. Identify any constraints (planning, conservation, ecology, etc.). Prepare, discuss and agree a concept design and finalise the project brief and budget.
  • Stage 3. Undertake pre-planning consultation with the Local Authority. Further develop the design and produce documentation that can be submitted to gain planning approval. There may listed-building, party-wall and other considerations, and a design and access statement may be needed.
  • Stage 4. Technical design involves specification of drainage, electrical fittings, insulation, etc. Documentation is produced to gain Building Regulation approval, for tendering and selecting building contractors, and to enable the appointed contractors to do the work.
  • Stage 5. During construction, you may want us to oversee work on site, and monitor quality, progress and costs.
  • Stages 6 and 7. Undertake snagging and advise on contractual completion issues.
As an architectural practice a Chartered Practice is regulated by the RIBA and ARB so you can be sure it has the highest professional standards. Whether you have a large or small project a practice like ICE Arch Ltd brings impartial and creative thinking to any new build, conversion or extension.
We provide a service that is beyond just producing a set of drawings. We provide a personal service, we are a small but friendly practice where our customer satisfaction is our priority. We are skilled at identifying the aspirations and needs of our clients bringing our skill, knowledge and experience to all projects. We are passionate about creating lasting architecture bespoke to your needs. We believe projects should be treated with care and consideration to ensure your project is a building to be proud of.

We cannot quote fees without knowing the project details because this would be misleading. We usually hold an initial meeting with you to discuss your brief and gain a better idea of the project. We then provide a written ‘scope of works’ showing a breakdown of services to be provided, the associated costs and when payment is expected.

There are a variety of ways in which we charge for our services; these include fixed fee (or lump sum), hourly rates and percentage fees. Which one is applied to your project depends upon the complexity, size and level of help you as the client require.

We understand that some clients are not certain as to how they wish to proceed with their project so we offer a sketch-scheme service which is either an agreed number of hours or on an hourly rate. Our hourly rate is between £60 – £85. For larger projects, should the client prefer, a percentage cost can be agreed.

We appreciate that client’s will gain competitive quotations for architectural services. We would advise that when choosing an architect cheapest is not always the best. You need to compare the scope of works and know fully what you are paying for.

Probably longer than you think! A small extension might take 4 - 6 months and a larger one 12 - 15 months or more. A new build timescale will be affected by many factors, not least the preparation of the site (perhaps an existing property has to be demolished).

It should be possible to give a reasonable estimate by the end of stage 1, but revisions are are likely as we get into stages 2 and 3.

Stages 0 and 1 of the project.

You begin by discussing your requirements and budget with your architect.

The architect may conduct a survey, or commission a specialist if there are complexities such as a severely sloping site, poor ground quality, etc.

Next, the architect will prepare initial sketches. Initial sketch schemes are usually quick to produce and discussions are held with clients to develop the proposals. Simple extensions can usually take a couple of weeks but more complex projects can require a number of meetings and re-designs. Collaboration between architect, client, and others can be time consuming.

By now it should be possible to estimate the timescale and cost of stages 2 to 7

Key questions you need to ask yourself as a client:

  1. How much is our property worth?
  2. How much can we afford to spend (have saved or borrow)?
  3. What is the ceiling value for re-sale of the properties around us?
  4. How long do we plan to keep the property?
  5. How much profit do we want to make?

Stages 0 and 1. Initialise. Clarify goals – from design and financial perspectives - Assess feasibility and determine strategies for achieving the goals. The deliverable is the initial project brief and budget.

Stage 2. Concept Design. Undertake survey of site and infrastructure. Identify any constraints (planning, conservation, ecology, etc.). Prepare, discuss and agree a concept design and finalise the project brief and budget.

Stage 3. Developed Design. Undertake pre-planning consultation with the Local Authority. Further develop the design and produce documentation that can be submitted to gain planning approval. There may listed-building, party-wall and other considerations, and a design and access statement may be needed.

Stage 4. Technical Design and Pre-Cobnstruction. Involves specification of drainage, electrical fittings, insulation, etc. Documentation is produced to gain Building Regulation approval, for tendering and selecting building contractors, and to enable the appointed contractors to do the work.

Stage 5. Construction. Oversee work on site, and monitor quality, progress and costs.

Stages 6 and 7. Completion and Use. Undertake snagging and advise on contractual completion issues.

Project characteristics

For most owners, building or changing their home is a new experience. It's important, therefore, that we make it exciting, rewarding and stress-free with an outcome that delivers benefit and enjoyment.

  • The key elements are:
  • Concept design.
  • The planning application.
  • Building Regulation approval.
  • Tender preparation and selection of builder.
  • Works on site and Completion.

Read more at ICE's Residential Services

Projects include shops and offices, bars and restaurants, industrial units, and a dental practice.

  • Project management
  • Variety of usage
  • Time constraints
  • Specialised premises

Read more at ICE's Commercial Services

Decision making. It's common for decision making to be in the hands of a community group, rather than a single owner or chief executive.

Compliance. Schools, nurseries, church halls often have additional compliance requirements with regard to access and disability, heath and safety, security, etc.

Funding. Donors, funding agencies and providers of grants generally demand high levels of transparency and accountability.

Sustainability. Funding is sometimes more readily available for development than for usage and maintenance.

Read more at ICE's Community Services

Developer versus Operator. ICE Arch Ltd is sensitive to the difference between speculative development and projects commissioned by owners and directors of businesses. We have worked on housing developments, and mixed use projects.

Landlord and Tenant. The goals and requirements are different to those of an owner-occupier project and we work with many landlords to fulfil their needs.

If you don’t find the answer to your question here, send an email to ICE Arch Limited – design@ice-arch.co.uk

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