Frequently Asked Questions
- Q: WHAT IS AN ARCHITECT?
- A: We are mostly commissioned by Private Clients, to provide architectural services as well as being commissioned regularly by RIBA Chartered Architects and Building Contractors.
We are not Architects, but Architectural Designers, which allows us to provide you with the services you require at reasonable prices.
To give you a brief idea of the difference of Architectural Designers and Architects, Architectural Designers or sometimes called Architectural Technicians or Draftsman, these individuals traditionally worked for the Architect, generally carrying out the actual drawing work and obtaining consents etc, while the architect would sketch’s designs and run ideas with the client, and then project manage.
Nowadays, the roles have overlapped with both individuals doing each others duties. Architectural designers are not qualified in heath and safety law, and project management and therefore should never provide these types of services that Architects will, and that’s why we do not. We only provide you with what you need. We would definitely recommenced using an RIBA Chartered Architect if you wanted a shopping centre, football stadium etc but for small residential developments like extensions, loft conversions, flat conversions, small new homes, we believe we are more than competent to work for you. Please see our Great Feedback as proof of this as well as our gallery and portfolio.
Remember we have Professional Indemnity insurance of £1 million and Public and Employers Liability of £1 million, which many others do not have including some Architects.We are happy to recommend a RIBA Charted Architect in Essex if you feel this is more suited for your needs and feel more comfortable. Note that the use of the word Architect is protected by the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and a charted architect will be a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).
- Q: DO I NEED PLANNING PERMISSION?
- A: If you wish to carry out work on buildings, you may be required to obtain "planning permission" or "a lawful development" certificate. Proposals concerning listed buildings or those within conservation areas may also require consent.
- Q: WHAT IS PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT?
- A: Most extensions, loft conversions, garage conversions & porches can be applied for as lawful development certificates under the permitted development order. This usually means a far simpler route than planning permission subject to your exact proposal & property.
- Q: WHAT ARE BUILDING REGULATIONS?
- A: The building regulations are setup so that builders can build to a minimum quality standard for elements such as structure, fire escape, drainage and ventilation and so on. Technical information in the form of drawings and details and possibly structural calculations must be sent to the local authority’s building control department for approval before a builder starts the construction works.
- Q: WHAT IS A CONSERVATION AREA?
- A: A conservation area is an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character and appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance. It is the area as a whole, rather than specific buildings, which is of special interest. Living in a conservation area usually means that changes to the external appearance of your building will be a particularly sensitive issue. You will probably need to complete an application for conservation area consent.
- Q: WHAT IS A PARTY WALL AGREEMENT?
- A: The party wall act 1996 came into force in 1997 and gives you rights and responsibilities regardless if you are planning work on a party structure or if your neighbour is. The party wall act is an entirely separate law to planning and building regulation approval.
- Q: WHAT ARE THE TIMESCALES?
- A: RDarchitecture will take approx. 12 working days for feasibility drawing works & planning / lawful development. Certificate works, and approx. 15 working days for building regulations works. The local authority statutory timescales is 8 weeks for planning applications / lawful development certificates and 5 - 8 weeks for building regulations applications. All timescale are based on typical domestic projects. We would always recommend clients to generally expect a total of 5-6 months before construction works can commence.
- Q: WHAT AREAS DO WE COVER?
- A: We provide architectural services predominately London and Essex but also work in and around Kent and Hertfordshire. We are based in Essex near to junction 30 of the m25 motorway allowing us fast access to London and surrounding areas and will be willing to travel further afield.