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What to Expect from the Initial Contact with Your Architect and How to Form a Project Brief

We often find that clients looking to undertake works to their home have never undertaken any project of such nature before. They are therefore unaware of what the process might entail, how long each stage will take, what it will cost, what indeed is even possible, and where to make a start.

In such instances we feel it is very important to start the process by explaining as much as we can to the client before they have even engaged us. An informed client is nearly always an easier client to work with and often leads to more necessary queries and a design process that runs much smoother. This can lead to lengthy conversations which is fine, but we feel it would be far more useful to provide such information in easy, quick simple guides that clients can refer to. We also feel clients have more trust and faith in us as professionals, if we can alert them to, and obviously avoid any potential issues with the project ahead.

We have therefore created a large amount of information that is available on our website ww.timearchitects.co.uk and on our social media pages.

Similarly, simply looking at other existing projects that have been built already can give a good overview of what is possible and what works aesthetically. These can obviously be seen all around us but can also be seen on inspiration websites such as Pinterest or Houzz or simple internet searches.

In our initial contact with clients, we will spend some time discussing things with them to establish the starting points. With the use of Google Satellite, Street, and 3D views, we can often see the property fully from our desktop, and therefore don’t even need to visit site to gain a good understanding of the site and project in question. We will of course visit site if required, and the above is only possible for relatively simple straightforward buildings. If the site is more complex, much larger than average or involves elements of heritage such as listed properties, then it is likely we will suggest a site meeting to initially discuss the project.

To give you a quote for our services, we will need to establish a few points. Typically, we will need to know:

  • Where the project/ site is.
  • Are you located within a Conservation Area, National Park or is the property listed?
  • Are you aware if your permitted development rights have been revoked (don’t worry if you don’t know the answer to this as we can find out)?
  • Have you started the process already with others or has the property been extended in the past?
  • What, in terms of spaces, are you looking to achieve – i.e., number of additional bedrooms etc.
  • Do you have a set budget?
  • Do you have specific timescale requirements?

We typically have set packages for the most common types of residential projects and will be able to give you a verbal price for our services at the initial contact. We will though follow this up with a full quote including our terms and conditions of service. If you are happy with the quote offered, we have a sign-up process to confirm as such and we can then arrange a suitable date and time to undertake the measured survey (and condition survey if required) on site to get things started.

We will always try to give you an indication of how long our design process is likely to take and the timescales of things like the planning process. Obviously, the timescales of any works or applications with third parties is out of our control but we will give our best guide from experience and assist in pushing this forward as quickly as possible where we can.

Finally, we often discuss the whole process with our clients both during, and after we have completed our process with them. We are keen to always be looking to improve our service and learn where possible if we can improve. Hopefully this helps us to be able to offer you, and future clients, a better service.