Preparation & Brief
Where it all begins
After talking with you on the telephone we’ll meet with you to discuss your ideas. We’ll consider your budget and any design or architectural style aspirations you may have. We’ll then go with you to visit the site to explore the project feasibility and get a general idea of possible orientation, layout and size. Following this we will create a brief that acts as a guide or reference point throughout the duration of the project. Preparation work also includes:
- Site appraisals including possible constraints and opportunities on-site, in the surrounding area, and relating to adjacent buildings
- Reviewing any existing building surveys or drawings
- Preliminary cost indications, helping you to get a ballpark idea of the investment required
- Pre-application planning discussions including potential pitfalls that we could help to overcome
- Advice on any need for consultants or specialist information
At this stage, we’ll encourage you to think outside of what you may see as possible. We rarely work on run-of-the-mill architecture projects; instead we seek to inspire our clients with fresh ideas that are special and distinctive.
Translating ideas into sketches and models
Further to finding out what you would like to achieve and your/our vision for your property, we’ll start to work on sketching out our ideas. This is where we begin to translate our thoughts and inspiration from our meeting into exciting preliminary concepts that will give you an insight into how we could meet your aspirations. We will then build on this to develop detailed concepts using 3D Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Virtual Reality (VR) Fly Throughs to really bring your project to life. As well as giving you a good idea of how your property will look, this allows us to efficiently plan, design, construct and manage the project. Furthermore, we will carry out:
- Design meetings with you to gather your feedback and input
- Production of 3D model & VR Fly Through content for your review
- Inclusion/coordination of any consultant information
- Considerations around spatial arrangement, the visual impact and aesthetics of the property, and the best materials to use
This is where your project gets incredibly exciting – it’s at this stage you will be able to accurately visualise what your fantastic new property will look like. Once this stage of the process is signed off we move onto the developed design.
Designs for planning permission
Following concept design, we’ll create detailed designs for the all-important planning approval process. Planning can be an unknown entity and sometimes challenging to navigate. Yet our aim is to make this stage as easy as possible for you and we will work hard to ensure any involvement with your local planning department is as smooth and pain-free as possible. At this stage, your design concepts transform into clear detailed drawings for the planning department to review. This stage also includes:
- Submittal of planning, conservation area and listed buildings applications
- Design and access statements (a report that accompanies and supports your planning application, explaining how your proposed development is a suitable response to the site and showing how it will be accessed)
- Discharge of planning conditions (applications for the removal or variation of a condition following the grant of planning permission or listed building consent)
We can never 100% guarantee that a planning application is successful yet we are confident in our abilities to work closely with the planning authorities to achieve a positive outcome for everyone involved. Communication is an important factor and our experience in the planning process will ensure that any delays around planning consent are minimal. Once your plans are approved you are well on your way to an impressive property.
Developing designs for construction
After obtaining approval from your planning department, we will fully develop your designs and provide technical information required by Building Control to meet building regulations and contractors/ builders in order to quote. Once contractors/ builders have the detailed designs and any accompanying information, they can price up the work and submit their tenders. This is a detailed stage of our work, ensuring clarity, a high-quality building process and a high-quality result. As a design-led practice WGA are committed to providing clear, in-depth construction detailing as this removes ambiguity and ensures quality.
This stage includes:
- Production of technical plans, sections and details
- Coordination of all consultant information such as structural engineer guidance
- Building regulations applications
- Building specification/Schedule of Works
- Invitations to tender, tender appraisals and reports
- Advice on selection of contractors/ builders and building contracts
We are more than happy to meet with any preferred building companies to discuss the project and can answer any questions they may have. Our experience will ensure that your chosen building company is reliable, trustworthy and offers value for money, giving you total peace of mind.
Managing the build
It’s time for your property to be built and it’s a very exciting time for you. However, managing a project on-site can be a complex and time-consuming process. Clients often rely on us to manage this process for them, something we do on a regular basis. We are more than happy to liaise with your contractor/builders for you and we are accustomed to answering any technical questions they may have, allowing you to watch your project unfold without getting weighed down by the detail! We work with the builders to ensure your project is built on time, within budget and to the highest quality. We can monitor progress and keep you updated on the building work and we can also visit the site with you if required.
This part of our process includes:
- Preparation of contract documents
- Construction management and regular site inspections
- Contract administration including architects instructions and certification of payments
We’ll keep a close eye on any deadlines and work with the contractors/ builders to ensure you are using your new space as planned and without unnecessary delays.
It’s over to you
You are almost able to begin enjoying your beautiful new property. The project is nearly completed and there are just a few checks to go. At this point in the process we will:
- Make final inspections to ensure your property has been finished to the highest standards
- Provide as-constructed information (this defines any defects or deviations to the designed model that may have occurred during construction)
- Provide advice and support on resolution of any defects
- Agree the final account and issue a final Architect’s Certificate
It is then time to hand your property over to you to enjoy. We believe you will look back on the project as being pain-free, inspirational and exciting – and you will now be able to make the most of your fantastic space for many years to come. If you need further information on any of our processes, please contact our team for advice.